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Hard Numbers on Obama’s “Sharing the Wealth”

2 min readBy: Scott Hodge

In a recently televised exchange with self-employed plumber Joe Wurzelbacher, Senator Obama was remarkably candid in expressing why he supports wealth redistribution through the taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. code – "it's good for everybody."

Here is a excerpt of the exchange:

"Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?" Wurzlebacher asked.

"It's not that I want to punish your success," Obama explained. "I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance for success too. My attitude is that if the economy's good for folks from the bottom up, it's gonna be good for everybody … I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

While Obama may be honest about this support of redistribution, he has not been candid about the sheer amount of redistribution his tax plan would entail. According to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, the Obama plan would redistribute $144 billion per year from the top 1 percent of taxpayers to taxpayers in lower income groups.

It is interesting to point out that while Obama talks about how his plan would benefit the middle-class, the plan delivers the largest benefits to two groups outside of the middle – households earning less than $30,000 and households earning between $100,000 and $200,000. Each of these groups would receive more than $40 billion in benefits, roughly 50 percent more than any group in the statistical middle.

Of course, the vast majority of "tax relief" for low-income earners is in the form of refundable checks, in other words cash handouts distributed by the IRS.

Cash Income Level in $Thousands

Amount of Tax Cut (-) or Tax Increase (+) in $Billions in 2009

$0 – 30


$30 – 50


$50 – 75


$75 – 100


$100 – 200


$200 – $500


$500 >>


Source: Tax Policy Center

For more on Obama's wealth redistribution plans, go to: