October 29, 2008

Redistribution Obama Is Opposed To

Marc Comtois

Well, this struck me as apropos of so many things. Sorry if you've seen it elsewhere:


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Posted by: Monique at October 29, 2008 8:24 PM

Here's what I don't understand:

When the richest or second richest man in America, Warren Buffet, with a net worth of 50 billion dollars or more, agrees with Barack Obama, that it's unfair that billionaires pay a lower tax percentages than their own secretaries do, then why do working, middle class and upper middle class people object to the rich paying more in taxes, and thus, "spreading the wealth"?

Considering the USA has the widest gap between rich and poor in the entire industrialized world, the idea of "spreading the wealth" seems pretty realistic at this time.

Here are some statistics to consider:

The following figures are from 2004, so keep in mind that the wealth disparaties have likely gotten even more pronounced since then:

According to this table here:


The richest 1% of Americans own 37% of stocks.

The richest 10% of Americans own 80% of stocks.

The next 10% of Americans own 12% of stocks.

The next 20% of all Americans only own 7% of stocks.

And the bottom 60% of Americans only own 2.5% of all stocks.

Is it really fair or just that 80% of all stocks are owned by just 10% of Americans, and 60% of all Americans barely own any stock at all, especially considering that corporations have to harness the labor of huge numbers of workers, many of whom never get to equitably share in the fruits of their labors?

Then, from this PDF document here:


We can observe the following facts:

In 2001:

The richest 1% of Americans own 43% of all stock in the USA.

The richest 1% of Americans own 33% of all the wealth in the USA.

The poorest 50% of Americans own just 1% of all the wealth in the USA.

From 1979 to 2003:

Incomes for families making over $170,000 grew by 75%.

Incomes for families making $98,000 - $169,000 grew by 51%.

Incomes for families making $65,000 - $98,000 grew by 26%.

Incomes for families making $42,000 - $65,000 grew by 15%.

Incomes for families making $24,000 - $42,000 grew by only 8%.

Incomes for families making less than $24,000 shrunk by 2%.

Median Household Net Worth By Race in 2001:

Latino: $11,500

African American: $19,000

White: $121,000

Net worth of families:

Richest 10%: $3.1 Million

Next 15%: $526,000

Next 25%: $185,000

Next 25%: $47,000

Bottom 25%: negative $1,400

So, as you can see, the rich have gotten richer, and the poor have gotten poorer, and these statistics are only through 2001 and 2003.

Since then income disparaties have likely gotten worse, which is why Obama wants to raise taxes on corporations and families making over $250,000 per year.

Sounds fair and equitable to me.

Posted by: Erik at October 29, 2008 8:55 PM

This cartoon is much to do about nothing just like the attempts to fog the primary issues, character assignations by association, heavily negative and the first I’ve ever heard of innuendos of communism campaigning association in a presidential campaign which is driving more people away from the GOP and stirring up the White Supremacist skin heads. Is this the direction the GOP; McCain and Palin is heading I want no part of it!
Face facts, McCain was out smarted by Obama. He gets to keep all donations up to and over the $84 million limit without redistribution of his wealth.
“Jun 19, 2008
By John Whitesides and Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Barack Obama said on Thursday he would reject public financing of his campaign against Republican John McCain, reversing an earlier stance and positioning himself to outspend McCain in the White House race.
Obama said in a video message to supporters he would refuse $84 million in public funds available for the November general election. He is the first U.S. presidential candidate to bypass the system since it was created after the Watergate scandal in the mid-1970s.
The move drew immediate condemnation from McCain, who countered by announcing he would take the public funds -- hours after saying he would reevaluate his stance in light of Obama's decision.
If Obama had taken public financing, he would have been barred from taking additional donations and limited to spending $84 million in the two months between the Democratic convention and the November 4 election.”

Posted by: Ken at October 29, 2008 9:13 PM

Marc, perhaps you haven't noticed, as busy as you are surfing for clever cartoons, but the tax system is designed to redistribute wealth. Every president of modern times, including the Almighty Reagan, supported the federal tax system. This whole redistribution argument demonstrates the right's lack of legitimate argument.

