Friday, April 4, 2014

Obama, “Redistribution of Wealth,” and Code Language

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms.

George Orwell (1903-1950), Politics and the English Language

“Redistribution,” as in “redistribution of wealth,”  is a word and a phrase that are verboten in the White House.

A code word is a word or a phrase designed to convey a predetermined meaning to a receptive audience, while remaining inconspicuous to the uninitiated.   It is camouflage language.   It is saying not what you mean and meaning not what you say.   It is euphemism at its best and most deceptive. 

To liberals, "redistribution" is the essence of ObamaCare.   It is what it is all about.
To conservatives,  “redistribution “ evokes negative  images  of socialism or the social  welfare state.  “Redistribution ” connotes ideas of  transfer payments from the well-to-do to-the-not-so-well-to-do, from the Have’s- to-the-Have-Not’s, from the wealthy-to-the-healthy, from the young- to-the-old,  from the upper-classes t0-the-lower –classes,  from those –receiving-subsidies-for-health –exchange-plans-to-those-not-receiving- subsidies,  of government subsidies of food(food stamps) or housing,  of thos not-on-the-dole to those-on-the-dole. to conservatives,  this is not what American free enterprise should be all about.

Redistribution” is a loaded word that conjures up all sorts of unfairness in people’s minds,” said William M. Daley, who was once Mr. Obama’s chief of staff. Republicans wield it “as a hammer” against Democrats, he said, adding, “It’s a word that, in the political world, you just don’t use.” 

The word "redistribution" is toxic at the White House, where it has been hidden away to make the Affordable Care Act more palatable to the public and less a target for Republicans, who have long accused Democrats of seeking “socialized medicine.” But the redistribution of wealth has always been a central feature of the law and lies at the heart of the insurance market disruptions driving political attacks this fall. 

Therefore, in the White House, never, never associate the word “redistribution” with the health care law.  Redistribution” creates images and false impressions of “single payer”,  “socialized medicine,” “rationing,” government bureaucracy,” “social welfare state, “nanny-care,” “class-warfare,”and so forth. President Obama does not want to known as closet socialist.  

ObamaCare”, has said the President, “ is not a redistribution argument.  This is not about taking from rich people to give to poor people.  This is about us together making investments in our country so everyone together gets a fair shot.”

It is not about  what Karl Marx (1818-1893) so famously said  , “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

It is not about what Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) meant when she uttered these words, “ The problem with socialism is that eventually  you run out of other peoples’ money.” 

And it is not about what Winston Churchill (1874-1965)  saying  when he observed, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism the equal sharing of misery.”

"No, no," President Obama might have said, “ It  is  not about the illusions or delusions of the past.  It is not what others say it is about.   It is about the opportunities of the  present and the future of ‘fairness’, ‘fair shots,’  ‘spreading the wealth,’ and ‘social investment.’ “

Tweet: The Obama administration abhors the word “redistribution” because it evokes the image of President Obama as a closet socialist.

No comments: