Some are getting up in arms over the idea that Barack Obama’s tax plan amounts to “redistribution of wealth”, a concept that is wedded in the American psyche to socialism which is in turn equated somehow with the Soviet Union. Here is the simple calculation I wish someone would present to the public. The annual U.S. federal budget is now $3.1 trillion. With about 300 million Americans, that amounts to $10, 000 per American. The only way we don’t redistribute wealth on the federal level would be for tax to be a flat citizenship fee of $10, 000 per person. After all, all people are given equal protection by the military, have equal access to the interstate system, have equal access to the products of federal scientific research. Let’s put aside for the moment that some federal programs are targeted. Not even Joe the plumber would argue that everyone should pay a flat fee of $10, 000 instead of a percentage of income. If tax is anything other than a fixed dollar amount for each individual, then the government is by definition redistributing wealth. We are and have been “socialist” by this definition for a long time, and will continue to be. The only discussion should be over degree: how much more should a millionaire pay than someone on minimum wage?

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Planetary Scientist and Asst. Professor of Physics at University of Central Florida; Movie Buff; Trekkie; Jethro Tull fanatic; part-time actor, piano player, writer; and full-time husband and father.

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