Meant to post on this over the last week or so, but didn't find the right moment. Reads particularly insightful now with a whole week's hindsight…
Like most non-American observers I have been struck by the repeated Repulican accusations that the Junior Senator form Illinois was a rabid (boo-hiss) socialist…spreading wealth around etc…
As this typically urbane New Yorker piece points out, the actual difference in fiscal policy was minor (4.6% of total tax burden) and affects only those earning whopping big amounts (as Barack himself pointed out repeatedly). And it's primarily created by letting the bush tax-cuts for the super rich lapse…
But it's not the inability to interrogate the policy details and 'do the math' that is surprising to european eyes; no, it's the fact that a group of folk so keen on community and mutuality should see sharing resources and wealth around such a bad thing. Guess it's not about the thing after all…
I find this clash between the individualist and social traits in US culture repeatedly surprising – between self-determination, independence and collectivist conformist ideas. Socialism's just one pressure point.
While you ponder this, here's a new game: spot the American Socialist
"…we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively
Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the
development of these resources occurs"
"wealthy people can afford more…because
they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t
pay nearly as much as you think they do.”
"Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more"
PS none of these is a Democrat