Obama camp responds to “redistribution” audio

The Obama campaign today is actually engaging the McCain campaign over audio which has surfaced, conveniently I might add, just 9 days before Election Day in which Obama sounds like he’s discussing redistribution of wealth from a legal perspective.

Report from Politico on the Obama camp response:

A top legal advisor to Barack Obama, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, said today that Obama’s 2001 remarks on “redistributive change” — pushed hard on the right today — are being misinterpreted, and that he was actually articulating “conservative” legal principles, and that the then-law professor’s “law-speak” was being misinterpreted.

Here is the audio the Obama campaign is responding to and the McCain campaign is trying to jump on:

More from Sunstein’s response:

“What the critics are missing is that the term ‘redistribution’ didn’t man in the Constitutional context equalized wealth or anything like that. It meant some positive rights, most prominently the right to education, and also the right to a lawyer,” Sunstein said. “What he’s saying – this is the irony of it – he’s basically taking the side of the conservatives then and now against the liberals.”

Another report on this from Boston.com:

Conservative bloggers and websites have been flogging it, and now John McCain’s campaign has put its imprimatur on it: a newly disclosed radio interview in which Democratic rival Barack Obama talks about the redistribution of wealth.

The interview, first reported by the Drudge Report, was with a Chicago radio station while he was an Illinois state senator on Sept. 6, 2001.

Obama is talking about the victories of the civil rights movement, and says, “You know if you look at the victories and the failures of the Civil Rights movement and its litigation strategy in the Court, I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I would be okay. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society…. And one of the I think the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement was because the Civil Rights movement became so court focused I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change and in some ways we still suffer from that.”

The entire context of the interview isn’t clear, and the sentiment isn’t all that different from Martin Luther King Jr., who after the voting rights and other accomplishments of the 1960s civil rights movement moved toward greater emphasis on poverty and economic justice.

But McCain’s campaign is jumping on it as part of the assault on Obama’s remark to the famous Joe the plumber in Ohio that with America so economically troubled, it might be good to spread the wealth.

Amazingly the Obama campaign actually responded to this, I’m guessing because the McCain campaign began using it and trying to tie it to Obama’s current view on taxes.

Clearly given the polls, the McCain campaign is grasping at items like this as some kind of “October surprise” to spring on Obama. That being said, as mentioned above, the full context of the interview wasn’t known so there is much left to speculation.

This is still developing.. we’ll update if the situation warrants..

  • EricF

    did he just say i didnt hear what i just heard?

    game over.

  • Babs

    Yeah, EricF, he just said you didn’t hear what you heard. Same tactic they always use. Wright didn’t say what we thought he did, either.

    Actually, Nate, the Obama camp responded to this audio before McCain picked it up, and then when McCain didn’t put it in his press conference this morning, they came back and said aha, it must not be too important, McCain didn’t mention it. Of course, McCain did a couple of hours later on the stump. So game on.


    Hm Obama trying to wheel his way around this and having spokesmen saying this is a “conservative” view point. LOL THAT must be a joke because what I and everyone in this country is hearing is a socialist agenda and a radical leftwing look at the constitution.

  • JIM C

    If it walks like a duck and looks like a duck and quacks like a duck and talks about redistribution of wealth it must be Obama and we are in deep trouble if he wins.

  • Babs

    True. And this audio tape just adds more legitimacy to the Chicago New party story. There seems to be a long term pattern here. Even longer than Obama’s “what I meant was” line.

  • chris

    Hello? The I R S has always engaged in redistribution of wealth!!! What do you think welfare is? What do you think the 700 billion dollar bailout is? George Bush is the socialist here! We now have a Hybridized Capitalist/Socialist government!

    Wake Up People!!!! No matter who gets into office, we have to pay for the bailout! How do you think thats going to happen? Tax payers!!!!!

  • Antonio

    Some freaks redistribute wealth, other freaks distribute bullets:


  • Antonio

    “The Alaska governor on Sunday brought up the recent reports regarding the Republican National Committee’s $150,000 spending spree on clothing and accessories for the Palin family.”

    is not that redistribution of wealth?
    tax payers money redistributed for Palin’s garde-robe?

    By the way did it occur to any of you that “Palin” is a RUSSIAN name?! That’s right folks! she descends from the reds!

  • Deb

    chris…a lot of this financial crisis could have been prevented if the democrats had not said that Fannie and Freddie were ok and they didn’t need more regulations. Bush raised concern about Fannie and Freddie because they were growing so big in 2001. As you can see in the video the republicans were put down because they were questioning Fannie and Freddie.



  • Steve

    Why is wanting to redistribute the wealth such a scary, bad thing to some of you? Both candidates pound Wall street greed and Washington corruption, right?

    Ever heard of the Gini index? It measures income inequality. Want to know where the US stands? Between countries like Turkmenistan, Ghana and Senegal, miles behind most other industrialized nations. Even Russia with all its oligarchs scores better. Perhaps a bit more equality and hence ‘spreading the wealth’ is not such a bad thing after all?

    If you want to tackle greed and corruption and check out each candidate’s plan you’ll see that it is exactly those high income people that will deservedly get taxed by Obama instead of the Bush tax breaks mainly for the rich, staunchly supported by Mccain, hoping it would trickle down. The past 8 years have proven it does not trickle down, income inequality has shot up in the States these past years.

  • Becky

    Steve et al

    Take a look at those countries that have practiced the “Redistribution of Wealth”…….like “CUBA”. Seems to me like the once Young, Highly Educated, Distinguished and Eloquent(SOUND FAMILIAR)Castro used this type of language when Cuba wanted Change in “1959”! Wake up people…..IT CAN HAPPEN HERE TOO!!! We have checks and balances some might say and they didn’t…..not when you have a one Party Government….Food for thought. DONT VOTE AGAINST BUSH vote for the Best Candidate to hold, honor and respect that seat come January ’09.

  • Babs

    “it is exactly those high income people that will deservedly get taxed by Obama”

    And tell me again why they deserve this, Steve? I’m not at all clear about what it is they’ve done wrong. By all means, enlighten me to the wonderful ways of Socialism.

