11/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Wasn't it "Spreading the Wealth" Eight Years Ago with the Bush Tax Cuts for America's Wealthiest 1%?


In the final 15 days before the November 4th election, we're going to endlessly hear the phrase "Spread the Wealth," which seems to have quickly replaced "Drill Baby Drill" as the latest campaign mantra of Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. And we're going to hear an awful lot about how Sen. Barack Obama, his Democratic opponent, is a socialist, who middle and upper class taxpayers should fear as the tax Bogeyman. But this tactic is not only standard Republican hypocrisy, it's backfiring big-time. A look at all the major polls and the electoral map, where Obama is pulling away with leads in virtually every swing state, is a loud rejection by voters of McCain's various smear campaigns.

As any student of economics will tell you, there's absolutely no logic or truth in McCain/Palin's "spread the wealth" attacks on Obama. I've yet to meet a Republican who can explain how reversing the Bush tax cuts is spreading-the-wealth-socialism, while enacting them in the first place was not. I suppose, according to our friends on the right, that reducing the tax burden on the nation's wealthiest citizens and corporations is to be considered just and patriotic, while undoing them is an act if taxation heresy... worthy of old Karl Marx himself.

Was it not a redistribution of wealth eight years ago when President Bush took billions out of the tax pool and gave it back to America's richest citizens? Was that an act of socialism? Or is it only socialism when the little guy benefits? Republicans can't have the argument both ways. If raising taxes on the rich is considered socialism, then lowering their taxes is also a redistribution of wealth.

The irony of McCain's "spread the wealth" attacks is that he is an ardent supporter of not just the $1-trillion quasi-nationalization of America's banking and financial industries, but also wants to "redistribute" our tax dollars to subsidize homeowners by buying their troubled mortgages and refinancing them back to them at more favorable rates. Wait, doesn't that make McCain a... socialist?