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November 9, 2008


BigDialog: Ask the President-Elect :: From David Colarusso: "We are directing questions to President-Elect Obama and plan to fly the top three questioners out to MIT to tour the Media Lab and for a networked event with his transition team, assuming we can get them to agree."

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Comments (2)

I would like to ask where Obama feels he is authorized by the Constitution to speak of "spreading the wealth"? (Sincere question and not just razzing by one of the "48")
I am a military officer and have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. I am familiar with its contents and NO WHERE do I see the government (and specifically, NOT the Executive branch) granted the power to tax in order to redistribute wealth.
If this is what Mr. Obama intends to do, I would appreciate his candor in simply saying, "I know this is not part of the American system, but it's something I want to change." That is, I would appreciate his honesty in just admitting that he would like to take the country away from its foundational document and towards something he obviously finds more amenable--Socialism.
Talking about "healing"--his honesty here would go a long way instead of what appears to be doublespeak.
Our Constitution does not grant the government the authority to decide that you "make too much" or "make enough" and that simply by virtue of having more money, you OUGHT to pay more into taxes (and, after all, in sheer dollars, of course the more wealthy already do, but we're talking about forcing them to pay more proportionately)--all in order to help those "coming behind" the "rich."
On what Constitutional basis does Mr. Obama justify this plan?

(From Ze: Good question - that is what the project is for - you should ask it on the site)

Posted by: Stephen D. Oliver at November 11, 2008 5:06 PM

I disagree with Mr. Oliver. I think that the primary role of taxes in a society is to redistribute wealth. The wealth is redistributed in the form of public education, welfare, heathcare, security (military, police, national guard etc.), roads, hospitals, schools, etc. The system hasn't been working though. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing and although some people really fear anything that even remotely suggests helping one's neighbor (because we all know that it's communism and let us not forget it), it will be our demise. Poor is being redefined. Those who once were middle class are falling below the poverty line. They are the parents of the sons and daughters that your sons and daughters go to school with. They are the sons and daughters of those in the military. They are the sons and daughters in the military. The American Dream is becoming just a fantasy. For an immigrant to come into this country and pick up a job then make a living to support a family is near impossible. But who cares about immigrants. Real Americans have no problem making a living, right? No. Millions of people who were born in this country and raised by this country's system and follow the laws and work hard every day are living below the poverty line. There are teachers and EMTs and those in other professions that allow us to live comfortably, without worry, who educate us, who we overlook, living on welfare. Not because they are lazy or aren't trying, but because it is the only way they can keep a family going. Forget keeping it together, keeping them alive is hard enough. Single parents and couples alike struggle each day to provide for their children.
So when Obama and his supporters speak of spreading the wealth, they aren't talking about turning this government into a communism, or being a Robin Hood type figure stealing from the rich to give to the poor, they are talking about making this country a place where the American Dream can come true. Making this country a place where if you work hard, no matter who you are, you can become great. And if not great, then at least support a family and provide so that your children can become great. Obama isn't trying to say someone is making too much money or is too rich or too poor, he's saying that our fellow countrymen need our help. Spreading the wealth is not a free handout, it is a helping hand to those who have been working hard to achieve their American Dream yet cannot because the system won't allow it.
I thank you Mr. Stephen D. Oliver for serving your country. You have bravely dedicated yourself to the protection of this country; something I could never muster the courage to do. You have taken an oath to protect the constitution but I have taken an oath to. I am a 15 year old high school sophomore living in Anchorage, Alaska. My mother is a single middle school teacher who struggles to hang on to her house. I see her stress everyday over the bills yet she never lets it affect her teaching. Everyday she religiously gets up early, makes me breakfast, makes sure I get to school on time and goes in early to her school to prepare for her students. I say I have taken an oath. It is the Pledge Of Allegiance. But I do not pledge allegiance to the government of the United States of America, or to the constitution, or the flag. I pledge allegiance to the people, to the "for which it stands." Or for which it once stood. To those that are trying to achieve their American Dream. I hope Obama's policies will allow them to turn that fantasy to a reality. So that when I grow up I can fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. Because with things as they are now I would not pursue that career because I want to support a family; be able to do it on my own if, God forbid, it should come to that.
It is a good question. I hope Obama will be able to answer it. I'm sure he can.

Posted by: Adam Levy at November 12, 2008 3:33 AM

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