Redistribution by government is primarily the result of interest groups using the political process to have resources transferred their way. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, this is independent of whether redistribution has an eye toward inequality reduction or not. We have reached a point where we are satisfied with justifications for redistribution rather than continuing to evaluate the underlying motives.
We are more interested in acting on the redesign than we are in whether the redesign is actually satisfying the motive. More often than not this results in wasted money and goals not actually reached. Think about it. How long have we been fighting the war on drugs, poverty, terror, etc., etc., etc.? We are willing to continue to pay for ineffective government.
How do we explain Redistribution?
The standard explanation for income redistribution is a desire to help the poor and downtrodden. The motives for income transfer are more complicated than simply aiding the poor. Most people will not, do not make gifts to the poor. We make them to other people who we favor for one reason or another. Charitable contributions most often go to activities offering consumption opportunities for the prosperous rather than help for the poor. Call it assuaging the conscience while having a good time.
People are charitable; but only mildly so. Their primary consideration is benefiting themselves. We should not be particularly surprised by the fact that people are interested in maximizing their own income. The use of the coercive power of the government to redistribute income from taxpayers to themselves is the generally accepted practice. Because that’s where the bulk of the voting power is; the poor do not get the majority of the largess… the voters do. People use the political process to gain benefits for themselves. It is time we understood what we are looking at as government grows.
How could we fix this?
If we really cared about ending poverty we do not need a federal government program to accomplish that goal. Everyone would fill out their tax form and those making more than poverty level would owe. Everyone making less than poverty level would be owed. Decide on the poverty level and you know what confiscation rate is required for the redistribution. Direct cash transfer is made. The only middleman, the only service provider is the administrator depositing the checks and cutting the checks. No program, no qualifications, no requirements are necessary… And it would be done at the State level.
So what’s the point of redistribution?
But that’s not what is going on in America… We have cabinet level federal government departments for: housing & urban development, environment, agriculture, education, health & human services, state, treasury, defense, justice, interior, commerce, labor, transportation, energy, veterans affairs, and homeland security. Why do they exist? The answer is simple. Control; the government must be in control. Control of whom? Control of we the people. Why else would the legislative branch have created those executive branch departments? They are all about micro-managing every aspect of our lives. An unelected fourth branch of government has been created to administer redistribution.
Governments want you to believe they can give you wealth and safety. All you have to do is give up your liberty. Many Americans today don’t really want “liberty”. Liberty means personal responsibility. Personal responsibility means risk and uncertainty. Better to be a pampered slave.
There is no longer any significant fundamental distinction between the U.S.A. and China. Americans and the Chinese are both slaves in a dictatorship. The difference is activity allowed. The Chinese government may be a bit more enthusiastic about limiting the actions of its citizenry, and a little bolder in its authoritarian actions, but from the perspective of Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, and Patrick Henry, America today is a dictatorship; and you are a slave.