Class Warfare Blog

September 20, 2012

Redistribution of Wealth My Ass! Revisited!

Mitt Romney is going around the country talking to people about the difference between his America, where people get to keep their hard earned income and what he characterizes as the “entitlement culture” which is based on the “redistribution of wealth.” He has even dredged up a 14-year old video of then State Senator Obama saying that “some redistribution is good.” Not according to Mitt Romney. Romney’s disdain for the word “redistribution” resonates because it gets people to think about freeloaders. Nobody wants to support freeloaders.

I argue that “redistribution” is all that government does. It takes its revenues (taxes, fees, tariffs, etc.) away from people and gives them to other people. Some of my taxes go into the pockets of soldiers, some goes into the politician’s pockets (in the form of their salaries), and into bureaucrats pockets, etc. All government does is take and give. That is its role. The government represents our collective needs and we donate from funds that could go to address our individual needs to pay for the collective ones.

But Romney’s whole argument is a scam because his scathing remarks about “government redistributing wealth” are entirely disingenuous. In fact he is flat out lying. (Well, he is also pandering to his conservative base, too. He is implying that the government is taking your hard-earned income and giving it to shiftless, lazy, no accounts (code words for racial minorities).)

But Romney’s “class” lives off of government redistributions. Let me give you just one of a great many facts that are pertinent to this discussion: in 1950, corporations paid $3 in taxes for every $1 paid by an individual. In 2011, corporations paid 22 cents for every dollar paid by an individual. In other words, corporations paid 75% of corporate and income taxes in 1950, but only 18% now. How is it, do you think, that this shift in the tax burden, off of corporations and on to workers, got made? It got made by politicians being bribed to change our government’s tax laws to favor corporations over ordinary folks. That, my friends, is good redistribution, according to Mr. Romney. (It is no accident that the wealthiest Americans are more and more corporation executives. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.)

And there are many, many other examples: just one is that hedge fund managers making over a billion dollars a year pay only the lowest rate (15%) on all of their income while you get that rate on only the first little bit of your income—the reason?—because they don’t actually have to work hard for their money; they never even break a sweat. Oh, and they bribed enough of our public servants to make it so.

So, Mr. Romney is in effect saying “Don’t do what we did and get your government to redistribute the wealth in this county because we are enjoying all of that money very, very much.”

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