In response to Mike.
This isn't an argument exactly. It's more of a challenge. I am trying to raise some questions about the absolute sense of ownership that conservatives often appeal to when they oppose even modest redistributionism.
The graduated income tax is already a little bit redistributionist. Obama made a comment about "spreading the wealth around" but McCain did not come out for a flat tax, and along with Obama and the Bush administration signed the bailout package. So by the time McCain started using the "Joe the Plumber" anti-redistributionist argument, it seems to me he was being a tad hypocritical. But one can be a more consistent conservative than McCain is.
If you read what conservatives often say, the implication is that redistribution of any kind takes money from those who merit and and places it in the hands of those who don't. I am asking whether this is a bit of a naive picture, given all the effects of economic luck which result in my having more than the Smiths but less than the Joneses.
Conservatives have to either say:
1) There is no economic luck. (Not plausible).
2) The extent of economic luck is overrated. Differences in income reflect differences in desert to a much larger extent than liberals are willing to admit.
3) Economic luck is real, but the losses incurred when you use government to correct that economic luck are not worth it.
By the way Mike, I am glad someone finally tackled this.