In the course of discussing tax policy with an unlicensed Ohio plumber, Barack Obama suggested that “spreading the wealth around” a bit more would be good for the country. Obama was trying to explain why he wants to impose a modest tax increase on people who make more than $250,000 a year while reducing taxes on those making less than that amount. John McCain and his supporters immediately seized on Obama’s remark as a sign that Obama favors a socialist form of income redistribution.
The notion that a progressive income tax is a form of socialism is ludicrous. Since the time of Teddy Roosevelt, Americans have recognized that those who are flourishing most in society should pay a proportionately higher share of tax. After all, they are the ones benefiting most from the social stability and infrastructure that government provides.