The “Redistribution” Big Lie

I am so tired of hearing the same old tired lies coming out of the conservative propaganda machine about the redistribution of wealth in this country.

President Obama’s original proposal to extend and deepen payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers AND their employers would have been

paid for by a surtax on America’s 350,000 top earners. Moreover, it would have only been a surcharge only on wages EXCEEDING $1million….not

on the entire amount of wages, just the wages in EXCESS of $1million. Why can’t Democrats win this argument in the court of public opinion?

Are they inept? Are they senile? Somebody, please help me understand this inability to communicate…..PLEASE!

The Big Lie of Redistribution

Redistribution”, cries the Grover Norquistitlians. This is Socialism and Redistribution of Wealth, cries Rushtonians.

But the real irony in American politics isn’t redistribution; it’s talking truthfully about redistribution.

The truth is, The U.S. government takes billions every year from families earning $35,000 who can barely make ends meet, and use the money to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors who earn more than $100,000; even though those same seniors are getting back far more than they ever paid into the system.

The truth is, The U.S. government takes billions from wealthy BLUE states like New York and California, and ships them (redistributes)via federal benefits and subsidies to RED states like Alabama and Oklahoma, for farming and oil subsidies.

The big hypocrisy is that the recipient states mostly vote Republican and bitch incessantly about getting Uncle Sam off their backs.

Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump receive mortgage interest deductions as a housing subsidy while renters get no housing subsidy at all.

The Medicare Big Lie

Few Americans realize that Medicare spends vastly different amounts per senior depending on where the senior happens to live. The most famous example, from research by John Wennberg, found that Medicare spends 2.5 times more per senior in Miami than in Minneapolis (even after adjusting for regional differences in input costs, such as for office rents). Yet there’s no difference in quality or health outcomes associated with this extra spending.

In other words, Medicare redistributes billions from regions where doctors practice cost effectively to regions where doctors pad their income with excess services and procedures.

This is a well-kept secret against Medicare vouchers because of the complexity of that system is tricky and potentially explosive. Setting sums for the vouchers would expose the redistribution that now takes place within the program.

Would the government have to honor past practice and give a Minneapolis senior a voucher worth one-third of what his cousin in Miami gets? See the difficulty?  See the Medicare riots that would result?

And Yet They Continue to Press This Propaganda

It’s a little late to say we don’t redistribute income in the United States. It’s more accurate to say that redistribution is exactly how American has always operated.

Still, Republicans are determined not to admit this. Admitting that redistribution is a proud American/Republican tradition, after all, might encourage more of it. With the 99 percent already angrily eyeing the 1 percent, it may not be prudent to admit that factoid.

Paul O’Neill, Treasury secretary under George W. Bush, when asked about redistribution had this to say.

“If we want to have a conversation about equities, then we ought to have a complete conversation,” O’Neill said. “It should not be about health care. It should not be about education. It should be a broader conversation about how much of the resources should be provided from those who have something to those who have less or nothing”.

“That’s the clean conversation,” he added. “It’s about purchasing power for the things one needs to lead a decent and civil life. That’s the question.”

Huh……….A Republican just a few years ago said that……..que the Twilight Zone music.

As a matter of fact, a clip of a speech by the conservative “Einstein of Economics”, and ultra supply-side economics proponent, Ronald Reagan, has been getting a great deal of air play on a cable news outlet in which he says much the same thing.

Paraphrasing, Reagan proclaimed that it is ludicrous and downright un-American for a bus driver to be paying more in taxes than millionaires are and that he would put an end to that inequity if elected president.

But for gawd’s-sake don’t try to tell that to Joe Scarborough, host and resident screamer-narcissist-Mika-abuser, of Morning Joe on MSNBC. He will shout you into submission, brag about his two scandal-ridden seconds in Congress, or until the program conveniently has to break for a commercial.

I just wish President Obama and the Democrats in Congress would have the political will to make this obvious point and pound it into the American subconscious the way Fox “News” pounds their propaganda into their simple-minded viewing audience.

That would be worth the price of admittance.

  1 comment for “The “Redistribution” Big Lie

  1. Jack
    December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Harvey makes good individual points. As a Conservative I see an overall trend that everything the liberals want is give, give, give, give. Less and less individual responsbility. The discussion is always about how to better manage what we Give. Never about people taking responsibility for their own lives. This is deeply troubling to me.

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