Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's Wrong With Redistribution?

If you haven't seen this video of Fox News' Megyn Kelly putting the smack down on Obama staffer Bill Burton, it needs to be seen to be believed. Good stuff!

Anyway, Mr. Burton does ask an important question. Once upon a time, John McCain opposed President Bush's tax cuts. He says McCain said they went too much to the wealthy; really, his big complaint at the time was that he wanted to cut spending and pay down the debt too.

Mr. Burton seems to think this is the same thing as what we're calling "redistribution of wealth."

In reality, there's a huge difference.

Sen. McCain wanted to use the money for specific expenses. Sen. Obama wants to "spread the wealth" -- an opened ended agenda that has no clear goal or endpoint.

What's wrong with that? Though we all hate taxes, we recognize the need for government to do specific things. If they need to pay down the debt, fund a war, or build roads, that requires money. If we don't like it, we can argue that a specific project is unnecessary.

"Spreading the wealth" is not a project -- it's a philosophy. It would be a dozen or more projects all with the same flawed mindset.

The concept of spreading the wealth or redistribution depends on the notion that government has the authority and the wisdom to say who has enough, who needs more, and how much is enough to take.

I don't think government has the authority, and I especially don't think it has the wisdom.


Vinny said...

John McCain did not say anything about cutting spending in the article you linked. He said he wanted to "put a whole lot of money into Social Security, Medicare and paying down the debt." Aren't Social Security and Medicare the most socialist programs our government has ever undertaken?

ChrisB said...

I guess the cutting spending was in another article; I remember that was in the news back then.

Be careful calling Social Security socialist -- some old lady might beat you. As originally sold to the public, at least, SocSec was supposed to be an "insurance" program. Even now benefit is supposed to be based on what you paid in, so no that doesn't qualify as socialist, and technically it's not what most think of as "redistribution."

Medicare? Don't get me started. BUT it's now an "entitlement" meaning we have to fund it until the end of time.

Let's not start anything new, though.

Vinny said...

You are certainly welcome to your opinions, but we have had a progressive income tax for almost a century and we have had social security for almost three quarters of a century. That would seem to moot any arguments about the government’s authority to tax those people that it deems to have enough and to provide benefits to those people that it deems to need more.

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