The latest attempt by the Romney campaign to move the 47% fiasco back toward a debate they think they can win is the sudden cry that President Obama believes in “redistribution,” and Republicans don’t. Well, sorry guys, but that’s just not true. Redistribution is actually the (bipartisan) American way, as this column I wrote during the payroll tax debate last December explains:
[T]he real taboo in American politics isn’t redistribution; it’s talking honestly about redistribution. Because as a matter of tradition and public policy we quietly redistribute massive sums each year.
We take billions from struggling young families earning $35,000 who can barely make ends meet, let alone save for college or retirement, and use the money to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors who earn more than $100,000. We do this even though those seniors are getting back far more than they ever paid into the system.
We take billions from high-income blue states like New York and California, and ship them via federal benefits and subsidies for farming and oil to poor red states like Alabama and Oklahoma. We do this even though the recipient states mostly vote Republican and moan endlessly about getting Uncle Sam off their backs.