Time to admit that the last eight years have been a disaster and that the McCain-Palin campaign has been even worse. Go off to the wilderness for a few years, decide that theocracy is not a viable political philosophy in the US, and come back in a few years with a grown up platform and candidate.

Posted by: Pragmatist at October 29, 2008 10:03 PM


The % of students getting a 3.0+ grade point average is not evenly distributed by race or income level.

The % of Olympic athletes is not evenly distributed by race or income level.

Also, citing that the net worth of the richest 10% is a lot higher than the poorest 10% is not exactly powerful stuff.

But most importantly, your analysis takes effort and achievement out of the equation. I believe those should be part of any 'fairness' equation.


Of course the tax system is designed to redistribute wealth. Duh. The issue is to what extent should there be redistribution. For example Canada and UK redistribute differently than we do. It is you who need to learn the differences in economic philosophies. And then consider the successes of full socialist economies - Cuba, China, former USSR, Vietnam versus that ugly system called capitalism.

Posted by: msteven at October 29, 2008 10:25 PM

" And then consider the successes of full socialist economies - Cuba, China, former USSR, Vietnam versus that ugly system called capitalism."

That's exactly the point.

And seeing that a full socialist economy is so "successful", why would we edge in that direction by partially implementing socialism?

Posted by: Monique at October 29, 2008 10:38 PM

>why would we edge in that direction by partially implementing socialism?


Let's not forget that a large part of the electorate has graduated from public schools and colleges which, over the past thirty years, have steadily decreased the teaching of objective history, displaced by politically correct histrionics.

Posted by: Tom W at October 29, 2008 11:43 PM

There has been a long-term conservative agenda of restricting entitlement programs, like Social Security and Medicare, to the poor by so-called "means testing."

In other words, conservatives wanted to give money to some people with lower incomes -- indeed, because of their lower incomes, presumably paid by tax revenue collected from people with incomes higher than the beneficiaries of means-tested programs. So, how is that different from redistribution of wealth?

Check out HonestPartisan for more details


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 30, 2008 12:25 PM

OK, so there is redistribution of wealth based on our current tax and economic system. So what is the issue?That a McCain administration will cease it and th US will become a tax-free economy?

Posted by: msteven at October 30, 2008 2:30 PM

It is not the fact that Sen. Obama wants to raise taxes that is the problem. It is what he wants to do with the money that is. If he had said that he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy in order to pay down the national debt or rebuild our crumbling infrastructure therefore putting more people to work, there would not be much of an outcry. But when he says he wants to raise some peoples taxes so he can "spread the wealth around", that is what scares a lot of people. We all know that the wealthy don't pay their fair share of taxes due to all the loopholes and deductions they get. Large corporations pass on the taxes to the consumer in the form of higher prices. If McDonald's taxes go up, so do their prices. Who pays the taxes? The middle and lower income earners. Does anyone think that Warren Buffet is buying his kids Happy Meals? The average net worth of a US Senator is $59 million! Does anyone think they will raise the taxes on themselves and their friends? If Sen. Obama is elected, he will do what all politicians have done. He will say that now that he has access to new info that he didn't have before being elected president, he can't keep his promises.

Posted by: Chris at October 30, 2008 4:11 PM

Of course he is not.

But this is where there seems to be a real disconnect. Senator Obama and others speak as though no redistribution presently occurs. Yet the US tax code already facilitates some serious re-distribution of wealth and has done so from the beginning.

Posted by: Monique at October 30, 2008 4:25 PM

Msteven wrote:

"The % of students getting a 3.0+ grade point average is not evenly distributed by race or income level.

The % of Olympic athletes is not evenly distributed by race or income level."

E: The difference is,that most students and olympic athletes do not achieve their results by riding on the collective labor of others, while the wealthy stockholders and ceo's of our major corporations do.

