“The rich makers are redistributed to the rich takers. That’s basically what Obamanomics is all about.”

Arthur Brooks, president of AEI (where I am serving a fellowship) put it very aptly on CNBC last Friday in the video clip above. He’s talking about the fiscal cliff legislation, which, by my math, hiked taxes on the rich to (almost) pay for tax breaks for big business.

Brooks’s formulation is important in two ways: (1) demonstrating the falseness of Obama’s populist justifications of government meddling, and (2) correcting the common GOP misconception about how redistribution works today.

Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments embodied the confusion about Obamanomics that persists in parts of the Right. The problem today is not Congress and the administration taking money from you and giving it to shiftless lazy people who don’t work. The problem is Washington taking money from people who are creating value and redistributing it to companies that have the best lobbyist and the coziest connections to government.

The sooner the media understands Obama doesn’t govern as a populist, the better. The sooner conservatives stop worrying about welfare queens — and starts worrying about corporate welfare queens — the better.