The Corner

Obama’s Ideology of Redistribution: Deep Continuity

We can get a remarkably clear idea of what Obama was talking about in that 1998 audio clip where he said “I actually believe in redistribution” by returning to Obama’s education work with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). This was the education foundation jointly run by Obama and Bill Ayers that caused so much controversy during the 2008 campaign. Supposedly, that’s all in the past, but the record proves otherwise.

In early 1999, CAC’s research arm published an evaluation of the foundation’s activities during its first three years. The report included a summary of several different theories of education held by Chicago’s civic leaders. One of those theories of education was labeled “redistributing resources.” According to the report, Chicago’s redistributionists were focused on a plan to have governments at the regional, state, or federal levels take over aspects of local school governance. Undercutting local school control was seen by redistributionists as the key to their goals. Their plan included gaining control of local curricula as well. Chicago’s redistributionists believed that forcing a common national, state, or regional curriculum with only middling standards on local schools would level the playing field (by defining education standards down).

As I noted yesterday, Obama’s 1998 remarks were framed as an effort to “structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution.” That language comes straight out of Obama’s longstanding commitment to the “regional equity movement,” and precisely describes the efforts of Chicago’s education redistributionists to grab hold of suburban school funding and suburban curricula by forcing suburbs into regional super-governments. Clearly, Obama was a member of the “redistributing resources” camp described in that 1999 CAC report.#more#

Obama’s education radicalism has never disappeared. The very same redistributionist ideas that stood behind Obama’s education work in Chicago in the 1990′s now shape his administration’s education policy. Obama’s arguably unconstitutional and illegal push for Common Core standards is designed to dumb down curricula across the country to an only middling level, and to facilitate the redistribution of local school funding as well. I explain the plan here. For a frightening example of how Obama’s Common Core is going to dumb down education in a misguided effort to “level the playing field for all,” see this.

Of course, Obama’s redistributionist policies extend far beyond education. Obamacare and the stimulus are prime examples. I lay out the broader redistributionist rationale of Obama’s first-term policies and second-term plans in Spreading the Wealth, with plenty of links to his radical past. The newly revealed audio nicely brings all this to life.

The links between Obama’s 1998 remarks at Loyola, his education work in Chicago at exactly the same time, and his current education policies and plans also remind us that the truth about Obama emerged four years ago, but has been consistently ignored by the mainstream press. Obama’s radical redistributionist past is real, and it’s never gone away. The deep continuity between Obama’s past and his policies today has only been pushed underground by a media that’s refused to look.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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