Friday, October 17, 2008

Spread the Wealth Around

In the Oct. 15 presidential debate, John McCain mocked Barack Obama's desire to "spread the wealth around," equating it to redistribution, a conservative curse word. Republicans frequently refer to redistribution, or even class warfare, to suggest that their political opponents are fundamentally socialists.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the most dramatic redistribution of wealth has been going on for a while, mostly at the hands of Republican governments. George W. Bush, in particular, has accelerated that trend, as described on the eve of Bush's re-election by BusinessWeek here, and on the PBS program NOW here.

But this redistribution has been of the Reverse Robin Hood type ... the wealth flows toward the already wealthy, and away from everyone else.

So maybe instead of Democratic or liberal redistribution, we should speak of correction.


Mike said...

COLLEGE students:

"Spread the Grades" (think about it)

If you have a 3.5-4.0 GPA = 3.0
If you have a 3.0-3.40 GPA = 2.8
If you have a 2.8-2.99 GPA = 2.6
If you have a 2.6-2.7+ GPA = 2.4
If you have a 2.0 - 2.5 GPA = 2.2
If you are failing GPA = 2.0

We will use the GPA credits we collected from the fortunate students
to raise the GPAs of the less fortunate students. This will insure that those students that have lower grades will have the same success that those who have good grades have had. We feel that this will insure a fair distribution of grades AND make
it more FAIR in the job market after our students leave college.
We feel that this will attract more highly qualified students to our
institution and increase the academic standards as well. Those
students who cannot make good grades will not be at a disadvantage
when thay look for a job. It will also insure that any student can
take any course and pass. Our institution will produce the best and
brightest people who will lead the world!
We will also implement this same "spread the grade" program for our engineering, technical, medical and dental schools as well!!!! Think of the professionals we can graduate!!!! We will also be eliminating all entrance requirments so as to open more opportunities to all students.
This is only fair, as this type of program may soon be implemented in the real world.
We want to stay abreast of the real world so as to better prepare our students for life after collage! hard for good grades ...or not, someone else will
carry you through.
think about it!!!!

Peter Davis said...

Interesting comment, but your analogy between academic performance and wealth doesn't hold up for several reasons:

1) People aren't born with high GPAs.

2) People don't die or suffer lifelong disabilities as a direct result of low grades in school. (Indirectly, maybe, but not directly.)

3) GPA is designed to be a measure of academic performance. It has no other purpose.

4) In your example, GPAs range from 2.0 to 4.0. Individual wealth, on the other hand, has ratios like almost 0 to $60 billion. The earnings of many corporate CEOs are hundreds or thousands of times what many of their employees earn. It's not even close.

No one is suggesting an equal redistribution. That's not what progressive taxation is about. All I've suggested was undoing some of the REgressive taxation of the Bush era.