During the 2008 election, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska threw down the gauntlet for then Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois on their quest for the presidency with their term “the redistribution of wealth. Such a term was intended to negatively paint Mr. Obama as a socialist style management of governing where one goes rogue with a Peter-Pan form of take from the rich and give to the poor mentality.
The thought of redistribution is intended to invoke a concept of altering the tax codes, tinkering with discretionary funds, adjusting fiscal policy (financial regulations), interest rates, establishing and funding Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare and food stamps (even if only temporary), these are forms of redistribution.
So what exactly is redistribution, it is the creation of metrics and guidelines built within the system to provide direct assistance to those who could use it, from resources and services rendered by someone else. It should level the income earnings potential for every American and not just a small group of the nation’s highest earners.
Redistribution represents financial regulations that prevent the economic calamity the country endured in the last few years, it also shows up in elimination of predatory lending in the housing markets to allow those who purchase homes to keep them without worrying about infixed rates and fears of foreclosures. Policies and procedures initiated and put in place can alter the distribution of wealth if it is found that the markets unfairly benefit the wealthy. The country already has some of these provisions built in but the politics of the day in this 2012 election is how much should the system be allowed to take to fund these metrics?
Mitt Romney has adopted the language of McCain/Palin circa 2008 when the unknown “Joe the Plumber” became a household name for his 15min. Americans heard the “redistribution” tag line for months, yet in what was billed as a Change election, everyone either needed help or feared they would, so the line never resonated negatively for the Ds.
For those who have attempted to repackage the term as of this week, the polls do not show where this will resonate in this political climate either. As voters become more and more economically optimistic, economic distribution as opposed to redistribution seems like a plus to most. The optimism as yet to translate nationally into consumer confidence or fiscal security.
Occupy Wall Street, a movement last year where Americans grew angry regarding how the government seemed to serve the financial sector and the top 1% (highest earners) more favorably than the those of the remaining 99% percent of americans. The movement stoked an even greater awareness of the distribution of wealth and protests grew in every major city and continued for weeks with sporadic outbreaks of violence.
So just when you thought you were part of the 99%, this week we find out from GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney informed us that in fact, instead of 99%, many are in the 47%. Forty-seven percent of Americans do not pay federal income taxes, although payroll taxes are paid by everyone, but Romney believes this has created a nation of dependency and victim-mentality entitlements.
Whatever your politics, whatever your financial positioning, either wealth distribution or economic redistribution, there are two candidates who believe in the redistribution of wealth. If you file your federal income taxes and claim a home exemption, child earned income credits, if you supported the President’s “Cash for Clunkers” in 2009, or receive Pell Grants, those are all facets of the redistribution. Both candidates, Romney and Obama are more aligned on this issue than even they would like to pretend. That’s my story and um sticking to it.