Given the GOP’s turn to calling Obama a socialist these days, I’ve been focused on explaining to folks how McCain’s own off-the-cuff mortgage crisis solution is more “socialist” than anything proffered by the Democratic Party. Others, though, are keenly noting that for all her talk of “Barack the Redistributionist,” Sarah Palin’s own way of collecting and doling out oil dollars in Alaska is one of the best examples of wealth redistribution you can find in America. In this vein, Hendrik Hertzberg has a great Comment in the latest New Yorker, summarizing thusly:

For her part, Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama “Barack the Wealth Spreader,” seems to be something of a suspect character herself. She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveller of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face. The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government’s activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year’s check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.

(Note that I, like many in this nation, don’t find anything intrinsically wrong with wealth redistribution; that’s one of the core principles of taxation as it’s been implemented for years and years across the United States. I just think the hypocrisy of the GOP, the throw-any-label-hoping-it-sticks behavior, is at the same time both repugnant and hysterical, and I love seeing them get hoisted on their own petards.)