Media Amplify The McCain Campaign’s ‘Socialism’ Charge

On the stump recently, both Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) have been calling Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) economic plans “socialism” because he wants to “spread the wealth” by raising rates on the top two federal income tax brackets back to the level at which they were under President Clinton.

The Tax Policy Center noted that “sharing the wealth, as McCain puts it, is what government does.” But this hasn’t stopped the media from amplifying the McCain message by questioning if Obama’s plan amounts to socialism or even Marxism.

The most egregious example was put forth by WFTV Orlando’s Barbara West, who asked Sen, Joe Biden (D-DE) “how is Sen. Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?” But the media haven’t stopped there. Watch a compilation:

As the New Yorker pointed out yesterday, “the principle that Obama evinced, which most economists would regard as unexceptionable, can be traced to Adam Smith.” In The Wealth of Nations, Smith wrote:

It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

Furthermore, a new analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice found that only 2.5 percent of Americans would lose any of their Bush tax cuts under the Obama plan.

Not only should those in the media point out that McCain’s charge is false, but they should note that McCain also plans to redistribute wealth. He just wants to redistribute wealth to the already wealthy.

Currently, the United States’ income concentration is at its highest level since 1928. McCain, though, has embraced the Bush economic agenda, proposing to make all of the Bush tax cuts permanent. From this, the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers would only see 12 percent of the benefit. Meanwhile, the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers would see a $1 million tax cut under McCain’s plan.

As Ben Armbruster noted on ThinkProgress, “Seeing that McCain’s policies have little to offer the average American, it seems he is now forced to acquiesce to the fringe right wing talking point that Obama just might be a Marxist.” But this doesn’t mean that the media need to follow suit.