JONATHAN CHAIT APRIL 12, 2010
Interesting interview by David Weigel:
"He had fundraisers, he had meetings, all in the suburbs -- the white suburbs," said Hasney, who attended one of those events. "He had nothing in the district. We got him elected. Then, he goes and says 'but I have to represent my district,' which is all liberal, giveaway, spread-the-wealth, welfare, black. We thought he would try to change the demographics of that district by supporting things that were not giveaway things.
I wouldn't necessarily call "spread the wealth" a racist codeword. But it's worth understanding that public opposition to income redistribution is largely a racist phenomenon. Ethnocentric attitudes among whites correspond strongly with opposition to transfer programs -- even when you control for partisanship, ideology, and other factors.
There's absolutely nothing at all inherently racist about opposition to income redistribution. It's a social philosophy that deserves to be treated on its own merits. Still, we have to understand that when Republicans denounce "spreading the wealth," Ayn Rand devotees are not the bulk of their audience. The bulk of their audience understands this in racial terms -- Democrats want to take money from hard-working white people and give it to lazy black people.