With the recent recordings of Romney from the May fundraiser in Florida and Obama's from 1998, I think it is time we backed up and looked at a fundamental question of just what America stands for. If we can't agree on the most basic philosophies and principles of this country then we can not hope to find common ground on how to achieve them.
It is a rather simple Question concerning an underlying fundamental value of the United States of America. We either believe that all Americans are born with the right to equal opportunity to exploit their abilities to their fullest without infringing on the rights of others or we don't. What is the policy significance to answering this question? The way I see it, how we answer this question determines societal policies, government, non-governmental organizations, taxes, and business regulations.
If we answer this question "no", then there is little or no justification for government or charities and it is everyone for themselves. We can return to the birthright aristocracies of the past and the renewal of warlords and fiefdoms. We can eliminate community support of education across the board and return to education of only those that can afford it out of their own pocket. We can return to a road system composed of disjointed, uncoordinated private toll roads with large gaps in between them. We can return to monopoly businesses that use predatory practices to drive out competitors that do not have as deep of pockets regardless of th possibility of having a better product at a better value. We can return to a time when ones parents determined the opportunities one had in life despite ones own abilities.
If we answer that "yes" equal opportunity is a fundamental tenet, philosophy, principle of the USA, then we must face the fact that this requires some degree of redistribution of wealth. Equal opportunity of education, transportation, information, technology, basic human needs security, physical and property security, access to capital, etc. costs money. If the answer to this question of fundamental American principle is yes, there is no longer a question of whether we redistribute wealth. It becomes a question of how best to carry out that redistribution. How best to fund education so that every child has access to the same education. How best to build, maintain, improve transportation, energy distribution, communications, etc. systems. How best to ensure that people don't go hungry, unclothed, or unsheltered (one can not have equal opportunity when naked, hungry, cold, hot, wet. One can't have equal opportunity in this economy without a permanent address or a means of contact like a phone. Job search increasingly requires computer and internet access.
It is time that the debate answer the question of equal opportunity and whether this is a fundamental principle of America or not. Until we come to consensus on that question all the other debates are pointless and a waste of time, energy, money, and other resources. Until then, all other debates are a distraction and manipulation of some other agenda besides the future of this country.