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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Income Redistribution

Voters learned two new concepts this week - ie "victims" and "redistribution".

As a tit for tat rebuttal for Romney's very bad political week, Republicans dusted off a 14 year old video of Illinois State Senator Barack Obama supporting a concept of "redistribution". It's intended to incite right wing conservatives who, probably, like lots of other voters, have no idea what redistribution means.

Republicans want us to believe "redistribution" is a bad word. In fact, it's how the US Congress gets paid. It's how government pays the bills. It means that government pools the money collected in taxes and redistributes it based upon the best use of resources. All governments "redistribute" resources. Some, by favoring their political friends, while others create a progressive process.

Here's what I think:

Redistribution definition: "The theory, policy, or practice of lessening or reducing inequalities in income through such measures as progressive income taxation and antipoverty programs." (dictionary.com)

I submit, redistribution includes sharing wealth, as well as lessening inequalities. Meaning, all government payroll is a redistribution of tax money.

Income redistribution should not include money spent on Medicare and Social Security but, in fact, the safety-net programs do run deficits. Therefore, government must guarantee payment while hoping to recover the money from future contributions to the programs. The problem is, the US Congress took money from the Social Security fund and has not yet paid it back. In other words, the redistribution of Social Security money was authorized outside of the intended distribution of the available money. 

In Medicare, the cost of health care exceeds the pace of the premiums collected. It's essential to bring down the cost of providing health care to an increasingly aging population before Medicare can become totally sustainable- in other words, not likely. As a result, redistribution is essential to keep Medicare solvent.

This is how redistribution works....it's the same way for defense spending, for public health, for sustainable infrastructure, and so on....

In a heated political campaign, the concepts of "victims" and "redistribution" become political buzz words.  Sadly, both concepts marginalize middle class and poor people.  Neither concept raises us up. Rather, they denigrate the human condition.  People who rely on a return for being good American citizens, by rightly expecting to receive Social Security, Medicare, Veterans benefits, student loans or fuel assistance should not be labeled as "victims".  People who believe government should pay for a strong military should not claim "redistribution" is a bad word.

Romney was taped giving the label "victim" to 47 percent of voters who, he said, expect to receive help from the government. This comment rips the scab off of class warfare in America whereby conservative voters believe wealth should be owned by people who create if for themselves. This is an abrasive statement that should make moral people bristle with concern about the values of a potential Romney in the White House.  What ever happened to the concept of "Compassionate Conservative"?

When the dust settles, after the election, the fact is, those who win the elections, at all levels of government, will benefit from income redistribution, because they will be the victims of receiving a government pay check.

"Income redistribution" and "victim", as the Republicans politicize these concepts, are not mutually exclusive. In other words, if we could assign a value to "income redistribution" and to "victim", the two would add up to including all people, those who contribute and those who receive.   Redistribution is part of our responsibility in creating a human condition* in which everyone of us are subscribers.

*Definition of The Human Condition: Encompasses all of the experience of being human. As mortal entities, the term is also used to describe the joy, terror, humor and other feelings or emotions associated with being and existence....

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