redistribution of wealth

I realize that Adam Smith is/was not a God. Nor was he an irrefutable figure to be revered and put on a pedestal. And yes, I realize economic science has come a long way since The Wealth of Nations, and you’re more than welcome to disagree with the following quote. I am mostly just putting this up here for my own reference (since my blog is my backup brain). It’s a good quote to bust out now and then when I hear people whining about Obama’s tax plan or the idea of progressive taxation in general like it’s a revolutionary “socialist” idea. Adam Smith came up with it first:

“The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

Progressive taxation is not socialism. Obama is not a socialist. Obama is a soft center-leaning social democrat. Criticize that, by all means, but don’t make yourself look like an idiot by calling him a socialist. And please realize that we’ve been “redistributing wealth” in a fairly consistent way since the passage of the freaking internal revenue act.