Reason #6: Social Responsibility Isn’t Socialism

While I’ve written a bit on this before, I just have to return to the idea of wealth. Who has it and wants to keep it, who doesn’t have it and wants to taste just a morsel of the pie of life.

Perhaps it is the minivan I see almost daily at my daughter’s school that has a large “No Socialism, Vote McCain” painted on it by hand.

Perhaps I’m thinking about this a lot because last night I was subjected to the latest Palin ranting, “Barack Obama is going to redistribute your wealth.” Then, of course, she linked this redistribution to taxes (click here for a nice break-down of the two candidates’ positions, complete with a cast of characters).

Whatever the reason, this wealth redistribution stuff, which is being uttered a lot in the waning days of the campaign, strikes me as offensive on many, many levels. However, let’s just examine two points:

1. This doesn’t make sense! All of these claims of socialism and redistribution are sensationalistic ploys. As Obama has said, time and time again, he defines “wealthy” as those making $250,000 or more per year. So do I. I just firmly believe that those who are doing pretty well financially, who can make their mortgage payments and have food on the table every night, have a social and moral responsibility to help out those who aren’t in this state. I have had countless advantages in life – a stable family, a great education, good physical and mental health, and a solid support network of friends, to mention just a few – and I’m not making $250,000 per year even with these advantages! Imagine those who haven’t had the half of this.

Its just a big lottery of life, and we need to take care of those who didn’t get the lucky numbers. That’s why Obama’s idea of wealth and taxes, which would work toward closing the gap between the haves and the have nots, doesn’t offend me or incite fear as it does in the Republician ticket. It’s the socially responsible thing to do.

2. This brings me to my second point – the recent comments about “wealth distribution” really irk me on creepier, more insidious level. This is because it seems that McCain and Palin are trying to shift our value system as a society. It appears they are trying to strip us of our empathy towards others.

I’m not the only one with this view. Here are a few takes on that line you’ve probably heard about how a society will be judged by how it treats its poor…

From Confucius:
In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of.
In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.
From James Baldwin (an African American writer):
Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
From Jean-Paul Sartre:
When the rich wage war it is the poor who die.

And, one of my favorite’s from that little powerhouse of a nun, Mother Teresa:

At the end of our lives, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in.’

Herein lies what really scares me about the position the Republicans are taking toward wealth – they can’t picture themselves as hungry, naked, or homeless. Even today, in an economic crisis that is scaring the bejezus out of many folks, they insist that we don’t need to consider those less fortunate. And that, to me, just seems wrong.

– Colleen, mother of three from Boulder, Colorado, who hopes she can become proud of how our country treats those occupying the lowest rungs of the economic totem pole.

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3 Responses to “Reason #6: Social Responsibility Isn’t Socialism”

  1. Stratford Section IV Says:

    Very true. There’s another fascinating layer, too – the fact that Republicans now are claiming GREATER social responsibility based on statistics that seem to indicate that religious conservatives give more to charity than secular liberals. I’ve had several Republicans point to this as a sign that their party is more socially concerned. Apart from the fact that the statistics are not entirely reliable, they seem to miss the point that if our government was more concerned about people in need, there would be less need to charity in the first place – never mind that charity doesn’t solve the underlying problems.

  2. bazznewzz Says:

    Social responsibility of the government is socialism…
    Social responsibility should be of the community and its people…
    very simple…
    clinton is not a socialist…
    carter is not a socialist…
    barack obama…socialist…
    and maybe you are too…and that is fine…but that is not what America is…and maybe that is what really irks you…
    by the way, notice how that $250K claim, which originally was $300K, he brought down to $200, and now Biden let on in his interview that they will be bringing that number down to $150K…at what point will they stop adjusting the meaning of rich? well he won’t…anytime a politician says he will only raise taxes on a certain group (class warfare), he ultimately does it to the middle class…the most recent example…clinton…but at least clinton intended to use it towards the deficit…
    and so while obama is already letting on that his definition of rich is creeping down to the $42K level he voted for last year, he intends to use this money to pay welfare to people who are not paying taxes and for his big government spending programs…
    and while he may hide from his friends from the neighborhood who mentored him and with whom he developed and promoted his ideology (although for some reason his friends are not the issue according to the msm) he does not hide from the claims of his socialist ideology…as recently as last week on good morning america…
    what gets me is even when he admits the exact things most of his followers detest, they ignore it completely…
    you seem like a very caring person with a big heart…but understand that many people who make what sounds like a lot of money $200K actually are small business owners who put that money back into their business for things such as hiring employees…many times the actual small business owner (who is responsible for 70% of jobs in the US and 100% of all new jobs in the US in 2004) doesn’t even make as much money as her employees, yet the small business owner is taking the risk…
    so while it may sound like a lot of money to you…at the end of the day it isn’t much at all…and given the fear that obama may be president everyone is holding on to their money…investors in business…in the stock market…in new business…they are all holding on to their money so small businesses can’t get money…the last time a president raised taxes and enforced protectionist policies during a recession, the president’s name was hoover and we went into a depression
    http://scattershooting.wordpress.com

  3. bazznewzz Says:

    update to my response…
    now it seems that bill richardson has already lowered the definition to rich and who gets tax cuts to under $120K….
    http://townhall.com/blog/g/b97de0f3-b401-401c-ba80-8ebdb3c24e20
    getting lower and lower every day…
    http://scattershooting.wordpress.com

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