Fact Checker Debunks Attacks on Obama and Redistribution of Wealth

I debunked the claims being made about Obama wanting to redistribute the wealth in a post earlier today. Those who read it earlier might want to check back as I have updated it with links to several other bloggers commenting, as well as responses from one of Obama’s economic advisers. The Fact Checker at The Washington Post has now looked into this and finds the charges being made against Obama are untrue. They conclude by saying, “The McCain camp is wrong to suggest that the Illinois senator advocated an ‘wealth redistribution’ role for the Supreme Court in his 2001 interview.”

Since my earlier round up of comments on this story, Joe Klein has also weighed in:

Well, we’ve seen this sort of thing the entire campaign,occasionally from the Obama camp, relentlessly from McCain. Today’s edition of scrofulous mudslinging–aided and abetted by a banner headline from the Drudge Scourge–involves a wildly inaccurate reading of remarks that Barack Obama made in a 2001 radio interview. It turns out that he wasn’t criticizing the Supreme Court for its failure to “redistribute” wealth. He was saying the exact opposite: that the Supreme Court wasn’t the way to go. He was saying that political power was the only real way to make decisions about the distribution of taxation. Obama’s sentiment is, of course, a wildly radical notion–or, at least it was, before the American Revolution.

To state the obvious, once again: We have had a redistribution of wealth, upward, during the Reagan era. Taxes on work, a.k.a. payroll taxes, have increased. Taxes on wealth, the upper margins of the income tax plus capital gains plus estate taxes, have decreased. To call Obama a socialist because he wants to redress this imbalance is as accurate as calling McCain an oligarch because he doesn’t.

Now that McCain’s been called out on this, you figure he’ll stop using it, right? Yeah, sure. After all, this is mild compared to the trash going out in those robo-calls. You wonder how McCain returns to the land of the living after this campaign is over–after all, his voice and vote, and his pre-campaign moderation, would be valuable on issues like immigration and global warming. There must be some sort of political detox, right?

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