by JS O’Brien
Vice-presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) ran into a buzzsaw of an interview from Barbara West of WFTV-TV, Channel 9, in Orlando, Fla on October 23. West is the wife of Wade West, a GOP political and media consultant, and her bias was evident as she made more than one statement of opinion, as though it were fact, then proceeded to ask a question related to that opinion/faux fact. The exchange making the rounds most often in the blogosphere is this one:
West: “You may recognize this famous quote: ‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.’ That’s from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around.”
Biden: “Are you joking? Is … is this a joke?”
Biden: “Is that a real question?”
West: “That’s a real question.”
Biden, of course, being caught by surprise, could say little that would be of much use on a television screen. He could have made the point that all taxation does, in some manner, spread wealth. Even soldiers are paid from tax dollars and, while they earn their pay, there’s no question that they are being paid from taxpayer’s wealth. Anyone being paid to serve taxpayers, from dog catchers to police, are part of a wealth spreading scheme of some sort.
What Biden should have done, had he not been blind-sided, was to make the point that all Obama is doing is adjusting the progressive income tax structure that was supported by none other than Adam Smith, the patron saint of free markets, and introduced to the US, originally, by Republican Abraham Lincoln. Later, the progressive income tax was supported so heavily by Republican Teddy Roosevelt that the Constitution was amended to accommodate the income tax, and Roosevelt made it clear, in a speech delivered in 1910, why he thought a progressive tax was the right way to go.
No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar’s worth of service rendered, not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective, a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.
When it comes to redistributing wealth, good ol’ Republican Teddy was pretty clear, wasn’t he? Maybe Teddy Roosevelt was a Marxist.
What about Republican Ronald Reagan, the modern patron saint of conservatism? Reagan was a big supporter of the earned income credit (EIC), a distribution from wealthy taxpayers to less wealthy ones, saying it is, “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.” Both Reagan and George Bush the First increased funding for the EIC. Are they both Marxists?
But perhaps the most effective response might have gone like something like this:
Barbara, I’m glad you asked that question, because words like “socialist” and “Marxist” are getting tossed around by people who are afraid of losing an election, hoping that these words will sway enough votes to get them into the White House, riding on a lie.
The fact is, Barbara, that if there is a socialist or Marxist in this race — and I don’t really believe there is — then it has to be Sarah Palin.
In Sarah Palin’s state of Alaska, every citizen gets a check from the government every year for doing absolutely nothing. Not for work. Not for anything they’ve earned. They get that check just for breathing and living in Alaska. Last year, that check amounted to $3,269 per taxpayer. And all for nothing.
Do you know where Alaska gets that money? They get it mostly from the oil companies that pump oil from the state. More than half of Alaska’s total tax revenues come from separation taxes, which are basically taxes on oil and minerals taken from the ground. Another 25% or so comes from corporate taxes. Because companies are paying so much, Alaska citizens pay no income or state sales taxes.
But they do get a check generated from the wealth those big companies generate. And there is no other state in the Union that doesn’t require either a sales or income tax from its citizens, yet gives them a check every year from money those citizens didn’t earn.
I don’t really think Sarah Palin is a Marxist, Barbara. I think that’s a word made up by desperate people who will do anything to win – even tear our country apart by demonizing their opponents. But if there is a Marxist in this race, Sarah Palin would have to be the one.
Maybe we could get Michele Bachmann to investigate Sarah for being un-American.