The Spread of Socialism

There’s been a lot of use of the word “socialism” to describe Obama’s tax policy, but as Matt Yglesias notes, it’s a pretty unremarkable position for a Democrat to hold.

Conservatives have really convinced themselves — or at least a lot of them have — that bog-standard left-of-center bromides about progressive taxation and broadly shared prosperity are, in fact, a form of wild-eyed radicalism.

Nevertheless, you can see what shape future conservative resistance will take:

Registered republican in San Francisco, 26. Imagine that. Rare breed.

What I don’t see discussed too much and what confuses me, is like a lot of people, the spread the wealth comment and Obama’s proposals are very troubling.

What scares me the most is what is going unquestioned, “I’m going to give 95% of America a tax cut”. Again, if, and I’m not sure what the real perecentage [sic] is, but if 25% of America already isn’t paying taxes, or if it’s 40%, then 40% of America is already paying taxes, then how are their taxes getting cut? For me, that passes a progressive tax system (which I don’t believe in anyways but can definitely be argued intelligently that it makes sense and is good for society as a whole) and moves into “redistirubtion of welath [sic]”

That’s where for me, spreading the wealth takes a different meaning, more than progressivism. It moves into the gov’t deciding on who gets some money, and why do they deserve this money? As someone who works hard, it’s a concept I just don’t understand, giving people “tax cuts” that don’t pay taxes.

But, look, if you actually believe that a progressive tax system “can definitely be argued intelligently”, then this argument is just stupid. No matter how much Republicans want to believe that those exempt from Federal income tax don’t actually pay taxes, you simply can’t change the fact they do. According to a report by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, low-income Americans “pay federal payroll and excise taxes as well as state and local taxes.” What’s more, payroll taxes like Social Security and Medicare are actually regressive in nature as the “average tax rate falls as income rises.” Finally, excise taxes compromise a disproportionately higher amount of low-income workers’ wages than those of the wealthy. To suggest then, that 40 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes is just moronic.

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