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Readers write about whether or not Barack Obama's tax plan is socialism, the reason we pay taxes, and agreeing to disagree about politics.

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Both candidates want to "spread the wealth"

Regarding the Oct. 30 Opinion piece, "Is Barack Obama really a socialist?": Reading this commentary, I was struck again by how the media and pundits have failed to note the obvious question raised by John McCain's attacks on Mr. Obama's desire to "spread the wealth."

What author Donald J. Boudreaux has failed to appreciate is that if Obama is a "socialist" (lite or otherwise), Mr. McCain is also a socialist. McCain has never advocated the abandonment of the progressive tax system. What Obama and McCain disagree about is what the appropriate nominal tax rates should be for the various brackets in our current tax system.

Obama wants a system that puts a relatively higher burden on those who earn more, while McCain wants a system that puts a relatively higher burden on the middle class.

But neither candidate wants a system that is flat or regressive. Thus, McCain also wants to "spread the wealth."

We all should think more deeply about our tax system, whom it benefits and penalizes, and whether it is an appropriate tool through which to enforce policy preferences.

We should not, however, believe that Obama's tax plan proves he's a socialist unless we are willing to concede that McCain, too, is a socialist.


I take strong issue with the author's contention that Barack Obama's tax plan is any more "socialist" than John McCain's. Every tax law from the beginning of time has redistributed wealth. The only difference between one tax plan and another is who benefits more versus who pays more.

Senator Obama is simply suggesting that the people benefiting the most, should also be the ones who pay the most.


The reason we pay taxes

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