logo 
spacer
  

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

If you have an opinion, you should share it! Register Now!

America's Debate hosts the best in news, government, and political debate. Register now to take part in the most civil and constructive debate on the Internet. Join the community, and get ready to be challenged!

Click here to start

> Sponsored Links

Register to remove these ads!
> Obama on wealth redistribution, another unscripted moment
Blackstone
post Oct 31 2008, 05:17 PM
Post #1


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 2,976
Member No.: 5,539
Joined: October-13-05

Gender: Male
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Independent



Here is an audio transcript of an interview that Barack Obama gave in 2001. He was talking about the civil rights movement, what it accomplished, and what it failed to accomplish. What he said it failed to accomplish - "tragically", in his view - was significant redistribution of wealth. There's one passage that I think deserves particular examination, which will be the subject of the debate questions:

QUOTE(Barack Obama)
Maybe Iím showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but Iím not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isnít structured that way. You just look at very rare examples during the desegregation era the court was willing to for example order changes that cost money to a local school district. The court was very uncomfortable with it. It was very hard to manage, it was hard to figure out. You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. The courtís just not very good at it and politically itís very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So I think that although you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally. Any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.


1. Looking at the above passage, would you conclude that Senator Obama was taking a principled stand against judicially-imposed redistribution of wealth, or that he was merely objecting to the strategy on practical grounds?

2. Would those practical considerations likely change if he were in a position to nominate judges for the Supreme Court, and send those nominations to a filibuster-proof Democratic-controlled Senate?

3. Does this interview, and perhaps other revelations from his days in Chicago/Illinois politics, add to the feeling that there's a lot we really don't know about Senator Obama and his agenda?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
3 Pages V  < 1 2 3  
Start new topic
Replies (40 - 47)
Blackstone
post Nov 3 2008, 07:06 PM
Post #41


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 2,976
Member No.: 5,539
Joined: October-13-05

Gender: Male
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Independent



QUOTE(turnea @ Nov 3 2008, 01:23 PM) *
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Nov 3 2008, 12:18 PM) *
I think what most people here are confused about is redistribution as a side effect, versus redistribution as the main purpose of taxation. As in: this group of people have too much money, that group of people have too little, we're going to take wealth from this group and give it to that group. Because that's what's "fair".

That is what Obama is advocating, to the point where he thinks the courts should have their own role to play in forcing it upon society. Anyone who can't see the seriousness of that because of constant nitpicking over what, by some stretch or another, can be considered "redistribution", is completely missing the forest for the trees.

I don't think you do justice to the argument for progressive taxation.

I wasn't addressing the argument for progressive taxation. My comment was about what gets done with the money after it's raised, and for what purpose. And it's an accurate description of redistributionist ideology, and certainly not part of McCain's platform.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
turnea
post Nov 3 2008, 07:09 PM
Post #42


**********
Tweedy Impertinence

Sponsor
December 2005

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 5,585
Member No.: 133
Joined: September-27-02

From: Alabama
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: None



QUOTE(Blackstone @ Nov 3 2008, 01:06 PM) *
I wasn't addressing the argument for progressive taxation. My comment was about what gets done with the money after it's raised, and for what purpose. And it's an accurate description of redistributionist ideology, and certainly not part of McCain's platform.

1.) Well then your problem is not the redistribution itself but how the redistribution is targeted, both candidates are redistributionists.

2.) What "new purpose" has Obama proposed that is not already an established part of the political landscape?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Blackstone
post Nov 3 2008, 07:44 PM
Post #43


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 2,976
Member No.: 5,539
Joined: October-13-05

Gender: Male
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Independent



QUOTE(turnea @ Nov 3 2008, 02:09 PM) *
1.) Well then your problem is not the redistribution itself but how the redistribution is targeted

My problem is when redistribution is the target, rather than just collateral damage.

I think most Americans have that same problem, too, which is why it's unfortunate that more of them probably aren't aware of this Obama interview.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
turnea
post Nov 3 2008, 07:52 PM
Post #44


**********
Tweedy Impertinence

Sponsor
December 2005

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 5,585
Member No.: 133
Joined: September-27-02

From: Alabama
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: None



QUOTE(Blackstone @ Nov 3 2008, 01:44 PM) *
QUOTE(turnea @ Nov 3 2008, 02:09 PM) *
1.) Well then your problem is not the redistribution itself but how the redistribution is targeted

My problem is when redistribution is the target, rather than just collateral damage.

We've been doing that forever.

It is in essence the root of Social Security, public education and aid, Medicare, TANF, SBA loans, etc. A whole host of programs no serious political force in this country opposes.

Nothing Obama said here is new or any more frightening than McCain's platform.

This post has been edited by turnea: Nov 3 2008, 07:53 PM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Blackstone
post Nov 3 2008, 08:04 PM
Post #45


*********
Advanced Senior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 2,976
Member No.: 5,539
Joined: October-13-05

Gender: Male
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Independent



No, providing government services is not the same as what I described in post #39. You demurred on the grounds that Obama isn't motivated by the belief that the rich have "too much money", but that's exactly what the term redistribution implies. It implies that there's something wrong with the current distribution.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
turnea
post Nov 3 2008, 08:11 PM
Post #46


**********
Tweedy Impertinence

Sponsor
December 2005

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 5,585
Member No.: 133
Joined: September-27-02

From: Alabama
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: None



QUOTE(Blackstone @ Nov 3 2008, 02:04 PM) *
No, providing government services is not the same as what I described in post #39. You demurred on the grounds that Obama isn't motivated by the belief that the rich have "too much money", but that's exactly what the term redistribution implies. It implies that there's something wrong with the current distribution.

Indeed, not necessarily on the "too much" end though.

Providing government services is indeed what you described in #39 whenever those services are provided on the basis of need, like all of the one's I listed are.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
logophage
post Nov 4 2008, 06:02 AM
Post #47


********
Millennium Mark

Sponsor
August 2004

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 1,456
Member No.: 3,058
Joined: May-8-04

From: California
Gender: Male
Politics: Independent
Party affiliation: None



QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Nov 3 2008, 02:10 AM) *
What of Hobbe's categorization of anything other than "pay as you go" as redistribution? In Hobbe's world, taxes don't qualify as "pay as you go", ergo, they're redistribution. Let's take a simple case, physical security. Imagine that you and a bunch of friends acquire a large chunk of land up in the mountains, and build yourselves a little village. Knowing that there's a plethora of hungry critters around, your friends ask you to hire a woodsman (Joe Hunter) to keep the critters out. To pay the woodsman, everybody chips in a few bucks each month, which you collect and give to Joe. Is this redistribution? Now, instead of a woodsman, we've got a park ranger (well, actually, its still Joe Hunter) hired by the town mayor (that's you), who's being paid the exact same amount of money, collected from exactly the same people, for doing exactly the same job, for exactly the same people, only now we call the collected monies "taxes" What's the difference? A "village HOA" vs. a government? A woodsman vs. a park ranger? In this instance, there is no difference save the terms used.

The "all taxes are redistribution" argument of Hobbes (and Logophage) clearly doesn't support this picture. Taxes are not redistribution.

This story you tell, Bikerdad, is the reason why we call these fees and not taxes. For example, on your telephone bill you will see a 911 fee. This 911 fee is levied against all telephone service users (well, not VoIP users but that's a different story). The fee is specific in its application, that is, you cannot use the 911 fee for building roads -- it must be used for 911 service. Had you chosen not to get phone service, then you would not pay this fee. A sales tax, on the other hand, is levied against all retail purchasers of products: the only way you can opt out is to not purchase anything. Also, the sales tax is used for most anything the government chooses. An income tax is similarly levied against all earners of income; the only way you can opt out is to not earn income. Income taxes, like sales taxes, go into the general fund.

Once something goes into the general fund, it implicitly becomes redistributive. The money is used for all sorts of services independent of the way the money got into the general fund in the first place. But, this is all obvious basic stuff. I can't understand why this even a point of debate. Maybe, you could explain to me Bikerdad how taxes -- or moneys placed into the general fund -- are not redistribution.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Hobbes
post Nov 4 2008, 03:01 PM
Post #48


Group Icon

**********
No More Mr. Nice Guy!

Group: Committee Members
Posts: 5,311
Member No.: 1,155
Joined: September-8-03

From: Dallas, TX
Gender: Male
Politics: Conservative
Party affiliation: Independent



QUOTE(La Herring Rouge @ Nov 2 2008, 10:21 PM) *
What no one has pointed out (that I have noticed) is that there is plenty of subtle wealth redistribution to the top already in this country. There are numerous examples (and we don't even have to talk about the bailout) of government complicity or complacency in support for large corporations doing their business. The have done so with policy AND financial reward.


