A few days ago Drudge Report linked to a radio interview that Barack Obama gave seven years ago in which he said that the Supreme Court did not act radically in the Civil Rights movement because it didn’t consider wealth redistibution.
Maybe I am showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but you know I am not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know the institution just isn’t structured that way…. Any of the three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts. I think that, as a practical matter, that our institutions are just poorly equipped to do it.
The McCain campaign jumped on this as proof that Obama would like the court to redistribute wealth, but in listening to the interview, I don’t get that impression. The major media outlets such as the Washington Post beat up the McCain campaign:
In other words, Obama says pretty much the opposite of what the McCain camp says he said. Contrary to the spin put on his remarks by McCain economics adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, he does not express “regret” that the Supreme Court has not been more “radical.” Nor does he describe the Court’s refusal to take up economic redistribution questions as a “tragedy.” He uses the word “tragedy” to refer not to the Supreme Court, but to the civil rights movement:
What the WaPo says is true; Obama doesn’t say he wished the court had considered wealth redistribution. It seems to me that what he is saying is that wealth redistribution is better accomplished through legislative action. Is that supposed to be better somehow? Doesn’t that still show that he is in favor of wealth redistribution? The important point here is that he favors wealth redistribution. The method he chooses to accomplish it is irrelevant.
It seems apparent that Obama favors wealth redistribution. Anyone who believes otherwise just hasn’t been listening. The question we face as a country is whether that policy is something that is based on sound economics; will it make us richer or poorer as a nation. The answer is no. Our country faces a shortage of capital (i.e. savings). We cannot solve that problem by taking money from savers and giving it to those more likely to spend it on consumer goods.