  • Stalin


    Wake up. We already have a progressive tax system so that the wealthy pay both more in taxes and a higer percentage of their income. Keep it up. Keep trying to punish the weathly and businesses. You’re about to find out what happens. We will all pay the price for fiscal ignorance. (aka Obama voters)

  • Steve

    Before getting into your question, doesn’t this abysmal rating I posted above worry you? I’d like to hear your views on that.

    Tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations have not boosted job creation looking at the numbers of jobs being lost everyday in the US, they have boosted already wealthy shareholders returns, not Joes’ income. There is nothing wrong with making a buck, but there is something wrong with making billions and not having it ‘trickle down’, which is exactly what has been happening.

    Besides these specifics, the overarching reason is that the income inequality in the US, which was already high, is growing at an alarming rate. I for one think it is depressing to see the greatest nation on earth have an income inequality index matching that of third world countries.

    Of course everyone wants to keep their taxes low, I don’t particularly enjoy paying them either.
    But with two hugely expensive wars going on, credit markets frozen and stock markets tumbling, governments simply cannot sit back and hope the storm will blow over and that’s why that bailout eventually passed, with both candidates’ support.

    I don’t see how Mccain is going to fund his program, bring victory in Iraq and Afghanistan AND get the economy back on its feet while giving tax breaks across the board, and to the wealthiest in particular. All this while balancing the budget within four years as he said he would during the final debate. Now that is a fairy tale if you ask me and the past 8 years have proven it cannot be done.

    This is not about punishing hard work or fearmongering about the red threat, it is about equality, one of the most fundamental American values if i’m not mistaken.

  • Babs

    You still didn’t answer my question, Steve.

  • DJS

    Antonio…the $150,000 that the RNC spent on clothes is a little old news. She didn’t go out and buy the clothes someone else did. She also admitted that she shops at a second hand store. Amazing that is what a lot of middle class and poverty class do.
    $50,000 was returned immediately. Which of course the MSM choses not to release, $50,000 is still in original packaging. All of the clothes will be donated after the election. It was the RNC and not the campaign donations that paid for the clothes.

    It’s funny that no one seemed to care that Obama spent $140,000 on his Greek columns for his convention. I guess that is acceptable in the eyes of the democrats. To me it is just more waste and it proves to me over and over again that Obama will not cut spending once in the White house.

    Steve…Just wait. Once Obama is in the white house the US will become a 3rd world country. If you think his idea of spreading the wealth is just in this country you are wrong. He wants to give $845B to the UN to give to 3rd world countries. I bet that isn’t coming out of his pocket.

  • EricF

    man liberals are just too damn ignorant. the class warfare isnt getting you anywhere. Americans are starting to understand Obamas hidden agenda. Americans are connecting the dots. the polls are tightening for a reason. it wont even be close when all is said and done. this is going to be a landslide. libs can keep downplaying all the evidence against Obama but the public sees whats going on here. trust me there will be more coming out. its only a matter of time.

    the whole Obama campaign was built on deception and corruption. the truth is coming out. soon everyone will see this guy for who he really is. his VP pick cant even do interviews anymore, everytime he talks he does damage to his own campaign. pfffft. oh but i thought Palin was the bad pick. haha. the Obama campaign would be better off just calling it a day and cutting losses.

    its over.

    game over.

  • DJS

    Babs…I am with you. What incentive is there for someone to work hard just so the government can take money out of their pocket to give to people who aren’t working as hard. The other side of that is that maybe they continue to work hard but find a way to hide some of their money.

    ErikF..Obama really picked a winner!!! Palin is 100 times smarter than Biden. People like to criticize her because she didn’t really give a 3rd grader the full version of what the VP job is, but Biden who is a lawyer and on the judicual committee doesn’t really know the bankruptcy laws and Obama with all his education doesn’t know there are 50 states not 57+ and he went to school in Massachusetts but can’t pronounce it.

  • b

    Do you McCain supporters really beleive that Obama’s plan of resetting the tax brackets to what they were under Clinton is some form of socialism, that raising the tax bracket of the most wealthy by 4% is socialism…? If so then what do you call Bill Clinton, what do you call George H.W. Bush, what do you call Ronald Reagan, all of who operated a higher tax system than Obama is proposing. The only socialist polcies that I can detect under Obama are his health care and infrastructure programs.
    I for one beleive that we need a new approach to health care,… The cost of providing health care is one of the greatest burdens and one of the biggest factors that makes our business’s less comptetive globally, not the business or personal income tax rates. Using government in SMART ways to pool more people together, to drive down the costs, to cover catostrophic illness’s that can wipe families out, these socialized seeming actions would do more to make business in this country more competitive than any tax cut ever could. Or should we just bury our heads in the sand when 50 million plus are uninsured and 1 million more are added to that statistic each year under the status quo?… Socialism be damned. Should we bury our heads in the sand when one loses thier job and health insurance coverage and have pre existing conditions say like diabetes, which millions of Americans have, and are forced to pay 10, 20 30 times the amount they were paying before to get some form of coverage. Should we allow families to go bankrupt when a member comes down with a catastrophic illness such as cancer. Socialism be damned, social security be damned, medicare be damned, college loans from the USDE be damned private banks can do that,…
    Let us take this a step further, what about our highways, our bridges, our power lines, our streets, our sanitation and sewage systems, lets get rid of all the government entities local, state or federal that make these things possible because 1) they are socialistic and 2) private enterprise will always plan and do it better right? What about relief along the coasts when Hurricanes strike, or in the midwest when tornados destroy commnities and whole towns, or on the West Coast when earthquakes strike, no we dont need FEMA or any federal money going to these communities because 1) that is socialistic and 2) private business can do it better than the govt. can.
    America has always been gifted at balancing the collective needs of society with individual rights and sovereignty, we have been throughout the 20th century a somewhat socialistic but more capitalistic democracy, America has prooven that the two terms are not mutually exclusive in application.
    As to this idea of class warfare in Obama’s tax structure if you truly believe that then you believe that the idea of progressive tax, that the idea of taxes at all is somehow class warfare by the govt and the politicians. I do not see how a 4% difference between the tax that the wealthy pay now and what they will pay under Obama will really constitute class warfare, really constitute socialism,… it wont it is simply shifting the tax burden to the more wealthy, and I am sorry but I beleive as that old proverb goes: to whom much is given much is required. Yes the wealthy and business’s making over a certain threshold will pay marginally more in taxes, a couple of percent, but those same folks have an advantage over thos that do not have money, they can make thier money earn more money for them through investments and savings. I firmly believe that the wealthy should pay a signifigantly greater portion of the tax burden but I also beleive that they should also be given more opportunities to make there money grow, ie savings incentives, investment incentives, using government to help create new industries and growth i.e the internet boom.

