Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is it even possible to run a country that undistributes the wealth?

Glenn Beck has been busy the last few weeks defaming Jim Wallis as a Marxist because he said he's in favor of wealth redistribution. I was going to write a post pointing out the fact inconvenient to those like Beck who think is Manichean sound bites that if you pool your resources as a society through taxation and then spend that money on x and/or y you are redistributing the wealth, the point being that "redestributing wealth" does not in and of itself equal commumism, much less Marxism. As I said, I was going to write such a post, but didn't because by the time I had the time to do so I noticed that Ed Brayton had already done so.

First of all, let's recognize the undeniable truth that all taxing and spending by the government is a redistribution of wealth -- every single penny. Redistribution of wealth does not mean merely taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Every dime of taxes -- even when it's spent on things Glenn Beck would surely believe must be done, like defense spending -- redistributes wealth in some way because it takes money away from some people (reducing their wealth) and gives it to others (increasing their wealth).
And, of course, there is the counter-example that David Cay Johnston has been documenting in his books Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch in which Reaganomic and plutocratic policies embraced by both parties for the last 30 years have redistributed wealth upward to an elite few of super rich, hardly a Marxist process.


Mike D said...

Hume's Ghost: A perfectly understandable point of view. It's sad and notable that it even bears mentioning. But propagandists are very good at targeting exploitable flaws in human nature to subvert otherwise lucid people's perceptions. And then we end up with people like DM, unable to question his own beliefs, able only to thrash and rage at those who don't agree with him.


Paul Sunstone said...

Wealth redistribution would take place in an economy even in the absence of any government involvment in it.

Second, many "primative" societies had mechanisms or customs to insure that wealth was more or less equitably distributed. It seems that it's only with the rise of complex societies that great inequalities of wealth are seen as acceptable.

Hume's Ghost said...

"funny... you think by censoring the TRUTH it goes away...."

Please, I did not censor "the truth." What I did do was delete your obnoxious off-topic spam the second time you posted it, and you're insane if you think I'm under some kind of obligation to let you advertise the same message on every one of my posts.

You posted your hate message - it will stay up at its initial posting - and that's it. Either say something on topic or have the decency to go away.

Sheldon said...

"the point being that "redestributing wealth" does not in and of itself equal commumism, much less Marxism. "

The term is actually quite foreign to Marx and Marxism. The term does not come up in any search of Marx's writings at the Marxists Internet Archive. Any of them!

You can try it here:

And this is what you get.
"Your search - "redistribution of wealth" - did not match any documents."

Marxist is just a scare word used by people who don't know anything about Marxism. Its quite transparent.

I am really getting tire of so many people carrying on about "Marxism" and they know nothing of it.