Traditionally, Americans conceived of taxes as a way in which citizens paid for basic government services that benefited all (such as defense, infrastructure, etc.). With socialism, the notion arose that the government was to take from the rich (as defined by the government) and give to the poor (as defined by the government). Since the Civil Rights movement, the American tendency has been to take from the rich (as defined by the government) and give to the victims (as defined by themselves).
Conservatives have been deeply suspicious that Obama desires the White House to achieve precisely this socialist agenda: He wants to use taxes, not to provide funds for basic government services, but to take from those he deems rich and to give to those he deems appropriate recipients of government largesse. (Let’s not pretend he’s just talking about the poor. Hint: ACORN.)
When Obama had his little conversation with Joe the Plumber, and went into his “spread the wealth” shtick, he pretty much gave the game away to those who were listening. Large swathes of America, however, not just the die-hards, but the ones who want to feel good about voting for Obama, rejected the obvious, however, and claimed he was just talking about ordinary taxes.
How, then, can they explain away a 2001 Public Radio audiotape, which Pierre Le Grand found on the always useful Free Republic? In it, Obama carefully explained that it’s a tragedy that the Warren Court was too conservative to upend the Constitution and redistribute wealth, but that it’s not too late to use legislation to achieve precisely the same goal.
And please note, Obama uses and reuses the word “redistribute.” No hiding here behind colorful, user-friendly expressions such as “spread the wealth.” What Obama clearly envisions is a government program that takes away your money (and your incentive to work hard and make it the American way), so that the money can go to those Obama deems worthy:
I’ll give Pierre Le Grand the last word:
[I]f we had an honest press corp stuff like this wouldn’t depend on people like me to find. But since we do not have an honest press corp thank you Free Republic!
UPDATE: If you prefer reading over listening, Michelle Malkin has a transcript of the core discussion.
UPDATE II: Of, if you feel like discovering some Obama gems for yourself, there are lots more early interviews with the Obamessiah at the same radio station. I wish I had the time to plow through some of them. They look intriguing.