Gergen: Reagan supported ‘redistributed’ wealth program
CNN’s Anderson Cooper talked with David Gergen about charges by the McCain campaign that Barack Obama has socialist tax policies. Gergen doesn’t think that the Democrats have answered the charge effectively.
GERGEN: They may be making some modest progress with it, Anderson. We did see some evidence of McCain coming up a point or two here and there. I don’t think it’s anywhere near close enough to win an election. And more importantly, I don’t think the Democrats have really answered it appropriately.
You know, Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, was very much an advocate of what’s called progressive taxation. Ad that is the rich pay more than the poor in terms of taxes.
Now, one of the most effective popular programs we’ve had in the last three decades. It’s called the earned income tax credit. It’s a program whereby, if you’re a working person, a working couple and you’re below the poverty line, the government will actually give you money. That’s a redistributed program. It’s a program which takes money from the upper classes and gives it to the lower — to the working poor.
Now who started that program? The earned income tax credit? Ronald Reagan. It was one of the — it was an achievement of the Reagan administration that Bill Clinton then built on.
So I think that these arguments are — you know, some of them get so carried away that they don’t recognize the realities of what we’ve been going through in public policy and the big arguments about why the wealth over the last 30 years has been redistributed. It’s been redistributed upwards.
This video is from CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, broadcast October 27, 2008.