    The fact is that on the tax argument conservatives have lost in the minds of a majority of Americans, most people know what Obama was speaking of when he said “spread the wealth” and it meant spread the wealth around…. OH MY GOD how outrageuos when millions and millions of us are suffering under the yoke of this libertarian economic idea that conservatives have held the country hostage with over the last 30 years. One way I look at is that conservatives think when the most wealthy and powerful are doing well that by default the rest of the country is doing well… Obama Democrats believe that when the middle class is doing well the wealthy and the poor will be doing well.

  • Stalin


    Sorry buddy but I don’t want my hard earned money going to someone that doesn’t deserve it. I’d rather make the decision as to which charities I give to, not the government.

    You seem to be one of those people that think that wealth is given to people. For most people, it is earned. Wow, what an amazing concept! It’s called capitalism and it doesn’t work well using Marxist policies.

  • b


    Don try and justify spending 100k on clothes by the Republicans, it really, really is unjustifiable,… if she could not afford those kinds of wardrobes before and wore stuff from consignment shops then why did they not let her be herself when they introduced her to the public, she seems to look fine on TV now with her old threads. It was a stupid, stupid, stupid thing for the RNC to do.

  • EricF

    b, you just dont get it. Obama doesnt get it either. you do not punish success and you certainly dont act like you are going to control private wealth. this class warfare scares the crap out of people. you can try to spin it anyway you want, you can point all the fingers at Bush for the financial crisis, it wont change the fact that Obama is creating resentment and with that resentment he is loosing ground on a daily basis.

    its easy to say 95% of Americans will get a tax cut. sounds great, most people dont make $250,000 a year.

    thats not the real issue or the right question.

    the better question is how many people work for a company that makes more than $250,000 a year. if you do, make no mistake about this… Obamas economic plan puts your job and well being directly in the crosshairs. this is what people are finally starting to understand. jobs will be cut, prices will rise and wealth will run for the hills.

    horrible move trying to pit one group against another. we are all interconnected and what affects the employer also affects the employees. there is no getting around that.

    thats why McCains plan is far superior. creating opportunity for everyone rather than trying to control the free market and creating obstacles for employers.

    its over. get used to it. there is no way Obama can win now.

  • JD


    Associated Press Sides With Obama on “Redistribution” Charge.

    Wire service fact check accuses McCain of “misreading” the 2001 comments by Obama about “redistributive change.”

    Says Obama called the civil rights movement’s focus on the Supreme Court a “tragedy,” not the fact that the high court didn’t pursue the “redistribution of wealth.”

    And/But: Says Obama didn’t define redistributive change in the interview, but gave one example using education.


    Proving once again that the McCain Machine has nothing left but th propaganda of untruths. I feel bad for the republican sheeple that buy into this crap but then we all hear what we want to hear and in this case republicans only have hail mary’s left.

  • b

    Stalin you sound more like a Libertarian than a Republican, do you support the idea of a progressive tax code at all?

    You know you are right, I have no idea what it means to earn my way and living in life, by your standards I dont if I have even worked a day in my life. I just kind of wait around in 2 year cycles hoping that Democrats get elected so my handouts will increase. In the interim I work 30-40 hours a week to pay my own bills, rent, and food, to pay for my really expensive and old bassett hound (vet bills are pricey and though my vet I suspect is a liberal he sure does not give me any freebees). On top of that for the last three years I have gone to school each semester, taking 15-17 hours, I take out loans and try to pay for what I can myself, so I do not have a mortgage payment when I am done with my undergraduate degree. I try not to put myself in a position to need financial assistance from my family or freinds because I beleive that wealth is just given out.

    You know I think you maybe right about my brother and his wife too, they are big time Obama supporters. You know my brother he is a Union plumber, he gets up at 4am every morning and returns from work at about 4pm, he goes to union school twice a week from 6-10pm 9 months out of the year, he has 4 growing, hungry, needy and wonderful children and a stay at home mom/wife to support, he works harder day in and day out than anyone I know and all so he can not only support but build a better life day in and day out for his family, he goes to school so that he may secure better earnings, a better pension, better health benefits, so that his children have even more opportunities than he did, but I geuss he knows nothing about EARNING his in this life, I geuss he knows nothing about personal responsibility because he is an Obama supporter.
    Oh Yeah and my other brother, who is an Executive Chef at one of the most high end restaurants in our city, he works upwards of 70 hours per week, has two growing and hungry boys at home, opened the restaurant and in partnership with the GM runs the business, but he is an Obama supporter so I geuss he knows nothing about earning his way, knows nothing about business in an 8million dollar a year restaurant because he is an Obama supporter.
    I could keep going I have four brothers and all have a similar stories and all support Obama.
    Be careful in your generalizations, all sorts of people have all sorts of reasons why they support the politics that they do. Ii have travelled to several states volunteering for Obama since this previous January and I would say that more people than not that I have met that support Obama are more like my brothers than some lazy bum looking for a handout.

  • b

    Oh yeah did I mention that I work for the state (a community college to be precise) job where they deliberately schedule me a 32-39hours a week so they can avoid the full time benefits that would have to accompany the work that I really do, like health insurance, dental insurance and 401k. I love the place I work that is why I have been there for 5 years, but still seems a bit wrong to me. I have to pay 150 bucks a month on my own to have a policy that is for all intents and purpose, crap.

  • Stalin


    Thanks for family tree. I will spare you mine. So you and your brothers are fine with having money taken out of your pocket to pay for people that sit on their rear end all day? One thing you have to remember is that this $250K figure is imaginary. There is absolutely nothing to prevent Obama from lowering that figure to say 50K. A lot more people would fall into that bracket. Obama was smart in picking the 250K figure because he’s only alienating 5% of the country and giving the middle class something to take their anger out on. By the way I never said that you or your family did not earn their money. Settle down.

  • Antonio

    “we are all interconnected and what affects the employer also affects the employees. there is no getting around that.”

    EricF, that’a a fallacy. If the employer is screwed so may be the employee (most surely). If the employer earns a huge amount of money, rarely so does the employee.

  • Stalin


    You’re right, in France that may be true. In the United States we have Capitalism and when companies are doing well they pay a nice dividend to shareholders and bonuses to employees. Some companies are better about this than others. The ones that have better incentive programs attract better employees. I pay a Christmas bonus to my employees that is directly tied to our performance that year.

  • b

    Well Stalin call me an abstract thinker but when you say: “You seem to be one of those people that think that wealth is given to people. For most people, it is earned. Wow, what an amazing concept!” you are inferring quite a bit about mine, and in general Obama supporters work ethic and drive when you say for most people it is earned… like I or the millions of Obama supporters did not know that. Besides this season is all about being worked up and passionate, I do not go back and forth here to hear an echo, passion is part of politics.

    You know Stalin I only brought my family up because you seem to consistently support the idea that all Obama supporters are all one way or of one stripe and you are wrong. I (not speaking for my bro’s) trust Obama and his words much more than McCain’s. I do not beleive as you do that raising by 4%, (to what they were under Clinton) the taxes that the most wealthy pay will somehow result in people sitting on
    thier rear ends and not doing anything all day. I do not beleive that his tax policy is anywhere near socialism as I was educated to understand it. I do believe that his healthcare plan, infrastrucutre improvement and renewable energy plans have some socialist aspects to them (much like social security, FEMA or medicare does) and I support those plans whole heartedly…. Now I do have different ideas on healthcare than Obama, but when I weigh the two plans, the philosophy behind them and the potential that they could work to provide the relief that Americans need and deserve in health care, Obama’s plan is much more in touch with the needs and reality of the problem. What is to prevent Obama from lowering the tax threshold… well I geuss his word, and I trust his word,… bt by the same logic what is to prevent McCain from say attacking Russia or privatizing social security… his words.

  • Stalin


    I forgot to mention that no I do not support a progressive tax policy.

    The fact that you think the only effect that Obama will have is a 4% tax increase on the most wealthy is staggering to me. Haven’t you heard of capital gains taxes? What about payroll taxes? He is going to increase those as well.

    Obama represents a very hard shift to the left. To make matters worst, he will have carte blanche with a Democratic Congress. America will be a very hostible business environment under Obama and people will realize pretty quick that without capitalist funding, socialist programs don’t work.

  • Babs

    I read this on another site today. It puts it in good perspective, take a look.

    “Comment by Fae
    October 28th, 2008 at 2:57 pm
    Cute story here. Saw a man on the street corner (homeless) with a sign saying VOTE OBAMA.
    Made me mad. Then I went into a cafe and the waiter had on a Obama tie. So when I paid my
    bill I asked him for two $10.00 bills. I then told him that one was his tip but I took it and walked
    outside and gave it to the bum. I went back in and told the waiter I was spreading the wealth around like his canidate Obama. He just stared at me. I then proceeded to do this with my hairdresser that wore an Obama pin and then the dog groomer. Lastnight I told my college babysitter that had an Obama pin on her purse that her tip would be given to the poor!!! If everyone starts doing this maybe one or two people will wake up and vote for McCain. Let’s start spreading their wealth around folks!!!!”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Antonio


    I applaud your *socialist* initiative of sharing profit to everyone based on performance. It is only but fair.

    I know badly the US, moreover, I guess each state has a different legislation so I do not know whether *your* policy is common practice (hope so). In Mexico, by the law, workers (till the lowest level) are meant to receive a bonus directly linked to the company’s profit. In France, this is far from being a rule, let alone dictated by the law. Bonuses are common among high-rank executives (specially in the financial environment) but not low-class workers. Christmass bonus is also rare; it is imposed by the law in Mexico. And I am not against millionaire bonuses for big shots either (big shot=big responsibility=big bonus. Seems logical to me)

    In France, however, we receive other benefits such as pretty good and efficient services (schools, health, post, energy, etc.) Take the trains company; they sell top technology all over the place. I think even Texas bought a TGV (the fast train). The train company is a government-owned monopoly.

    What some people have been trying to convey in these fora is that socialism should not be confused with comunism in the Soviet extremist sense of the word: punishing success, forbiding private property, and so on. There is much of that among certain extremists, true, but that’s not (only) it. Take China, they are politically comunist but *very* capitalist! And civil rights and common welfare is not precisely the priority there. It is in socialist countries, the European way.

  • b

    Stalin in my opinion what you are saying goes back to whether or not you trust what the candidate says. Obama has proposed cutting capital gains taxes for small business’s that earn less than 250k a year, I believe him and I think that his correct approach protects my brother if he goes to sell his house, or my mom when she cash’s out her 401k, she earns alot but still under 250k. Captial gains on business and individuals earning more than 250k will go up to pre Bush levels and oh well if they do, if they could flourish under the previous tax code surely they can flourish under it again. Besides that we have a lot of things to pay for, ending the Iraq War, invading Wazuristan, crushing al-Qaeda and killing bin Laden (liberals are not gonna like Obama when he does this but it is a tragedy that Saddam hung from a rope and the man that is responsible for the 9/11 attacks is still out there), building a renewable energy infrastrucutre (an absolute imperative), to name a few.
    He has essentially proposed to cut taxes for earners under 250K and business that earn less than 250k a year in profit.

    “Other payroll taxes”: please elaborate a bit.

    I have no problem with increasing the income and capital gaines taxes on the wealthy hedge fund managers, or Hank Paulson types who earned 40 million a year, or professional athletes who earn millions a year, no one in my opninion is worth 10 million, 20 million, 30 million a year, call me crazy but there is no justification for that. In reality the biggest break that could be given to American business’s is not a tax cut it is removing the burden and cost’s of providing health care, we lose more big corporate investments in the global economy due to that burden than the tax burden.
    In the end: To those that much is given much is required.

    I for one beleive that President Obama (that sounds so good to my ears) is not gonna be some milk toast when it comes to his own party, he better not be or I will be one pissed off moderate.

