The fallout this week from Mitt Romney's now infamous "47%" meme at a posh fundraiser earlier this year has been quite the political drama. On the evening the video was released, Romney hastily called a post 10:00 PM press conference, and began his initial attempt to explain away the seemingly disastrous comments - indicating that his comments from the fundraiser weren't "elegantly stated". His campaign then released a segment outlining an interview with Ann Romney in which she proclaims "Mitt does not disdain poor people". Romney appeared on FOX News, as well as at a planned Univision event, in which he continued his damage control tour. Even with Romney's attempts to diffuse the issue, he's been roundly hammered about his comments from all sides, including some from within the Republican establishment - most notably, GOP congressional hopefuls seeking to distance themselves from the top of the party's ticket.
Damage control isn't all Romney has done though - he also released an ad featuring a 1998 Barack Obama saying that he "believed in redistribution".This isn't a new attack line - Republicans have been saying this about Barack Obama since the "Joe The Plumber" occurrence during the 2008 campaign. From a purely political standpoint, this argument wasn't effective in 2008 when President Obama spoke about "spreading the wealth" around a little bit, so it likely speaks to the desperation of Romney to release a video from 1998 trying to make the same argument that didn't work in 2008.
But, perhaps the more peculiar component of this is the blatant obliviousness that Romney, and the GOP in general, seem to approach the concept of "redistribution" with. For them, they don't seem to consider massive transfers of wealth from the bottom to the top "redistribution" - only attempts to stop that trend are considered as such.
The best proof of this would be the tax plan Mitt Romney is currently proposing. Objective, bipartisan analysis has indicated that Romney's tax plan would consitute one of the largest redistributions of wealth that our nation has seen, transferring massive amounts of money from the lower and middle classes to the upper class:
According to a Tax Policy Center analysis, Romney’s plan would increase after-tax income for those making more than $200,000 annually, while lowering it for everyone else:
The upshot of Romney’s plan is that “taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent (an average tax cut of about $175,000), taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would see somewhat smaller increases of about 2.4 percent (an average tax cut of $1,800), while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9 percent (an average tax increase of about $130).”
This analysis made the most generous assumptions about Romney’s plan, factoring in that he would eliminate tax deductions and loopholes in the most progressive way possible in order to finance his tax cut. And still, it would constitute a dramatic shift in income to the already wealthy. link
Romney's tax plan, quite literally, taxes lower income people more in part to pay for larger tax breaks to upper income people.
Further, Romney's tax plan would greatly accelerate the redistribution of wealth that has already taken place over the last 30 years:
With the lowering of the top income tax rate in 1981, the percentage of income of both the top 10% and the top 1% began to increase sharply, and by 1986 their shares of income were 40% and 15%, respectively. At the beginning of the Clinton Administration, another sharp increase began, and the top 10% moved to over 47% by 1998 and the top 1% rose to 22%. By 2007, the figure for the top 10% was back 50%, where it had peaked 80 years earlier. And the top 1%, similarly, was back near the 1928 level, at 23.5%. link
Apparently, this kind of "redistribution" is just fine with Romney and Republicans, and in fact isn't even "redistribution" at all. But of course, any attempt to even remotely offset this massively lopsided redistribution is tantamount to "socialism!".
This "redistribution" attack from Romney is yet another disgustingly hypocritical attack rooted in falsehoods and empty implications. At a fundamental level, ANY tax policy is a "redistribution" - nevermind Romney's own massive redistribution plans to boot.
If America doesn't see through the rubbish rhetoric that Romney's campaign has had to embrace after he so callously dismissed half of the nation as freeloaders who don't care for their lives, then we deserve his brand of disingenuous idiocy.