Independent Newspaper Says Redistributing Wealth Not Okay in Some Instances

The Fairfield County [Conn.] Weekly is one of those papers that is available for free at diners and bus stations, and it's usually very liberal in its views. (A sampling of recent article titles includes one where the author claims Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) was checking out her décolletage at an event, and another calling former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a "quaint torture-monkey.")In the first read-through, this article took me by surprise...could one of Fairfield County's most cherished liberal institutions be going "right"? Entitled You're Worth It! For one measure of your worth to society, look back at all you W2s, author Phil Maymin tries to make sense of who is revered in our society and why. He goes through a series of examples (Bill Gates, sports stars, philanthropists and artists whose work gains wealth posthumously), and finally decides:

So perhaps it is not easy to define a person's exact value to society, but we have a basic guideline that works fairly well fairly often: the more people are willing to hand over their own assets and wealth in appreciation of a person, the greater his or her value.

Okay, fair enough. Maymin then turns to politicians:

What about politicians? Are the best politicians the ones that raise the most money for their campaigns? If not, where does the logic of this measuring break down?The actions of politicians are of generally two types: those in the best interests of all and those in the best interests of a few. Special interest groups contribute to politicians in the hope that they will bless their constituency with special laws. There are price floors on sugar to benefit the sugar lobby, agricultural subsidies to benefit large farms, tariffs on certain imports to benefit particular domestic industries, and untold earmarks, pork belly projects, tax loopholes, and other favors to benefit the contributors—all on our nickel.

Here comes the kicker:

It will be this way so long as elected officials have the power to redistribute money and assets. But it can be minimized. On the federal level, all that is required is a strict limitation on the powers of government officials so that they only focus on issues of national defense, and not on what kind of toilets are illegal or managing farm industry. All that'd be required is some kind of document that spells out what Congress can do, with all other functions relegated to the states or citizens themselves.Of course, we have such a document. It's called the Constitution. And every elected politician swears to uphold it. Yet very few do.

Did I read that right? A liberal paper claiming that Congress shouldn't be redistributing money and assets, but focusing on federal defense and leaving most of the rest up to the states? Holy cow, Batman! But wait, let's go back to Maymin's description of this kind of hooliganism (all emphasis mine):

The actions of politicians are of generally two types: those in the best interests of all and those in the best interests of a few. Special interest groups contribute to politicians in the hope that they will bless their constituency with special laws. There are price floors on sugar to benefit the sugar lobby, agricultural subsidies to benefit large farms, tariffs on certain imports to benefit particular domestic industries, and untold earmarks, pork belly projects, tax loopholes, and other favors to benefit the contributors—all on our nickel.

All of that is true. But there's one kind of wealth redistribution that Maymin forgets: social programs. You know, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, welfare, unemployment and so on. These programs are financed by money taken out of your paycheck and given to people you don't even know, without so much as a by your leave. And some people want to see more of it.See why I was almost fooled? Maymin trots out the Constitution in as the guide we should all be adhering to when it comes to monies handled by Congress. But he fails to mention one of the biggest ways that Congress redistributes wealth "all on our nickel." Sigh. So close. Maybe next time...