  • Antonio


    what you tell you did made me smile but sharing wealth is not how you picture it. Sharing wealth is what Stalin does with his employees! we are not talking about making gifts but about rewarding hard work in as possibly *even* way. By “even” it is meant “proportional”, “relative to”, it is not meant equal in absolute terms. I am sure the bonuses Stalin rewards his employees with are not only tied to profit and performance but also to rank and responsibility, which (I think) is fair and normal. That is *even*.

  • b

    Point of fact: Finland has the largest and most elaborate welfare state in the world, I have a few Finnish and from what I understand they are damn near Communistic. Interestingly Finland also has one of the most attractive and competitive business and tax system in the world. How is that possible pure socialism side by side with capitalism, in a democracy? I know it is a stretch to compare the US and Finland (very obvious), but so is McCain’s attempt to compare the American and Irish business tax structures.

  • b

    To most people who have some flexibility in thier thinking, they know what Obama meant when he said spread the wealth. He was not advocating communism or socialism, he was advocating by way of idiom or a saying, that we should be fair, provide opportunity, and empower the individual to get more, you know spead the wealth around a bit brothers and sisters. This comment is being taken out of the context of the full conversation, and Obama seemed like he was just talkin real

  • Stalin


    Obama has not put a limit on how much he will increase capital gains taxes. Why do you think people like the owner of the Miami Dolphins wants to sell before Obama gets in office? Your thought process really scares me. Mostly because there are millions of other people that think like you do. You actually think that government will spend your money wisely. Have you learned nothing from the past month? You also want to put a cap on an individuals success. Your statement, “To those that much is given much is required.” Again you implying that wealth is given, not earned.

    I had to risk everything I have to start my business. I had to put my house up to get the loans. I made zero income for 2 years. I still have a personal guarantee on my business line of credit. Do you know what that means? It means that if I can’t pay the bank, they take my house. I put it all on the line and took a risk. That risk in now paying off and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone tell me that it was “given” to me.

  • Babs

    Stalin, b’s statement that you quote sounds eerily like the Karl Marx statement that Barbara West quoted to Joe Biden, doesn’t it?

    Antonio, Stalin’s version of “sharing the wealth” is the same as mine. It is a voluntary act that we, as small business owners, offer our employees. It is a gift. The difference in our “sharing the wealth” and Obama’s “spreading the wealth” is that we do with our money as WE please, Obama will do with our money as HE pleases. We prefer to control our own money, and feel that we are intelligent enough to reward the hard work of employees without interference from government. Not that we’ll be able to do that anymore after paying Obama’s taxes. Our employees will lose their bonuses, and many of them will lose their jobs.

    I believe Obama meant exactly what he said – in 2008, and in 2001. And in his own book in choosing Marxist professors carefully as friends in college.

    It’s a shame that Obama supporters feel they have to “explain” what Obama “really means” all the time. He means what he says, don’t you get it?

  • b

    Stalin y’alls business first and only, libertarian minded policy approaches scare the hell out of me. I trust my government when there are good managers in the government, like Ronald Reagan was, like H.W Bush was, like Clinton was but it has been run by the Bush MAFIA for the last 8 years and look at what has happened, they crashed the system, exposed us to 16 trillion dollars worth of outstanding speculative credit derivative DEBT by refusing to regulate new and emerging markets, they damn near priced middle Americans out of gasoline by the same deregulatory policies and policies that overwhelmingly favored the all powerful oil and energy industries… I could go on and on but i have one simple question for you:
    Do you think it is fair and right that someone can earn 10 million dollars a year for playing a sport, or 40 million a year because they know people and can milk the system to get top spots at Goldman Sachs, do you think the work that anyone does on this planet is worth 40 million a year? I for one did not and never will and if you call taxing those kinds of people more than middle class people capping individual success then I am all for capping individual success.
    I do not think you were given anything, I believe that you earned what you created,… do you not understand that proverb, I think it is in the bible somewhere: to whom much is given much is required. If your business is gonna tank because Obama will raise taxes by a couple of percent then I would have to question the overall viability of your business… and how was it Stalin that small business was able to flourish under Clinton, no one seems to want to answer that question. Keep it coming.

  • b

    Babs, Stalin- the sense that I am getting from y’all is that any tax is wrong and regressive, any tax is a form of the govt. taking your money and just willy nilly “redistributing it”, do you agree with this sentiment?

    Further it is a sad thing that y’all think Obama supporters are all ignorant, delusional and/or stupid,which is exactly what your statements imply.

  • b

    Stalin Obama said that capital gaines on those who earn over 250k will reset to Clinton era levels, which i believe is a near 10% increase, which is alot in my estimation, but still for those who earn or clear more than 250k.. It’s not a matter of his plan it is a matter of do you trust him, and I think I knowthe answer to that. Do you clear a 250k profit annualy in your business?

  • b

    Luke 12:48
    But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
    Y’all are great, gonna go look for some handouts to pay for the beers and burgers I am gonna have with my freinds now. Vaya con dios amigos.

  • Antonio


    I do acknowledge what you say and understand your fear about your employees loosing their bonuses due to higher companies taxes. I see your point. You do not want HIM to tell YOU how
    to share, spread or whatever. I wouldn’t like it either. I also acknowledge that too much regulation/protectionism and too high *business* taxes (as in France) put a break to dynamism in the economy; I see that all the time (in France). High business taxes may contribute to keep unemployment relatively high.

    But I also think that too loose regulation may lead to abusing employees like being hired for 39 hrs to avoid paying for deserved benefits. As b, I work for the state. I am way underpayed (compared to similar positions in other countries) but I do value the indirect benefits I get for me and my family, as I mentioned earlier.

    Clearly, I differ in opinion with you and Stalin: obviously because I was never (and do not aim at being) a business owner. As much as, probably, you have not lived in a socialist country and experienced what I experience. So I guess, we both are getting clear only half of the picture and making our best guess about the other half…


    Final note: in my opinion, bonuses are deserved, earned. Not given, not gifts.

  • Stalin


    You are lost. Obama has taken ahold of you and brainwashed you. I really feel sorry for you. You have a scary reliance on government. You want to be taken care of instead of taking care of yourself. Good luck to you.

