The impulse to redistribute income did not begin with the Obama administration. In the 1970s, when income was seemingly more equally distributed, progressives called for increased government income redistribution.
There are two ways for government to redistribute income from the rich to the poor. The first is through universal benefit programs. The second is through means-tested benefit programs, which will be addressed in future columns along with why government shouldn’t be doing any of this at all.
A universal benefit gives everybody a government benefit. Since all enjoy the goodies, getting rid of it is politically problematic. That is why presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson made sure that all old folks got Social Security and Medicare benefits — they knew it would make the programs popular and untouchable.
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