LJWorld.com weblogs Loyal Opposition

A Redistribution Primer


One of the basic tenants of Mr. Obama’s campaign was a more equitable distribution of income. The process to be used to achieve this goal was not presented in detail at that time. After almost four years I would contend we can see the outlines of his approach.

The Democrats created in Mr. Obama’s first year in office a 1 trillion a year imbalance in our annual federal national budget which continues into the foreseeable future. Many Democrats call for continued spending at that level of GDP or perhaps a further expansion to 25% of GDP. It is my contention that the only way we can pay for that is to soak the upper half of the middle class because they are the group paying the taxes now. No rationale increase on the wealthy would cover an increase so large.

It is also my contention that for the most part there is no such thing as a “Bush Tax Cut” .The current tax rates on the people who pay most of our federal taxes (upper middle class) are in excess of what they were paying pre the Reagan tax cuts. While presumably ending those cuts would also increases taxes on the rest of us, in fact the expansion of deductions since Reagan means the near 50% paying little or no federal income tax now will see no increase. Letting the “Bush Tax Cuts” expire will tax the upper middle class at a rate unique in our history (except wars), exempt about half the tax payers from federal taxes and barely nick the rich.

I further argue that the ACA is an exemplar for all future broad based entitlements (Social Security and Medicare) where they will be heavily means tested. The ACA will be and most other federal programs are already. Note that part of the rational for the $ 600 billion in cuts to Medicare is a change in the means te4sting formula. This enhanced means testing on broad based national programs will devastate the upper half of the middle class, expand entitlements significantly to the lower half and essentially hold harmless the rich.

In short through tax and entitlement policy the Obama administration is relentlessly moving toward redistributing income from the upper half of the middle class to the lower half of the middle class while avoiding most impact on their rich donor set? In fact his administration may well smother any ambition to make more than about $50K as the government in one form or another will take most of it in excess to that level. Only the already really rich (>.1M) will still have incentive to achieve.


Alyosha 5 years, 4 months ago

I missed where the President said that "one of the basic tenants of [his] campaign was a more equitable distribution of income."

Kindly point to the specific quote wherein he says this, either in the campaign prior to the 2008 or as President, and / or while campaigning for the 2012 election.

Also, you say that you argue various points ("I further argue that the ACA is an exemplar for all future broad based entitlements"), but you don't; what you make are simply assertions. Assertions are certainly part of an argument, but the necessary elements making it an actual argument include evidence and warrants for your assertions.

Lastly, a bit of historicizing your understanding of the tax code in America would help. For instance:

Under President Eisenhower:

Marginal Tax Rate on Regular Income over $400,000: 92% - 91% Maximum Tax Rate on Long-Term Capital Gains: 25%

Under President Obama:

Marginal Tax Rate on Regular Income: over $372,950 - over 388,350: 35% Maximum Tax Rate on Long-Term Capital Gains: 15%

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/eisenhower-obama-wealthiest-americans-pay-taxes-193734550--abc-news.html

If you're going to make the claim that Obama represents some mortal danger for the United States based on his tax policies, you'll also then (morally, ethically) have to concede that President Eisenhower was even more of a danger — and yet here we are. The United States was not destroyed under Eisenhower, obviously.

This reads more like a set of hyperbolic assumptions about Obama and the vast majority of Americans who work for a living (they who the Republicans used to believe "are America" -- see http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/elevate-them-guns-a-little-lower/2012/sep/4/labor-is-the-united-states/) -- and statements based on imaginary perceptions — hardly the best way to create public policy in a nation of 300 million people of diverse views and perspectives.

That's why we must rely on evidence-based policy and ethical / moral argumentation to build consensus, not rely on fuzzy imaginings and distortions.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 4 months ago

Please do educate the rest of us: what are the actual paid taxes by those tax brackets during the Eisenhower and Obama administrations respectively?

Armstrong 5 years, 4 months ago

It's always amazed me when the lefties dont agree with an idea they find some of the most obscure points to pick apart instead of looking at the big picture, but that's always been the problem with the left, kind of political/ lifestyle A.D.D.

Looking at the big picture of Barry's wealth redistribution scam that he did indeed pimp during his campaign he has failed (again ). We hear daily the number of people on welfare at record levels. 23 million out of work and a stagnant economy ( still ).

If Barry were to be successful at his redistribuition scam I would ask our clueless leader, Hey Barry - show me the money. Unfortunately at that point he would have to ponder Stimulus money1 and or 2 ? Solyndra ? ....

