Obamacare is designed to increase the health care coverage of Americans but doing so will, in part, yield something else: Wealth distribution.
The Affordable Care Act will raise taxes by $52,000 on average for families among the top 1 percent of earners in order to finance $250 to $2,000 worth of health benefits for the poorest half of American families by 2016, a recent report from the Tax Foundation has found.
The added taxes are just one way that the government is expected to increase measures that will likely reduce the wealth gap as Americans face added pressures from globalization and an aging population, according to The New York Times.
Though redistribution of wealth through Obamacare and other means may seem like a certainty in the coming years, it still holds quite a stigma. Following the release of Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent video, a 1998 speech at Loyola surfaced where Obama declared that he “believe[s] in [wealth] redistribution.” Romney subsequently attacked the stance, arguing that “it’s never been a characteristic of America.”
Even so, President Obama's predilection to "spread the wealth around," as he famously said during the run up to the 2008 elections, seems fairly measured compared to presidents of other nations. Take French President François Hollande, for example. He recently levied a 75 percent "supertax" on French earners making over 1 million euros, CNNMoney reports.
Regardless of a president's particular stance on redistributing wealth, however, the gap between the richest and poorest Americans still remains, though it's fluctuated during Obama's term as well as under President George W. Bush. In 2009, income inequality was reduced by more than a quarter, the largest reduction in at least 30 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. However, Businessweek points out that the decrease isn't much more substantial than in 2003, when the income gap fell by 24.8 percent under George W. Bush.
But in 2011, the Census Bureau found that income inequality had reached a new high. Indeed, to reach the same levels of equality seen during the beginning of Reagan’s presidency, $146,000 would need to be culled from each of the nation’s richest 6 million households, and redistributed in $7,700 payments to the remaining 95 percent of Americans, Businessweek points out.