Thursday, September 20, 2012

We are all (ok, almost all) redistributionists

Obama's been getting some heat, including from the Romney campaign, over comments he made in 1998 in which he said "I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody’s got a shot."  It turns out that the very next words out of his mouth after that were "[h]ow do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities."

The entire quote might not have the Marxist ring to it that the right wing was hoping for, and it makes them look bad that it was selectively edited.  But the most important aspect of the story is the dishonest of the attack, since Romney's platform is heavily redistributional, as well.  On his website, he expresses support for Medicaid block grants to the states, a "Medicare" benefit, Social Security, tax preferences for certain people/industries, and lots of other things that involve taking money from one group and giving it to someone else.

If Obama were running against Ron Paul or Gary Johnson (or, you know, running against Gary Johnson in a way where he had to engage Johnson at all), perhaps there could be a real debate about the government's role here.  But Romney talks like a libertarian while his policies are clearly not.

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