What is usually forgotten in this argument is that it is the workers that are the primary beneficiary of government support for large corporations. Consider the Chrysler bailout years ago...was that done for Iacocca or for the tens of thousands of workers who would have lost their jobs? The workers, of course. Ditto for the current bailout--note that those firms that received bailouts had executive compensation immediately slashed. Governments (usually state, actually, not federal, but that's not really relevant to the discussion here) give corporations tax cuts to encourage them to locate or grow their business there. They do this because of the jobs this creates. Not the one or two jobs at the top, but the thousands and thousands of jobs below that. They also do it because once that business grows, it makes more money, and therefore contributes more in taxes. Further, the money all these workers then spend contribute to every other business in the area, thereby improving their business, and further increasing the tax base.

FWIW.. just heard on CNBC this morning that studies show the every billion dollars the government invests in business creates between 30,000 and 45,000 jobs.

QUOTE
There are literally hundreds of examples of taxpayers' money being sent directly to large corporations in the form of tax breaks, R&D handouts, and no-bid contracting. The Cato Institute has a history of the business-government relationship.


Again, what is missing here is the tie-in with the workers. Would you prefer that government NOT assist business, thereby costing hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs?


QUOTE
Trickle Down was as much a wealth redistribution method as is Obama's plan.


This is true. Note that both Turnea and I have stated that taxation is geared for income redistribution--this is the case regardless of who it is distributed to.

We have been supporting this economy from the top for generations and, yes, we have done quite well.

QUOTE
However, we can still debate the point. We cannot, however, continue claiming that Obama is the only one who wants to redistribute. Perhaps you mightn ot like his choice of recipient, but that is a different debate.


No one is claiming that.. Turnea and I have, in fact, been making exactly the opposite case. However, it is also clear that Obama wants to redistribute more than McCain, and he makes no attempt to say anything else. That is the essence of the entire 'Joe the Plumber' discussion. No one can make the claim that Obama doesn't think we need to redistribute more than we have been currently. Obama states as much himself. As you say here, we can discuss the pros and cons of this--but it is really pointless to debate whether or not this is the case.

FWIW, as I stated in Turnea's excellent thread on the merits of each candidates tax plans, although I am philosophically against such increased redistribution, I think that Obama's plan is fairly modest in that regard (just a few percentage points), and I don't think it would have any dire consequences. Obama does a good job of explaining (spinning? you make the call smile.gif ) this, by stating that we're in tough economic times, and those that have the ability to contribute more should bear more of the burden. That's probably a good argument. I do think that Obama's plan to increase corporate taxation might have problems. While I think a good debate can be made as to the merits of Trickle Down as it applies to the 'rich', I think it is a much harder debate to make when it comes to corporations. The 'rich' have all sorts of things they can do with their money that don't necessarily trickle down, at least immediately. Corporations, on the other hand, are much more limited in their options. That extra cash will usually be spent in improving the business, making it grow. If not, then simply having the cash on hand improves its financial stability, and usually therefore increases its stock price, thereby increasing the wealth of all of its shareholders. These effects are much more direct and immediate than they are for any extra cash the 'rich' might have, and I think should be discussed separately from taxation on individuals

QUOTE(BikerDad)
Hobbes, likewise, suffers from having seized on the term and utterly debased it.


Utterly debased it? Please indicate how and where? I think you're reading things into my statement that I never said. As Turnea states, both major parties are proponents of this.. it is essentially the entire purpose and foundation of our government and tax system. If stating so is debasement, then your issue is with our system, not my statements.

This post has been edited by Hobbes: Nov 4 2008, 03:46 PM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

3 Pages V  < 1 2 3
Reply to this topicStart new topic
2 User(s) are reading this topic (2 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

  
Go to the top of the page - Simple Version Time is now: May 21st, 2018 - 10:59 AM
©2002-2010 America's Debate, Inc.  All rights reserved.