Saturday, December 16, 2006

On Income Redistribution

Matt of Left in the West is decrying the fact that some people actually have the temerity to be rich!! Oh the nerve of some people.
This reminded me of an interview I saw on Fox News Sunday where Barney Frank was being interviewed and was asked if it was alright for the government to take wealth from one group and give it to another. Rep. Frank was pointing out that the top echelons are amassing more wealth than ever before. This would be a legitimate problem if and I mean only IF it was due to some government policy. But I know of no such policy. Instead, it just seems to be "unfair."
Why is it the role of government to forcibly sieze wealth from one group to give to another? What moral or legal basis would allow, much less condone such robbery? I am at a loss for an explanation.
I know that some have argued that the rich have too much and the poor have too little. Okay, why is that a problem for governmental intervention? Again, I am at a loss.


Matt Singer said...

Steve of Rabid Sanity is applauding poverty!

The real problem I've got -- if you read the post -- is that people like Balyeat repeatedly blow smoke up our asses claiming that the further enrichment of the wealthy is benefitting everyone. It's not. If it was, the problem would go away.

Why is inequality on its own a problem? Because unequal societies are ripe for anger, revolution, and terrorism. Why is the decline in social mobility a problem? Well, I think when people who start their lives poor are locked out of progress, something is wrong. But I believe in equality of opportunity as more than a handful of words.

As for government policy transferring wealth -- not sure if anyone's noticed the trend in tax policy to move toward more regressive taxation. Combine it with privatization efforts that turn taxpayer money over to wealthy corporations and you actually have the beginnings of an upward redistribution of wealth.

Steve said...

Nice try Matt, but your straw man won't cut it. I am not applauding poverty. I am saying that it is not the government's job to rectify it. I know that is contrary to your cherished tenets, but that doesn't mean that you are right.
Besides, you use too many statements that cannot be supported. Do we have permanently assigned economic classes? Not in America anyway.
The difference between the American and European experiences, is that no American feels like someone is better than they are just because they have more money. In Eurpope, I suppose this is a residue of kings ruling with the permission of God, otherwise they wouldn't be king.
But are the poor and the rich pemanently locked into their respective categories? If you are poor, but get a good education, and work hard, you have every reason to believe that you can improve your station in life. It is only those who have been told that there is no such chance to change who will surrender and become permanently poor.
Alternatively, the rich are not necessarily immune from change either. It may be harder for them to squander their wealth, but it has been done before.
I agree that equality of opportunity is the key to improvement. But what about affirmative action as it is currently being used. Why should the son of a black dentist be given preference over the daughter of a white sharecropper. We really aren't doing anything to remedy this because of political fiefdoms set up to maximize their power.
As to your final point, if the policies of the government are shifting wealth to one group at the expense of another, I restate my position. This is wrong.