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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Barack Obama's Repackaged Income Redistribution

A lot of politics is about packaging. Present a policy or proposal with one word or phrase and it sounds great and gets great polling. Present the exact same policy with a different word or phrase and it polls poorly. For instance, Americans generally don't want socialized medicince, but polling on universal health care runs fairly strong in favor. Never mind that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between socialized medicine and universal health care. The Republicans say they are in favor of the free market, and the Democrats call it "on your own economy". Never mind that both parties are talking about the same thing.

Barack Obama's economic policies are full of income redistribution.

Income redistribution refers to a political policy intended to even the amount of income individuals are permitted to earn.[citation needed]The basic premise of the redistribution of income is that money should be distributed to benefit the poorer members of society, and that the rich should be obliged to assist the poor.[citation
] Thus, money should be redistributed from the rich to the poor, creating a more financially egalitarian society.[citation needed] Proponents of redistribution often claim that the rich exploit the poor or otherwise gain unfair benefits. Therefore, redistributive practices are justified in order to redress the balance.

The latest Gallup poll has Americans 84-13The latest Gallup poll has Americans by 84-13% margin opposing income redistribution. Most polls have Americans overwhelming objecting to income redistribution. So, how does Barack Obama get Americans to buy into an economic policy full of income redistribution...repackaging.

Take a look at any of his economic policies and they are full of income redistribution. Let's start with taxes. Barack Obama wants to raise the income tax on the very wealthy (those earning over $250,000) and he wants make those same folks pay more in payroll taxes, the social security tax. Beyond that, he wants to re institute the inheritence tax and increase the capital gains tax, which he has mistakenly claimed is predominantly only for the wealthy. These new taxes with tax cuts for those making $75,000 and less. Now, when you create a tax increase on the wealthiest in order to pay for tax cuts for the middle class, that is called income redistribution.

Of course, Americans don't favor income redistribution. So, how does Barack Obama repackage income redistibution. Let's take a look at the language that Barack Obama uses in repackaging his income redistribution.

The Bush tax cuts give those who earn over $1 million dollars a tax cut nearly 160 times greater than that received by middle-income Americans. At the same time, this administration has refused to tackle health care, education and housing in a manner that benefits the middle class.


Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The "Making Work Pay" tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.


It is true that I would roll back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans back to the level they were under Bill Clinton, when I don't remember rich people feeling oppressed.

How does he explain the capital gains increase?

What I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. The top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year--$29 billion for 50 individuals. Those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That's not fair.

Income redistribution is a tool of class warfare and so you fight it like any other war of class. All your ideas are about fairness. Make the current situation seem as though it leaves the little guy behind and suddenly income redistribution is all about taking care of the middle class.

Even so called universal health care is income redistribution. Right now about 40 million Americans don't have health insurance. Barack Obama wants to give it to them. Well if they can't afford it and they will get it anyway, then it will be up to those that can to pay for it. So, how does Barack Obama repackage a free handout into something the public wants... repackaging of course...

Democrat Barack Obama is offering a sweeping plan that would provide every citizen a means to have health coverage and calls on government, businesses and consumers to share the costs of the program.

Obama said his plan could save the average consumer $2,500 a year and bring health care to all."The time has come for universal, affordable health care in America," Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday in Iowa City.

A copy of his remarks and documents describing the program were obtained by The Associated Press.

Obama's plan retains the private insurance system but injects additional money into the system to pay for expanding coverage. It would also create a National Health Insurance Exchange to monitor insurance companies in offering the coverage.

Those who can't afford coverage would get a subsidy on a sliding scale depending on their income, and virtually all businesses would have to share in the cost of coverage for their workers. The plan that would be offered would be similar to the one covering members of Congress.

Fuzzy math is always key to selling any plan that counts on income redistribution. Barack Obama promises to not only bring health care to all, but save everyone $2500. Of course, this is impossible at least not for those stuck with the bill for those that can't afford it.

Furthermore, you use extravagant words like "bring health care to all" and "inject money into the system", and use consumers to replace those that can afford, and suddenly a plan to redistribute income turns into health care for all...and saving everyone $2500 on top of it.

Finally, Barack Obama plays on the natural envy of those that aren't as successful and turns income redistribution into a campaign pledge. Here is how Barack Obama put it.

The other: the U.S. becoming what he called a "winner-take-all" economy, where the gains from economic growth skew heavily toward the wealthy.

That sounds all well and good. Of course, if you are going to spread gains from economic growth more evenly, the only way to do it is through income redistribution.

Shakespeare once said "a rose by any other name is still a rose". Well, to Barack Obama, income redistribution by any other name is still income redistribution.

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