The Corner

Obama in 1998: ‘I Actually Believe in Redistribution’

In 1998, Barack Obama talked up the idea of government redistributing resources “at a certain level to make sure everybody’s got a shot”:

What that means then is that as we try to resuscitate this notion that we’re all in this thing together, leave nobody behind, we do have to be innovative and thinking what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live. And my suggestion, I guess would be that the trick, and this is one of the few areas where I think there are technical issues that have to be dealt with as opposed to just political issues. I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure everybody’s got a shot.


The theme isn’t that much different from what he’s constantly saying on the stump, talking about giving everyone fair shots and how the rich should pay more in taxes. But he is careful now to not say “redistribution.” 

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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