In fact, most stockholders do no work at all for the corporation, except for owning a paper interest in the corporation at which thousands or millions of people slave away at barely subsistence wages, to earn the idle stockholders larger and larger profits.

Companies like Wal Mart, for example, work huge numbers of employees at minimum wage, without benefits or medical coverage, to make their shareholders, and particularly the multi-billionaire Walton family, richer and richer, pooling wealth far beyond their ability to every personally spend.

Americans fought very hard to resist the predatory robber barons, who wanted to be free to work people six days a week, 10-12 hours a day, for very low wages, and bullying, intimidating and even mass murdering those workers who organized for more humane working conditions and wages, such as what Rockefeller did when his private security company murdered his striking miners... men, women and children, at the Ludlow Massacre:


The USA has a history of exploitative labor practices, from large scale slavery, to the inequities of the robber barons, all the way up to our present day corporations like Wal Mart.

Americans fought and died for the right to organize, and for better and more human working conditions, hours and pay, and for us to now besmirch their legacy, to more eagerly ingest and regurgitate the propaganda put out by the wealthy, the corporations, and their bought politicians in government, is beneath us a supposedly free and independent people.

At some point we and our fellow citizens have to learn to think for ourselves, and refuse to defend or promote the fleecing and exploitation of ourselves and our fellow Americans, by rapacious corporations, for the benefit of the aleady wealthy.

A fair nation would insist that corporations that grow rich on the collective labor of others, be expected to share the fruits of that labor equitably amongst everyone who contributed to earning or generating it.

Wal Mart and other American corporations not only currently refuse to do so, but they also work to deny their workers the right to organize in unions and lobby for better hours, conditions and compensation.

That, to me, is unAmerican.

Posted by: Erik D. at October 30, 2008 4:48 PM

Erik D. said: "The difference is that most students and Olympic athletes do not achieve their results by riding on the collective labor of others, while the wealthy stockholders and CEO’s of our major corporations do."
----- But sports owners make money riding on the talent of their players. Sales managers make money based on the work done by others. Is that unfair? I believe my analogy is apropos because you are assuming that CEO’s and wealthy stockholders did not work their way to their positions.

The problems with most unions as they exist today are that they function like large corporations (which they truly are). They want the best of all possible worlds. They want to share in the success but not take any responsibility or share in the failure. In essence, they want their members to grow rich on the labor of others. Who would not want that? It is the culture of entitlement that is the problem and it is no longer limited to the CEO’s and stockholders. In their defense, they are taking the biggest risk, so why shouldn't they get the biggest reward?

Posted by: msteven at October 30, 2008 10:47 PM

Sports owners make money on the talent of their players, because that is their compensation for managing the team and it's operations.

Most wealthy stockholders don't do any work for the corporation at all, so they don't have any legitimate claim to a companies earnings.

Technically speaking, non-employee stockholders are parasites, because they do no work for the company, yet they make more than many of the corporations workers who toil for them every day.

When those who don't work, make more money than those who do work, that's the mark of an unjust and predatory economic system.

Posted by: Erik D. at October 31, 2008 9:48 AM

Most sports owners do not manage the team nor their operations. There are exceptions such as Al Davis. But most hire people, GM’s and others – managers/coaches who do ‘the work’. The ‘owner’ basically puts up the money and invests in the success of the team. In most cases, the people who invest in corporations have done their work in the past and the money they have earned they use to invest in the success of others. The reality is that without people willing to invest in businesses, there would be no need for workers. Do you think people on welfare, many of whom earn more than people who work are ‘parasites’?

Posted by: msteven at October 31, 2008 10:47 AM

Ok, if the owners don't manage the team, or otherwise contribute anything of value to it's operations, then maybe the fans, players, coaches and taxpayers should own the teams instead?

The argument for decades has been that people on welfare don't have any right to the fruits of others peoples labor, because they didn't earn it.

But that same argument also applies to the wealthy stock and bond holders of corporations, who don't do any work for the corporations, but just collect checks for doing nothing.

