The Liberal Obsession: Spread the Wealth Around

Liberal Democrats have a singular obsession: the gap between rich and poor. Close it with Robin Hood-style soak-the-rich policies, and America will be a better place, they believe. "Spread the wealth around," presidential candidate Barack Obama told "Joe the Plumber."  

It's an obsession, of course, that's also found in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela and Castro's Cuba: places where such policies have not created innovation, investment and wealth -- but instead created poverty.  

Last night on the PBS Newshour, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an influential Illinois Democrat, again raised the Democrat's spread-the-wealth banner - putting forth the usual liberal crackpot theories about how to reduce the federal deficit - namely, she explained, by utilizing massive soak-the-rich tax polices and huge cuts in defense spending.

But what underpinned Rep. Jan Schakowsky deficit-reduction plan was her obsession with closing the gap between rich and poor -- a goal she's obviously unwilling to address with business-friendly policies, entrepreneurship, and a free market. She explained:  

Well, you know, we have right now the greatest disparity in income from the rich to the poor and middle class than we have had since 1925, right before the Great Depression.   And this kind of income inequality is not good for our economy.

And it's certainly not good for people who have seen their incomes stagnant or falling over the last couple decades. In fact, all of the growth in wealth went during the Bush years to the top -- wealthiest people in our economy.   It is not a good situation for us to be, as Nicholas Kristof has called, like a banana republic.  

In Britain during Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's conservative pro-growth policies in the 1980s (now making a comeback in Britian and Europe), left-wing Members of Parliament had the same obsession: closing the gap between rich and poor -- even though Britain's economy was humming and rich and poor alike benefited from that prosperity. Here is the prime minister's famous response to one of those left-wing MP's during "Question Time" in Britain's Parliament -- a lesson from "Economic's 101" that Democrats like Rep. Schakowsky would do well to learn: