The tax system has relatively little effect on the distribution of income. In
contrast, the transfer system has a significant equalizing effect. The transfer
system includes all transfer payments such as Social Security benefits,
Medicare, and Medicaid.
Conservatives hate ALL entitlements because they represent an effort to correct the economic and social imbalances in society. Conservatives are Social Darwinists. They believe that is OK for many, many people to remain poor, for old people to have no health care, and they don't want hard working people to have a secure if modest retirement if it's funded by Social Security payments. This really sheds a lot of light on the dark Hobbsian/Lockeian philosophical underpinnings of conservatism. Conservatives trumpet liberty above all other values. They prefer unfettered capitalism with minimal or no governmental involvement as an economic model, even though we've seen over and over again in the last two centuries how unregulated capitalism leads to excesses and abuses such as child labor, unsafe working conditions, unfair low wages, etc. Conservatives forget that there is an even older pre-Hobbsian Platonic philosophical quest: the search for a just society. Conservative skepticism about the ability of government to solve economic and social problems doesn't mean that government must remain powerless to intervene and correct the worst examples of injustice, and lessen the burden on those in society who are not in a position to help themselves. One of the most curious examples of the warped conservative viewpoint is the belief in something called "moral federalism," attributed to conservative pundit George Will by Andrew Sullivan on Sullivan's website. Will (and Sullivan) think that "moral" issues like gay rights and abortion ought to be left to the individual states to decide. What ever happened to the federal constitution and the guarantees of the Bill Of Rights? I guess we don't need them anymore. If "moral federalism" was how we governed ourselves, we'd still have "separate but equal" in the South! It's necessary to really take a hard look at what conservative thinkers say and write. It's really quite a crock.
Photo: plants, flowers and gifts are available at "Garden Grove" in downtown Cherry Grove