Alyosha 5 years, 4 months ago

This is an example of a worthless comment that adds nothing to an adult discussion and reveals an inability to ethically or morally argue a point. Confronted with evidence that certain tax policies under Obama are more traditionally conservative than under Eisenhower , the commenter has nothing to add but meaningless slogans ("lefties," "redistribution scam"), lame high-school-level use of someone's nick-name, as though that's supposed to reveal something about the President ("Barry"), or race-tinged verbal ticks ("pimped"). Like Clint Eastwood, Armstrong is out-of-control venting emotionally against something that exists only in his own head. All that's missing is the empty chair to go along with the intellectual, moral and ethical emptiness of this comment.

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

I did none of those things - how about some substance to support he is not heading in the direction I contend.

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

  1. During the 2008 campaign Mr. Obama in an exchange with the infamous “Joe the Plumber” opined “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s going be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody, and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody." I know there has been a lot of argument about the highlighted portion. I interpret it as support for redistribution. There is also the 2001 radio program but the redistribution discussed there was narrowly focused on essentially compensation for slavery. My blog my interpretation.

  2. My blog is not a fact as it assumes actions not yet taken. It does explain why I believe 3each of my three points are plausible. I challenge you to offer another approach to paying for the 1 trillion annual shortfall. The ACA is proposed to be means tested.. The administration proposes to means test my TRICARE and my prescription benefits.

  3. You are absolutely right in your numbers however I wrote the upper middle class ($69K to about $120K) income. See http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2012/aug/24/another-tax-deception-the-bush-tax-incre/ We all know the higher income people made out like bandits.

pizzapete 5 years, 4 months ago

I thought the "spread the wealth around" comment was some communist plan to get me to share things with my neighbors, too. Now that you've put the entire quote up, I read it a little differently. It seem he's saying that when everyone, the poor included, have better paying jobs and more money to spend, it benefits us all. When the working poor have more opportunity for well paying jobs and have greater earnings they're able to spread the extra money they have to hire a plumber, buy new clothes for their kids, or go out for a meal. When we working people buy a product or pay for a service, we're all spreading the wealth.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago


And, it makes a lot more sense than "trickle down", since most folks at the bottom, and lower middle will in fact spend their money, thus circulating it in the economy.

I give Moderate his props for including the entire quote, though, rather than just the highlighted portion, as many on the right like to do.

Interestingly, I read that Joe the Plumber, after thinking about it for a bit, came to support Obama's policies. I think he realized that personally, he'd do better with them after all.

chootspa 5 years, 4 months ago

No. He's a tea party congressional candidate who will undoubtedly want to cash in on his 15 minutes again.

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

Do not disagree. The question is where does that wealth come from? Do we grow the economy for everyone or as I contend take from one group and give to another.

Alyosha 5 years, 4 months ago

Obama is more Republican than most of the anti-Obama commenters on LJWorld.com.

From a Republican party platform: "America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper." Compare to Obama's "My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s going be good for everybody."

President Eisenhower: "Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country—they are America."

It's hard for some commenters to admit, but Obama is more of a Republican than the current national party and its supporters (including the owner of this newspaper web site).

Since Obama's policies are to the right, politically speaking, of the Republicans under Eisenhower and even Nixon, in terms of economics, one must look for other reasons why certain Americans' powers of reason and understanding fail them when confronted with a President who is more to the right than Eisenhower or Nixon.

It's unfortunate that so many people, including the owner of this paper, engage in and enflame a groundless, irrational hysteria, instead of calmly and reasonably getting outside their own fantasies and seeing the world as it actually is.

What will they do when a majority of Americans again duly elect Obama as president of the United States?

One hopes they will rationally reflect on how hysterical their outbursts have been. But I doubt it.

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

Nobody explained how we are going to pay for that trillion per year?

Nobody acknowledged that the upper middle are paying more than before the Bush tax cuts

Go Obama.

Anybody in the upper middle class or hoping to get their who vote for Obama deserve what they get - a soft $50K cap on their income.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

A combination of higher tax revenue and lower spending is the only way out of our mess.

Here's the problem in a nutshell:

Is it ok with you if we raise your taxes? How about if we cut government spending that benefits you, directly or indirectly?

I don't understand your comments about the upper middle class tax rates - please supply a source?

It's been analyzed, and Romney/Ryan's plan would decrease tax rates on the rich and increase them on the middle class.

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

I provided a source in the form of a blog that provides a source at the IRS web site. You can do your own web search.

How about we atart by cutting new government spending in the last two to three years. Then we move on to0 cutting spending on nice to have things like "green" companies. Then we start to phase back all the entitlements. Then we raise taxes on those who do not pay them. Then we raise taxes on the rich so that the progressive system is uniformly progressive and not vindictive toward the middle class (wrote blog on that).

The point is that I have made all these points before and sources my arguments. Your keep coming back demanding a source. You have never argued with a source I have provided.

