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Big Government, the Left, and the Redistribution of Wealth

In today’s Christian Science Monitor, Patrick Chisholm writes that America’s political left “is emerging victorious.” He writes, “the era of big government is far from over. Trends are decidedly in favor of that quintessential leftist goal: massive redistribution of wealth.”

Chisholm writes: “Certain trends have been favoring the left for the past several decades. In the early 1960s, transfer payments (entitlements and welfare) constituted less than a third of the federal government's budget. Now they constitute almost 60 percent of the budget, or about $1.4 trillion per year. Measured according to this, the US government's main function now is redistribution: taking money from one segment of the population and giving it to another segment. In a few decades, transfer payments are expected to make up more than 75 percent of federal government spending.” [Emphasis added]

The problem, according to Chisholm is that “(o)ur system of government is highly responsive to vocal groups that lobby for subsidies, government programs, and other special favors. Since the costs are spread out among all taxpayers while the benefits are concentrated among smaller segments of the population (such as retirees, in the case of Social Security and Medicare), the taxpayers have much less of an incentive to lobby against the measure while the beneficiaries have a huge incentive to lobby for it. Whenever those subsidies are threatened, the lobbies launch their barrages of politically effective complaints.”

Kudos to the Monitor for publishing this, and a hat tip to Jeff Dircksen at Government Bytes, the blogsite of the National Taxpayers Union.