  • b

    Stalin I take care of myself just fine without the government’s assistance; though I do rely on the loans that I am responsible for paying back but that is hardly a scary or a reliance. That being said I am not inherently parinoid or scared of government or do I think that it has no place in developing say, a renewable energy policy and providing the subsidies and incentives to get the industry off the ground. We all rely on government for many things and when it works right no one notices but when it fails everyone gets all parinoid and starts thinking that everything the govt does is wrong and regressive. Maybe we just have different views Stalin, maybe we are from different regions and different backgrounds, things and ideas evolve bud.

    Obama has not taken ahold of me as much as I believe in many of his ideas. Now we obviously disagree but I assure you I have not been brainwashed by Obama, (I have only met him twice and talked to him for a munite on one of those occasions… I am very proud of that and I believe in his ideas and his idealism). You are wasting your time feeling sorry for me or anyone in politics we make our own beds and we sleep in them. I voted for bush in 2000 and in 2004 felt that my vote against Gore was the dumbest vote I have ever made. I hope Obama lives up to the ideals he has expressed and the standard of leadership he seems to be creating and bearing or else, like I said before I am gonna be one pissed off moderate. Good Luck to you and all the hair pulling you will be doing over the next 4 o 8 years of the Obama regime.

  • Babs

    “the Obama regime” Yep, that’s what it would be alright. A regime.

  • b

    Babs they are all ruling regimes, the Bush regime, the Clinton regime,… kind of scary in that we all are lookng to the executive to do more and more in our system, a far cry from the executive of the 19th or 18th century. Hail Ceasar!

  • Jonathan

    This is a faux controversy that I will never understand. Either people are really unable to listen, break down what is being said and actually process the content or they just automatically hear what they want to hear. Let me go ahead and break this down very carefully.

    A. The civil rights movement focussed a great deal of efforts on litigation. Even if you haven’t taken a law class on the subject, this should be a fairly easy point to agree with. There were in fact a rather large number of civil rights cases throughout the 50s and 60s, stretching civil rights legislations, bringing up aspects legislators never considered, fighting for rights that were guaranteed but still denied, etc.

    B. This focus on the court was largely to chisel out things that the government (local, state and federal) can’t do, or certain abuses that one is protected from in private dealings (private dealings were mainly with the fair housing act, but also through use of the ‘interstate commerce clause’ of the constitution as basis for forced integration of hotels, restaurants, shops, etc.).

    C. The court, and indeed the constitution however does not state what the government must do. Neither the court, nor the constitution, allowed for the redistribution of wealth, social improvement. HE NEVER ONCE SAYS THAT IT SHOULD, THAT THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE READ AS SAYING THAT OR THAT THE COURT SHOULD HAVE READ IT THAT WAY. Sorry, I need to get that emphasis out because for some reason people keep hearing Obama say that the constitution should be read or the court should have read it to grant the redistribution of wealth. Listen again, and again, and again. It isn’t in there. Not once does he say that.

    D. During the civil rights movement, more so that now even though it is still a problem, large percentages of black people lived in horrible conditions. Black people were often denied spots in higher institutions of learning, had trouble getting decent paying jobs, and were routinely met with vicious violence when attempting to move into a nice home, in nice neighborhoods. I bring this up because people bring up Obama talking about economic justice as if he’s being some awful socialist taking away people’s money when he was talking about the civil rights movement. The concept of economic and social justice and changing the system had a much more potent context at the tme.

    E. A problem with the civil rights movement is that people relied too much on the courts. People should have turned more to community organizations and working on the ground. Here he is saying that people SHOULD’T look to the courts to solve all problems. The courts are limited in what they can and should reasonably be able to do. This is where he is being called conservative by the Harvard professor. He DOESN’T look to the courts to legislate and provide the people what they want. Instead he is arguing that there should have been less emphasis on the courts and more emphasis on working in the community, one-on-one localized organizing and making change happen without turning to the government. He is advocating people changing their own neighborhoods, working towards the change they want themselves and not relying on change being handed to them from a Supreme Court up on high. This is a turning away from the liberal idea of looking to the courts to fix problems and grant new rights. This is a turning away from looking for government to solve people’s problems. Listen to it again or read the passage again. The tragedy of the civil rights movement is that people looked to much to the courts to solve their problems. They should have looked to themselves and organizing their own communities and pushing for the change they desired. The real tragedy was that people didn’t see that they were the best agent of change and the real source of power. This statement is actually advocating that Americans come together and make improvements themselves without looking to the government. He’s actually being judiciously conservative…well moderate really.

    How do you people not get that? What about that is confusing? Why do you just keep hearing what you want to hear when there isn’t a single socialist principle in there?

  • Better Obama’s regime than a 3rd term of Bush’s failed policies surely.

  • EricF

    Finland currently numbers 5,238,460 inhabitants and has an average population density of 17 inhabitants per square kilometre.[1] This makes it, after Norway and Iceland, the most sparsely populated country in Europe.

    i really wish the ignorant folks here would stop trying to compare America to some tiny country. just because some policies may work in a tiny country with low population levels, the model breaks down when you increase the numbers and size of the country.

    if you try to implement any of these socialist policies in America you will have over half the population in line for the handout.

    i really wish you guys would at least make an attempt at doing some research before posting these nonsense comparisons.

  • DJS

    b…you still seem to be hung up on the money spend on Palin’s clothes but you have not commented on the $140,000 for Obama’s Greek columns. When it comes to Obama I guess the sky is the limit. And his waste doesn’t count.

    Has anyone noticed that in the last few days Obama’s limit on the middle class has gone from $250,000, to $200,000 and yesterday it was $150,000. Before January 20th it will be an increase for everyone. And the Obama followers accuse McCain of flip-flopping.

  • Pats

    “What men have done, man can still do”. This leaves me with the question why people think they are incapable of accomplishing what others have. To say I can not do this is self defeat. I’ll try is a sign of determination. To try and fail does not make one disgraceful, does it? I definitely believe that America is capable of achieving any result with their determination. Keep it up America!!!!!!!!

  • DJS

    Pats…I agree with you. And Obama has proven that even coming from a home with a single parent you can still make something of yourself. You need to be willing to work for it and too many people think it should be handed to them. That is why I disagree with his spreading the wealth. Whether or not people agree we are all given the same opportunity in this country. It just depends on how you do or do not choose to handle it. If we lived in another country I could understand that some people don’t have the same opportunities. My daughter decided at 24 she wanted to go to college. She had a part time job and she got student loans for her first semester, studied hard and then got scholarships for the rest of her terms. It proves that hard work does pay off. The only thing we did was let her live at home rent free. We did not give her any money to help her because she wanted to do it on her own.

  • Babs

    Pat, agreed. Palin made an excellent example of this in her energy policy speech today. You should listen to it.

  • b

    EricF why does McCain keep comparing Ireland’s business tax structure to the US? that was my point bud.

  • Antonio


    “just because some policies may work in a tiny country with low population levels, the model breaks down when you increase the numbers and size of the country.”

    You should publish that breakthrough statement in, say e.g.,

    – American Economic Review;
    – Cambridge Journal of Economics;
    – Economic Modelling;
    – Journal of Policy Modelling;

    to mention a few.

    That would enlighten lots of us, folks/freaks, out of ignorance.

    Caveat: if you have flawless proof, of course.

  • EricF


  • Babs

    b, he compares them because the business tax rates there are lower than the US.

  • b

    Babs, EricF:
    If you cant compare Finland or Norway’s system to the US then how can you/McCain compare Ireland and the US. Ireland has a signifigantly smaller population, it is a tiny landmass, it has universal government sponsored healthcare and pension system, it has no real military or security respnisbilities in the greater world, (maybe McCain should move there if he thinks it is so great)… The fact is that the two systems cannot be usefully compared in any way, just as with the US and Finland, or the US and Canada, or the US and Germany… We are a much more dynamic, larger and more populace, wealthy nation. Our solutions to our business taxes, the health care crisis or infrastrucutre problems… evenif there is a bit of a socialized aspect to them, will look, cost, and operate in a very uniquely American way. So hold back on all your socialist comparisons, we are the US and we are very different in almost every way than any socialist democracy that exists anywhere else in the world.

  • Stalin


    If the Barry the Redistributor wins, I’m going to check this out. Thought you might be interested too:


  • Babs

    It doesn’t matter if they have a smaller population, b. Corporations don’t give a rip how many people are there, only that their businesses can operate there cheaper.

  • b

    So you think that a corporation who is selling some good or service would be willing to relocate to Ireland because the business tax is lower, despite the fact that Ireland has exponentially smaller consuming population and with that exponentially less wealth than the US, where the cost of doing business with and in the US would no doubt increase, I simply do not agree. It would be more viable for a business to move Europe and do business in the US based on the exchange rate, and/or the fact that they do not have to worry about the costs and burden of providing health care or retirement pensions (because the gov’ts provide them) than it would because of the business tax. Plus, it pays to do business in the states even at a higher rate for the reasons I have already mentioned: we are exponentially wealthier per capita, exponentially larger consumer base, have a vast infrastructure to deliver goods and service from coast to coast in our huge nation. One more thing, the fact that these companies may want to move to socialist countries for a variety of reasons, does that make these companies and there leaders socialist or in support of socialist regimes?

  • b

    Stalin you are amazing. You would be willing to in essence defraud your country and abandon ship because of Barry O? Loyalty runs only skin deep I geuss, seems to be more about you than the country as a whole, same with these left coast whiners who say they were gonna leave our country if Bush was reelected.

  • Antonio

    I agree that Ireland and the US are definitely not comparable.
    One produces Guiness, the other Bud light.

  • b

    Antonio (lol) I dont know what you mean by that,… Budweiser is not American anymore y’all bought us out, bought up our great American lager, besides Guiness is sooo much better.

  • Antonio

    Better to match Ireland than Iceland which is completely broke as a result of total capitalistic deregulation and this is no joke.

  • Stalin


    Defraud? Watch your words pal. It’s called a business decision. I never said I was going to leave the country. However, if it comes down to going bankrupt or moving my company to Ireland, you can bet your Lucky Charms that I’ll do what I have to.

    Antonio: We can certainly agree on that one 🙂

  • b

    How did a nation of 300,000 end up with outstandnig debt that is 10 times as high as their GDP? hmmmmm…. just as in the US totally unregulated financial speculation I would geuss…(I do not know how tied up they are in this pandora’s box of credit derivitive debt but my geuss is that their banks were players in these very new, ultra risky and enigmatic financial speculation tools.)

  • b

    My apologies Stalin, in all seriousness defraud was a horrible way to characterize the very legitimate business decision that you would be contenplating… I am curious though: would your cost of doing business in the US increase if did relocate, would you be able to operate with the same efficiency? Kind of in the same context I am also curious what your net gain would be from doing that… Obviously from previous threads I know not quite as much about small business so I do pose these questions with genuine curiosity,…

  • Babs
  • b

    If I were to relocate my business I don’t think I would go to Ireland, though they do have comparitively low taxes, I would move to it to the British Virgin Islands were you would pay no corporate or individual income tax and only a 10% payroll tax. That being said, from what I have read even if you did that any profits that you made on business done here in the states would still be subject to at least a 30% tax, but I geuss that would be better than paying 50% or more being based here. In the end I do not think that McCain or Obama have good tax plans… it almost seems to me that we need a revolution when it comes to our tax system, i.e figure out how to remove business here in the states from the costs and the burden of providing health insurance and pension plans, abolish the current tax system and replace it maybe with a flat tax (providing exemptions for essential goods and services) and put in place some globally competitive business tax structure.

  • Stalin


    There would have to be a line in the sand that would have to be crossed. It would obviously be a pain in the butt to reincorporate in a different country. However, I am fortunate that my business can be run from anywhere in the world. There would need to be a considerable push for me to have to make the decision to move my company, but from what I now know about Obama, I think he will put me pretty close to that line. Ireland is just one idea, I would have to consult an attorney to make an educated decision.


    Funny I was just on that site. Looks like they are full of crap…unfortunatly!

  • I agree Stalin, looks like a load of crap.

    One of the saddest things about this election is the complete and utter nonsense that gets posted as fact on the internet, when in truth they’re just some morons overactive imagination. The even sadder thing is, come 2012 it’s only going to get worse 🙁

  • DJS

    Stalin…I just checked out the off shore corporation site. Looks pretty interesting. What so many of the people on this site don’t get is that savvy business owners and rich people find ways to hid their money. They always have.

