Originally Published: July 25, 2011 9:57 p.m.
In several letters to the editor, Republican-leaning writers remarked that spending on social programs is an attempt by the Democratic Party to redistribute income.
Actually, Ronald Reagan is the father of modern income redistribution. When he fired the air controllers and with that same stroke, broke the back of their union, he marked the beginning of the end for the middle class.
Reagan's bailing the savings and loan industry out of financial trouble was yet another example of income redistribution. Taxpayers footed the bill for not only the principal, but also the high interest typically paid to investors of risky investments. All the trouble started with deregulation. Sound familiar? This is not just ancient history.
The recent fiasco, in which taxpayers bailed out big corporations, represents the most blatant form of income redistribution. Corporate managers never thanked the public but instead showed their disdain by giving themselves their usual huge bonuses. Robin Hood would be shocked.
Tea Partiers and Republicans seem to have a one-agenda focus: "cut the deficit." In their fixation with this, they are willing to sacrifice middle and lower classes via the seniors, the unemployed, the sick and children by cutting public programs and education. Do they think these people will simply disappear? The deficit needs to be addressed, but putting more people out of work would be counterproductive in these hard times.
Republicans, at this juncture, are refusing to raise taxes on the wealthy under the pretense that to do so would cause employment stagnation. What do they think we have now? This thinking is shortsighted and positively Hooverian. Franklin Roosevelt was able to pull the country out of the Great Depression by putting money into the hands of the working class through social programs and spending on public projects. To do the same now would not be income redistribution; it would simply be an attempt to recover what was lost - a stronger middle class and nation.