Sunday, January 26, 2003

I've already posted this article one before, but I could not help but want to post it again since it's so relevant to my post righteous recent post.

Income Redistribution, GOP-Style - The House takes money from the poor and spends it on the rich. By Timothy Noah, August 6, 2002


After six years of GOP control, the average Republican district in 2000 was getting $612 million more in federal money than the average Democratic district, the computer analysis found. In 1995, the last year Democrats controlled the budget process in the House, the average Democratic district got $35 million more.


What the AP is describing, then, appears to represent not only a spending shift from Democratic congressional districts to Republican ones, but also, and more significant, a spending shift from low-income people to middle- and upper-income people. The GOP, it seems, is every bit as bent as the Democrats on redistributing income; the only difference is that while Democrats want to redistribute income downward, to the poor, Republicans want to redistribute it upward, to the rich. This impulse is particularly offensive when you consider that even before the Republicans recaptured the House, entitlement spending tended (improbable as it sounds) to favor the wealthy.Here is how Neil Howe and Phillip Longman put it in a 1992 article for the Atlantic Monthly (their source was the Congressional Budget Office):

[T]he most affluent Americans actually collect slightly more from the welfare state than do the poorest Americans. … [In 1991,] U.S. households with incomes over $100,000 received, on average, $5,690 worth of federal cash and in-kind benefits, while the corresponding figure for U.S. households with incomes under $10,000 was $5,560. Quite simply, if the federal government wanted to flatten the nation's income distribution, it would do better to mail all its checks to random addresses. The problem is not that poverty programs don't target the poor. More than 85 percent of the benefits from AFDC, SSI, and food stamps do indeed go to households with incomes under $20,000. But their impact is neutralized by all the other programs, which tilt the other way and are, of course, much greater in size.

Whenever I read this article I can't help but think of Bush in a blue dress and ruby red slippers, with the entire religious right, Dick Cheney, Gingrich and every noteable GOPer of the last ten years behind him. A Fairy that looks like Pat Robertson hoovers over Dubya, who is squeezing his eyes and clicking his heels, pleading with the American public on television to believe what he has to say by saying it over and over again....

"There is no class warfare, there is no class warfare, there is no class warfare...."


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