    As for this $250,000 cap Obama has set, a lot also depends on where you live. If you live in a small town in the southeast your expenses and cost of living is no where near the cost of living for someone living in NYC or SanFrancisco. And businesses already pay one of the highest taxes of all other countries.

    The Obama people seem to think that he won’t go back on his word and change anything but what you aren’t really saying is that with a majority in Congress and Obama in the white house if Pelosi or Reid decide that they need more money it will not take much to convince Obama to raise taxes. Pelosi already has her eye on another stimulis package. It’s only $300B. Which by the way most economists said that the last one didn’t do much at all for the economy. And Barney Frank is already talking about raising taxes. These are Obama’s buddies and once he is in he will do what they want not what he has told the public he will do. All of them do it but whether you have a republican president with a majority of republican in congress or they are both democrats there is no checks and balances. There is no one fighting for us.
    I also believe if the majority of congress was republican and the president was republican it would be a bad idea.

    The democrats in congress don’t want McCain because he has threatened to expose the congress members who insert ear marks into bills. Hillary #1, Obama #2. They don’t want their names smeared all over or next election they won’t be back.

  • Babs

    Stalin, how did I miss your link to the Irish corporation site? Thanks so much for that, I’ve always wanted to go international, maybe now’s the time. 😉

  • b

    Im tellin you all if you are really contenplating moving your business out of the US the British Virgin Islands is the best place in the world, no corporate or individual income tax and a nominal payroll tax,… plus it is much closer to the states than Ireland. Check out the comparisons on this link:


  • Stalin


    Plus better weather. Thanks for the suggestion! Hopefully McCain will win and this discussion will all be for naught.

  • DJS

    Antonio…bonuses are certainly something earned and when my company gives them it is because there was profit earned from the employees hard work. So it is earned it is not just given. But if I have to pay higher taxes it will mean less profits which will mean less bonuses. So the people will be expected to work just as hard but they will end up with less in the end. And when I tell them it is because of Obama raising taxes so he can give to other people how do you think they are going to feel about that.

  • Antonio

    DJS, Stalin, Babs, everyone,

    “And when I tell them it is because of Obama raising taxes so he can give to other people how do you think they are going to feel about that.”

    Bad, I guess. But one needs to see in the long run and on a global basis. I think that voting for a policy calls for opening one’s scope; not focusing one one’s narrow view. Certainly, we are not ants to even give our lives for the good of the “community”; we need to look after our families in the first place. Yet, one needs to see beyond one’s own *immediate* interests (I say “beyond” which is not exclusive). After the 2nd world war, people in Europe worked pretty hard to rebuild *everything* and it is mainly today’s generations who benefit of that.

    In France we are a bit going the other way around but in a sense it is happening what it risks to happen to you in the US: to undergo reforms that we *fear* because, so far, we were used to “something else”. Our new government has passed all types of reforms in many sectors affecting society, economy, politics, education, etc. and it is only the start. These reforms affect immediately our every-day lives and people is angry because they do not see the (immediate) benefit but I believe that these reforms (seen here as highly anti-socialist) will, in the long run, bring benefit. France needs to get rid of many breaks to boost the economy and reduce unemployment, for example. As much as (I think) the US needs reforms that, in the long run, improve the average lives of the average American. If you feel unfair the idea of sharing what you have earned try making a quick rough computation. If you pay, say, 10c per dollar in taxes from these 10c how much might end up in the hands of a particular average American who receives whatever kind of “help” from the government, in cash? which micro-fraction of a cent? Most of the 10c will go in financing foreign policy (war), straightening up the financial situation (which affects more your companies, I am sure), education, roads, etc. So what is the big deal?

    Now, speaking of working hard and success, the US has traditionally been a land of opportunity, of wide, very wide, sometimes too wide possibilities. In my opinion, what Obama talks about (globally) is to regulate more so that America continues to be a land of opportunity but not with *too* wide possibilities. See what has happened recently in the world economy, due to *too* much deregulation.

    Yes, in the short run, for particular companies, for particular individuals as you guys in your businesses and for your workers you may not see benefits but feel all the opposite. But I am sure that your country will only grow as a whole (and not only the economy) when better services are offered such as education and health; that’s a bare minimum that any country that considers itself “1st world” should have. Try not to see this as spreading the wealth but as building a better and more solid future: for the children of your children.

    Now, more concretely, I cannot and I do not pretend to give anyone lessons on how to run a company (never did, never will) but does a small tax increase will really affect you so much that you will need to relocate your business out of the the US; quit paying bonuses, fire people, etc.? Is this possible (small) tax increase the only or most important cause? wouldn’t it be the global crisis we live?
    Sure, there is a grain of good sense in McCain’s speech that one should not increase taxes in times of crisis but one may also think the opposite: the government needs to collect a bit more to face the close future which may only get worse.
    I do not especially like Bush and he has been called socialist for giving 700kM to banks but, what if one after another bank collapsed after Lehman Bros? would companies (including yours) continue to run as if nothing? Say, like in Iceland? the first Western-Europe nation to ask for money to IMF for 30 years!

    By redistributing the wealth *through services* and improving the lives of the average American you *all* win. You are all on the same boat. There is plenty of people who, for instance, have 2 or more jobs. These people work pretty hard. One cannot say they are *given* what they earn and yet, they simply do not have a convenient life level, one that might be expected from a citizen of a 1st world country. Don’t they deserve it? Or, should everyone have a successful company as yours? But then, how would you define success if *everyone* is successful. Success is relative.

    And no, not everyone has the same opportunities; that is a fallacy. The fact that some people manage their way through to the top from the very bottom only proves that *not all* people starting at the bottom remain at the bottom. It does not prove that *anyone* can work out his/her way to the top. For every start-up that has huge success, how many go broke or simply stay at the starting line? and this is not necessarily because some are lazier.

    Guys, after these days of reading so many posts I think that I have come to understand a bit better your capitalistic view of things and I do not criticize it but I wish you came to see that there is more than that which is not as bad as it looks.

    In any case, I wish you good for you, your families and your businesses. Your country will probably see some changes that you fear now but I am sure it will only progress as a whole… in the long run.


  • Bill Hedges





  • Bill Hedges


  • Bill Hedges