Yet their political mouthpieces in government try to convince the rest of us that it's the poor and sick on welfare, food stamps and medical programs that we should be outraged at.

Does that really make any sense?

Are we so brainwashed that we'll consent to the demonization of the poorest and weakest members of our society, while lionizing and justifying the massive exploitation and impoverishment of us all by the already rich and insatiably greedy?

I don't think so.

If you agree, then at some point, we have to decide to stop being props, tools and sockpuppets for the rich, and stop tolerating their continued economic and environmental sociopathology.

The strength of America was always it's large middle class. But now that middle class is being gradually decimated, and it's not the fault of the poor, but of the rich, who are extracting so much wealth into their own hands, that they are pushing the former middle class down into gradual poverty.

Do we really want to live in a country where there's only a tiny percentage of super rich, with the rest of the population being poor?

I hope not, but that's where things are headed unless some serious changes are made in the greed consciousness and worship of the wealthy that currently dominates the American mentality.

We, in the wealthiest and reputedly greatest country in the history of this planet, can do better.

Our founders fought for a country free of the shackles of economic exploitation that the wealthy European arisotcracy had kept our ancestors enslaved by, and here we are, not only allowing the rise of a new, wealthy, idle aristocracy to lord over us, but we actually promote THEIR interests, as if they were our own, which they are not.

I hope you will consider resisting and dissenting as the greedy and already wealthy seek to establish economic supremacy over the rest of us, on this newly evolving, soon to be global, neo-plantation.

Because the fact is, there is no freedom without economic freedom.

And the poorer we all get, the less free we become.

Posted by: Erik at October 31, 2008 3:12 PM

No way are we going to bridge this gap. I take your view as being against economic freedom, not for it. Your argument is basically the 'rich vs. poor' / class warfare argument that we should not allow people to get rich because the affects the poor. The poor are not exploited by the rich. Maybe 50 years ago in the early union days but now there are laws against such exploitation. You do not believe in individual ownership. You do not support investment in opportunities. The reality is that when business succeeds, it benefits everyone. Of course there are examples of greed and fraud. But those too exist in a socialistic economy. Those come from human nature, regardless of the economic system.

You are correct that our founders fought to be free of the exploitation of the European aristocracy. They fought for the opportunity to make their own way and be more independent of the intervening government that ruled over them. They fought for economic freedom. They fought for capitalism.

Posted by: msteven at October 31, 2008 4:49 PM

The unions have been decimated, and the jobs shipped overseas.

When slaveowners businesses succeeded, did everyone, including the slaves, benefit?

Not equitably, which is the whole point... equity... fairness... balance.

Btw, we don't have a capitalist economy.

We have a "mixed economy".

No president ever advocated pure economic freedom, not even Reagan.

Posted by: Erik D. at November 1, 2008 7:11 AM

The analogy between today's workers to slaves is absurd in many ways.

Unions are very from being decimated.

If you are calling us a mixed economy because there is some government regulation, then there are no pure capitalist economies in the World, yet there are/have been pure socialist ones like Cuba, former USSR, Vitenam. Do you see those as great examples of equity, fairness and balance?

Posted by: msteven at November 1, 2008 11:16 AM

Wal marts workers are essentially wage slaves living at barely subsistence level.

The only difference is, now the corporations don't have to pay to house, feed and clothe their workers... they put that burden on the workers, who likely buy their necessities at the neo-company store... Wal Mart.

Economically, this country is regressing, and disturbingly quickly.

Regarding Cuba, the USSR and Vietnam, I believe those countries are Communist, not Socialist, despite their names.

Posted by: Erik D. at November 1, 2008 11:52 AM

Regarding the unions, I can't speak definitively on that, because I don't know very much about it, but I know that Wal Mart doesn't allow their workers to unionize, and that a lot more companies are not paying their workers a living wage than ever before, something which I'm assuming is related to decreased union power and/or lack of unions.

There's a definite correlation between lack of unions and low wages.

Posted by: Erik D. at November 1, 2008 11:57 AM
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