Politics & Policy

College Exam Declares ‘Income Redistribution’ to Be among the ‘Main Functions of Government’

Nope.

A question on an exam for a course at the Milwaukee School of Engineering declared “income redistribution” to be among “the main functions of government.”

The declaration was part of a question on an exam given on April 29 in in Professor John Traxler’s Healthcare Economics class, a copy of which was obtained by Campus Reform. It read, in full:

One of the main functions of government is income redistribution. This means:

A. Regulating businesses so they pay their fair share of taxes

B. Taxes (as a percent of income) are higher for the wealthy

C. Taxing the wealthy and giving it to those in poverty

D. Taxes (as a percent of income) are higher for those in poverty

The correct answer to the question was “C.” Now, that is in fact the correct definition of the phrase “income redistribution,” and had the question simply stuck to asking for the definition, there would have been no problem. But that wasn’t the case. I guess Traxler just couldn’t resist the temptation to inject his own leftist beliefs into a test question, despite the fact that they pretty clearly had no place being there.

Or, as a professor at another school, Duquesne University, told Campus Reform: “The first sentence is not necessary for the test question and thus is really just serving as propaganda.”

Now, to be fair, “income redistribution” has (unfortunately) become one of the “main functions” of our government today. But the thing is, that’s not what the question stated. It made no mention of any specific time period, nor any specific government. Rather, it boldly declared “income redistribution” to be a main function of government — that is, inherently and in general — despite the fact that that’s an opinion, and one that that many people, myself included, oppose strongly.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online

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