The Latest Lie: “Redistribution Is A Foreign Concept”

Dave Johnson

Now Mitt Romney is using another selectively edited video to make it sound like President Obama is a communist who wants to seize all the wealth of the rich and hand it out to … negroes and communist party members?

This week the Romney campaign dragged out a 1998 video of then-State Senator Barack Obama, doctored it to make it seem to sound bad, and used clips from the doctored video to drive a point that Obama is “foreign” and antin-American.

ABC: Republicans Hit Obama for ‘Redistribution’ Remark in 1998 Recording,

The audio, posted to YouTube by an unidentified user and dated Oct. 19, 1998, appears to be of remarks by then-Illinois State Sen. Obama at a conference at Loyola University in Chicago.

… I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution,” he said, “because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure everybody’s got a shot.”


Obama actually said more right after that. ABC again, Obama ‘Redistribution’ Audio Clip Cited by GOP Was Truncated,

In the full recording, obtained by NBC News, Obama continues to explain in the next sentence that he is speaking broadly about making city and state government more efficient in their use of resources — and endorses “competition” in the “marketplace.”

Romney Accusations

Romney took off on this word “redistribution, going full Joe McCarthy on it. HuffPuff: Mitt Romney Offers Full-Throated Attack On Obama’s ‘Redistribution’,

“This idea of redistribution follows from the idea that if you have a business, you didn’t build it, someone else did that. It’s the same concept. That, see, government is responsible for everything that’s gone on here. And therefore government can take and give as it chooses. It’s an entirely foreign concept that will not work, that has not worked. That has never worked anywhere in the world. And what we have to do in America is not to make us more like Europe, but to make America more like America…”

Romney here is echoing the Ayn Randian anti-government idea that “taxes are theft” and decision-making by We, the People is evil “collectivism.” The idea is that if regular people get to jointly make decisions they will tax the wealthy and use the money to do things like build schools and roads (and, God forbid, Medicare). This anti-government attitude is also the basis of the Romney campaign’s derision for the idea that We, the People built the schools and roads that make businesses successful — “We built that.”

But the language he chooses, “entirely foreign concept,” “has never worked anywhere in the world,” “make us more like Europe” evokes 1950s anti-communist rhetoric. He is accusing Obama of being a communist.


Here are some ways the government redistributes the wealth:

Sidewalks: taxes pay for sidewalks that anyone can walk on. Redistribution.

Medicare: taxes pay for health care for old people. Redistribution.

Highways: Known communists President Dwight D. Eisenhower used tax money (taxed at a top rate of 90%) to build the Interstate highway system. Communist redistribution.

Every tax is redistribution. Every government redistributes. Paying for schools is redistribution. Paying for roads is redistribution.

Mitt Romney has mocked the idea of We, the People getting together and building things. He has mocked the idea of taxes used for schools and Medicare. In his “47%” remarks he denigrated half the country as moochers and takers. What is next?

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