Monday, November 03, 2008

What he said...

As usual, my efforts to express my opinions on a complicated subject (especially during harvest) left much to be desired.  The yipping of "socialist, socialist!" completely sidetracked my longstanding struggle to find a way of counteracting what I believe is a significant and growing problem: the inequality of wealth and income in the most democratic of countries - ours.

When Sen. Obama had his now famous run-in with Joe T. Plumber, I think he was speaking to this idea as well.  And he didn't get his point across either, IMHO.

Michael Kinsley gets it right in the latest issue of Time.  Here is the core thought:

We may disagree on how much to spread around and how to go about it. We all tend to think that it's someone else's wealth that needs to be spread around and that it ought to be spread in our direction. But the principle that the unequal distribution of wealth is a legitimate concern and government policies should mitigate it has been part of American democracy since at least the New Deal. In fact, it is a commonplace that the moderate wealth-spreading of the New Deal saved American democracy. Today collecting checks from people and issuing checks to other people--or the same people--is the government's main domestic activity.

Although it was an off-the-cuff remark and one that Obama probably regrets, he actually put it well, avoiding the suggestion of envy or class war, which are the usual accusations about such talk. Spreading it around is "good for everybody," he says. And who disagrees? Or would you like to live behind locked gates and hire guards to protect your family from kidnapping, as in places where they spread it around even less than here? [More]

This is great communication, and captures much of what I was trying to get down. Good thing I don't write for a living - huh? 

But unless corn prices show some life, it may be my best game. 


Anonymous said...

Curious, where do you see yourself here? Among the wealthy? Or is that reserved for the Wall Street CEO's making multi-millions annually? I suspect your personal net worth is several orders of magnitude above the average Joe's. Be careful what you wish for.

To your credit however, you have been consistent regarding ag's largess at the public trough. Elimination of that waste would be something most support.

Anonymous said...

I have never received a paycheck from a poor trickles down not up.

It is truly not the redistribution of wealth be the redistribution of income. I think I would rather decide where my income gets distributed rather then the gov.

Bill Harshaw said...

Actually, I think Jefferson's embrace of the yeoman farmer is relevant here, both in terms of believing the best society was one of equals and in designing government interventions to achieve that goal. (I'm thinking of the Northwest Ordinance.)