As promised, a little something on the subject of redistribution, a word which in the Republican lexicon seems to rub shoulders with terms like Marxist-Leninism. So what’s the big deal here – after all isn’t redistribution something that all governments do in one way or another and not necessarily from the rich to the poor? Straightforward redistribution could be from the healthy to the sick or from the young to the old. Lesser known ways include the tax exclusion for people who get employer-provided healthcare – money is redistributed from individuals buying insurance to those getting it from the workplace.
So, just what is Mitt’s beef with this issue? Well, it seems he sees redistribution from the wealthy to the poor, from the multimillionaire to the unemployed, from the healthy to the sick as some form of fundamentally evil big government theft. This sems to be saying to me that being poor, unemployed and sick really means you’re a bit of a loser and therefore unworthy of sharing in the American dream. Find fiftty cents pal – phone someone who cares… What’s with this attitude that a much needed increase in social welfare programs equates to rewarding freeloaders and penalising the successful? Guys, I love the can-do spirit I see in most Americans I’ve met, their hard work and optimism. But I wouldn’t want to live there – not with an attitude like that in charge.
No-one (including me) can seriously say that rewarding people who refuse to take responsibility for their lives is an economically viable or morally right action. We certainly don’t belive in that here in the UK. If you lose your job here (as a lot of us have recently), you only get your Job Seekers allowance (about $350 a month) if you have an accurate and checkable diary of your attempts to find work. I’ve no problem with that and certainly don’t see it as rewarding failure.
It’s not just about ensuring there is a safety net (funded by our taxes) to catch us if we fall. Redistribution also means taxation going on defence. So if Romney and Ryan want to take on Iran then it will be American tax-payers’ dollars they use to do it. Of course if Mitt wants to recruit and arm his own private army out of his personal fortune and lead it himself that’s a different story. Some Iranians might die…laughing.
As a UK citizen I find the Republican link between redistribution and socialism puzzling, if not plain absurd. If anyone out there feels like explaining it to me feel free. I may not agree with you, but I’ll certainly listen. One thing I’ve not covered here is the possible origin of Romney’s ideas – but that’s for next time.