GOP contender Rick Santorum picked up an important endorsement today with the official backing of Iowa kingmaker Bob vander Plaats of the FAMiLY Leader. Campaigning at the organization’s headquarters in Pella, Iowa, Santorum made some surprising remarks in support of income inequality:
“They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality. I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality..
“President Obama is for income equality. That’s socialism. It’s worse yet, it’s Marxism,” Sanoturm said. “I’m not for income equality. I’m not for equality of result – I’m for equality of opportunity.”
Oddly, Santorum acknowledged that social and income mobility is lagging in America — a key reason income inequality exists, through no fault of workers who find themselves working harder and longer for less money. The decline of social mobility contradicts Santorum’s assertion that people making more money deserve it because they work harder.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has put America’s staggering wealth gap front and center in the national debate. Between 1979 and 2007, average after-tax incomes for the top 1 percent rose by 281 percent while middle class wages stagnated. The top 1 percent controls roughly 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. At the very top of the income scale, the 400 richest Americans have seen their share of income quadruple in the last 12 years, while their effective tax rates were halved.
A recent poll found that Americans’ fears about income inequality are growing, with two-thirds of likely voters saying the middle class is shrinking, and 55 percent saying that income inequality has become a big problem for the country. Santorum, evidently, thinks more of the same is what they need.