The issue is simple. To give you and your fellow traveler more we have to raise spending. To keep from going bankrupt w heave to raise taxes. We only tax half the people and the tax system is biased in favor of the rich. There is no way I will even agree to your tax increase and cuts until you lay out whose taxes you want to raise and how much.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

What spending?

All spending benefits somebody, and nobody wants their pet spending cut.

Would you agree to having your benefits cut, to help balance the budget? If not, why do you expect others to do the same?

I'm not going to do a web search to try to figure out what you're talking about - if you have a specific source that provides evidence of your claim, I'll be glad to look at it. So far, I'm not even sure what your claim is, in fact.

Comments like "fellow travelers" are unnecessary, insulting, and serve to degrade conversations - please refrain from them in discussions with me, if you want me to discuss things with you.

I've said several times that we need to cut spending, so I don't know what you're talking about there either.

I'd generally support the debt commission's suggestions, which include a variety of tax increases and spending cuts - would you? That information is readily available on line.

You seem rather obsessed with taxes - does your argument really just boil down to "Don't tax me more!" If so, think about how nobody wants to be taxed more, and then you get to the problem.

It's easy to say "Raise somebody else's taxes" and "Cut somebody else's spending", but if everybody does that, then we never make any progress.

Alceste 5 years, 4 months ago


HUMPHREY: "We have forgotten that we are our brother’s keeper. We have forgotten about each other. We are the victims of neglect. We have neglected cities and farms and people and Ch*ldren and the elderly. And we have had as the measure of our success that those who already have too much shall have some more. That’s right – rather than those who have too little shall get enough! And the real test of.....if you please, of a man of spirit, of faith, is that he sees to it that those who have too little get enough".

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

Almost half my federal tax and most of my state tax goes to help other people. This is a very cheap shot.

Alceste 5 years, 4 months ago

Oh really? What % of said paid tax has gone to finance illegal wars, 1%'er like lifestyles, $1,000,000.00 2nd, 3rd, and 4th homes; deals; corporate entitlement grants; blah, blah, blah.

Moderate, you claim you're impartial, but when one gets right down to it you're nothing more than those who prefer to blame the poor during hard times. shrug

And while we're at it, when are we gonna cut the entitlements going out via DoD and VA payments? What % of the budget goes to pay for the after effects of ill thought out transgressions into Iraq and Afghanistan.....not to mention all the little secret wars being fought throughout Central America, SE Asia, and all points in between?

In hard times, Kansans like to blame the poor. shrug

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for your characterization. Name calling gets old on here. And to answer your note the other half of my federal return goes in part for wars. - so what??

The rest of your diatribe is about capitalism - in which you claim to have amply participated. Sorry you did not make it to the 1%.

Alceste 5 years, 4 months ago

what a victim eyes rolling Nobody's called you any names on here that I can see or determine, including Alceste.

One lesson Alceste took home from Uncle Sam back in 1972 is and was this concept of disinformation. Alceste learned that lesson really well. Perhaps Moderate did not? Alceste is not a 1%er; not by any stretch of the imagination.......but what Alceste does have is none of your business. One thing, Alceste didn't sink the glitter into a life style which includes expensive cars and houses and clothes and fancy restaurants, etc., etc., etc. Travel was the one vice. "Don't buy furniture......travel....".

It's really funny, Moderate, how not a single solitary post on any of your "blogs" EVER go after the real problem(s) which include not only the income and wealth tax structure of this Country but Moderate's seeming inability to recoginize Moderate is...well.....wealthy. Too, Moderate never unleashes his pen on the monied. No. That pen is reserved for the bottom 25% of the people of this Nation wealth wise. Why is that? They ain't got no skin left to put in the game Alceste shall assert. It's been beaten off of them by the floggings of Mr. Charlie. Too the federal poverty level for a family of four is $23,050.00. That number is so low relative to actual costs and expenses it's an obscenity.

Nothing will be accomplished by this "blogging" Moderate, although it is cheap psycho-therapy I suppose. I just wonder if Moderate spends as much time emailing, faxing, and phoning the rubes of Kansas in D.C. as Moderate opines here at LJWorld.com land. Far more functional to lay it out, day after day after day to the "elected officals" in D.C.

George Lippencott 5 years, 4 months ago

MrA aays: Moderate, you claim you're impartial, but when one gets right down to it you're nothing more than those who prefer to blame the poor during hard times.

Moderate Responds: ,Need I say more.

The rest is your standard trash continuing that argument that I am biased against the poor. IMHO I have written far more accusing the riuch of stealing all the chickens than I have accusing "the poor" of stealing any chickens. I have observed there is abuse of our social safety net programs. I have observed that almost half of us pay no federal income tax. I have observed that people that do not pay for things they receive often do not value them. If that is being negative toward the poor the word negative does not mean what I learned it does.

We are done with this. If you waste more cycles you will be doing so in a vacuum.

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