See also kill the poor.

Any transaction is a redistribution of wealth. The $15 CD you purchase impoverishes you by $15, which gets redistributed to various individuals in the music and retail food chains. But when a politician or his mark mouths the phrase, it's usually a pile of bunk, designed to equate something with hordes of angry peasants coming over to violently divvy up the master's huge tracts of land, in order to conduct a more economically meaningful existence. The only modern-day vestiges of such a redistribution of wealth comes in the form of the various proposed agrarian reforms in past decades in places like Latin America and, recently, Zimbabwe.

But to single out some government policy as "redistribution of wealth" is dishonest in the extreme; it's all redistribution, not just the policies you don't like. Isn't Social Security, in its current form, a generational redistribution of wealth? (And aren't the schemes to privatize parts of it a redistribution of wealth to the securities industry?) When Ronald Reagan and the Democrats and Republicans in Congress put the country essentially on a war budget, with massive increases in both defense spending and the national deficit (a trend started, actually, in the tail end of Jimmy Carter's term in office), there was a redistribution of wealth away from the unrich, in that among the first places to look for spending cuts was in social spending, grants and subsidies that go to the "poor", as the stereotype goes (Medicare and Medicaid, for instance, but you'd perhaps be surprised at how many middle-class families avail themselves of that "stuff-for-the-poor"), but also to the "common man" (Pell Grants and unemployment insurance, et mucho al). The various cuts were such, that when the Reagan/Bush early-90's recession came along, Bush and Congress had to pass a series of supplemental unemployment-insurance bills to essentially restore the amount of coverage that would have existed prior to the redistribution of wealth to the rich in those Reagan/Bush years. It was either that, or deal with an angered, unemployed peasantry.

And, by the way, aren't high estate taxes a plague of the rich? Aren't they smart enough, savvy enough, to hire the proper tax lawyers to get around all that, much as those who were in the old, rarefied air of the 90% income-tax bracket found it worth their while to retain the services of a good tax lawyer or accountant? Those who should be scared of high estate taxes can afford to work around the scare, while the other (conservative estimate) 95% of the population can rest easy, with the confidence that those peasant hordes won't be coming around to hijack Grandpa's golf clubs after he kicks the bucket.

Taxes themselves are the lifeblood of government "by the people, for the people". If they're too high for your tastes, after all the various tax cuts over the decades, maybe you're just too greedy. Or maybe you should move.

America: Love it, or leave it.