As I noted in the previous post, McCain has tried to brand Obama with being a socialist. One aspect of this attack is that McCain claims that Obama wishes to redistribute the wealth. Given what Obama has said, this seems to be true. Of course, two questions arise: is this socialism? Is this bad?
As far as socialism goes, the redistribution of wealth is often seen as part of socialism. Of course, the existing system already resdistributes wealth. We pay taxes and the wealth ends up being redistributed. Obviously, the wealth does not go back to us. If it did, taxes would be pointless-why send in what will be sent right back to the same person?
As McCain himself has pointed out in the past, a chunk of our tax money goes to pork and earmarks. This, of course, serves to redistribute the wealth from the taxpayer to the special interests. McCain has long promised to fight that, but has supported the bailout plan and has fallen in with the traditional wealthfare system in which business gets to drink deep of the federal money trough. As such, McCain surely does not think that redistributing the wealth is a sufficient condition for socialism. What McCain is railing against is the redistribution of wealth in the other direction: from the more wealthy to the less wealthy. This, it would seem, is what he means by socialism. Given this definition, then Obama’s plan would be socialist. Of course, so would McCain’s plan to deal with bad mortgages. So, he must be a socialist as well.
Is socialism bad? Well, it all depends on what socialism is taken to be. The current system in which the middle class bears the burden of upward socialism (supporting the wealthy via taxes) and downward socialism (supporting the poor via taxes) seems harmful to the majority. Distributing the burden more equitably would certainly make sense and would also seem to be more fair. As such, I’m against the sort of socialism that has been robbing me and for the sort of socialism that would rob me less.