American Elephants

“Spreading the Wealth Around.” Good Idea? by The Elephant's Child
October 28, 2008, 7:33 pm
Filed under: Economy, Election 2008, Liberalism, Politics, Socialism | Tags: , ,

“Redistribution of wealth” is a phrase that has made Joe the Plumber famous and caused the mainstream press to pruriently investigate every aspect of his life.  It caused three TV stations to be banned by the Obama campaign because they were impertinent enough to ask Sen. Biden about redistribution of wealth and socialism.

KYWTV, Channel 3 in Philadelphia, a station serving Wilmington DE has been banned because Sen. Biden doesn’t like tough questions.  WFTV in Orlando has also been banned, for Barbara West asked the kind of probing questions of Joe Biden that the mainstream media refuses to ask.  And then there is Angela Russell of CBS Channel 3 in Philadelphia who also asked about “spreading the wealth around.” You can’t even ask!

Sweetness & Light has gathered together some of the reflections of the founding fathers on redistribution here.

“Redistribution of wealth” or “spreading the wealth around” is, of course, a socialist idea, designed to help those who are less fortunate.  Oddly enough we already have a very progressive tax system.  Over 30% of those at the bottom of the income groups currently pay no taxes at all.  And Americans are the most generous people on earth, not only giving more of their income to charity, but giving of their time as well.

The assumption is that the only reason people are poor is strictly a matter of money, which it is not.  Studies have shown that if one graduates from high school, doesn’t get married until they have graduated from high school, and waits to have a child until they are married, they will do fine in our society.  I should add stay away from drugs. We do better if we help kids to finish school, and that does not have to be a government program.

Somehow, it is hard for people to understand because it is usually couched in terms of “fairness.”

I shamelessly borrowed this from the folks at geeeeZ.

I don’t know who wrote this, but it sure works…….

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read “Vote Obama, I need the money.” I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a “Obama 08” tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference–just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept.

He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need–the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I’ve decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

or just a fools game?

Here is what Barack Obama had to say on a call-in radio show in 2001:

You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.

Free people are generous because they have the choice of what to do with the funds that they worked hard to earn.  Even poor people value the money they earn themselves far more than they do handouts.  Making people dependent on handouts destroys ambition, pride and even, Senator Obama — hope.

Here’s something worth a few minutes of your time. by The Elephant's Child

National Review Online has been featuring the Hoover Institution’s “Uncommon Knowledge”, a TV show in which scholar and host Peter Robinson interviews interesting people.  The current video is an interview with Thomas Sowell about one of his most famous books A Conflict of Visions.  In the book, Dr. Sowell explains the ideological origins of political struggles.  Controversies in  politics arise from many sources, but the enduring conflicts over generations show a remarkably consistent pattern.  Issues like criminal justice, income distribution and war and peace reflect radically different visions of the nature of man.

It’s a wonderful series, and well worth a bit of your time.  The entire interview is divided into five sections, so you can watch one at a time, briefly, or settle down to watch the whole thing at the end of the week.

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