I heard some guy on the radio yesterday whining about what he perceives as sinister efforts by liberals to facilitate the redistribution of wealth in America.
Of course, this kind of complaint is commonplace among right-wingers (above). And they seemingly never give a thought to the foolishness of such rhetoric. So, it’s time for another Applesauce tutorial on the real meaning of redistributing wealth.
Let’s start with a question: Can anyone give me even one example of government spending that doesn’t amount to redistribution of wealth?
OK! I’ll admit it. That’s a trick question. There are no such examples to be found. So don’t even bother.
In truth, every government expenditure at every level — federal, state or local — is a case of spreading the wealth. The government takes money from some people by way of taxes and spends it — presumably or ostensibly, depending upon your point of view — for the common good. The money goes for public safety, economic development, national defense, courts, education, research, infrastructure, environmental and consumer protection, etc., etc. In short, it goes for efforts to “promote the general welfare,” as the Constitution puts it.
Some of these expenditures directly benefit the general populace, and some directly benefit relatively few people or businesses or other institutions. But all of them, as I say, are examples of redistribution of wealth.
That’s the way the system has worked since Day One. But the Tea Party folks and other right-wingers seem to think it’s all part of a nefarious plot hatched by Marxists.
Granted, you and I can and do argue that certain government expenditures are for efforts that should not be undertaken or for matters that would be better left to the private sector. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the government expenditures we consider legitimate are still examples of wealth redistribution.
That’s what government is for. That’s why it exists. The only way to stop the government from taking your money and using it for the benefit of others — be they the many or the few — is to get rid of the government. But then, who’s going to put out the fires, arrest the crooks, build the highways and defend the nation?
One other thing: Have you heard about the program headed by Barack Obama that gives hundreds of thousands of Americans — many of them young blacks and Hispanics from poor neighborhoods– free housing, clothing, food, health care, vehicles, job training and who-knows-what-else? Some of them even get to travel to exotic foreign locales — entirely at taxpayers’ expense.
Talk about socialism!
They call this program the U.S. military, and it’s a gigantic scheme of wealth redistribution.