Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Feasting At The Spread

Ross Douthat has a couple of posts up on the intricacies and efficacy of the "spread the wealth" argument -- against Obama and in general.

Joe the Plumber's insta-celebrity aside, I think there's a very simple reason why the "socialism" label isn't sticking to Obama right now. It's not his seeming teflon hide: It has to do with the economic mess the country is in. My hunch is that, yes, a certain portion of the electorate feels that there needs to be greater role of the government in this age of instability.

But there's another sentiment as well: It's not envy of the wealthy right now, but just plain resentment. While it is true that subprime loans -- and the failure to pay them -- is one reason for the near credit meltdown. But, it is the uber-trading of derivatives and Texas Hold 'Em-type financial gambling that the average person can't even pretend to understand ("credit-default swaps"? $63 trillion liability?) that put the entire system in danger.

In this sort of atmosphere, is it any wonder that the average person might think --"Look what these corporate a-holes have done with this obscene wealth!?!? Damn right it should be spread around!!"

Again, that's not an endorsement of socialism, but it is a human reaction to a sense of plutocracy run amok.

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