Sunday, May 10, 2009
When it comes to politics, the "rich" will sell you the votes to hang them by. Exhibit A: "Barack Obama's rich supporters fear his tax plans show he's a class warrior." What was their first clue? It is not as though he is doing anything differently than he had promised (other than using the economic crisis as a reason to accelerate federal spending to escape velocity).
I have no problem with rich people who supported Barack Obama, but those who express surprise at his class warfare political chatter and passion for the regulation of business simply were not paying attention. That is why I held my nose and voted for John McCain, whose own bashing of wealth, achievement and enterprise was obviously credit-crisis electioneering. Lesser evil and such.
If you are going to be "rich," be proud of it and only vote against your own pecuniary interests to achieve some collateral objective. You know, because you want to treat our traditional allies more respectfully or some such reason (bwahahaha!). Do not, please, be a moron and claim to be surprised when the dude's actions in office closely mirror everything he stood for his entire life up until the last five months before the general election.
TH: You are giving O too much credit saying he didn't stand for class warfare during the five months running up to the election. Instead he just stopped talking loudly about it, letting folks like John Edwards carry the water, hoping as you said that almost nobody would be really paying attention to anything other than razzle dazzle and styrofoam columns.
The leftist class warfare against the rich in this country has taken some strange turns. They used to organized their communities against the rich. Then they organized in discriminatory fashion against "rich Republicans". Now they seem to be organizing against rich Americans, which includes a significant number of rich Democrats. This leads to all kinds of interesting press releases. They talk about prosecuting the "employers" for illegal immigration, but they have to discriminate in the prosecution because a significant number of those employers are Hispanic.
I like to think (perhaps erroneously) that a hefty number of the Democratic "rich" are those whose wealth was attained independent of effort.
Actors, musicians, trust fund recipients, etc. People whose acquisition of great wealth leaves them vaguely embarassed and strangely guilty. Bastions of familial wealth...the super rich...are different. They look upon the world as their own little "Pocket God" game.
So they become liberals. Suddenly, their intentions become more important than their actions (past or present). A big poultice is laid upon what is left of their conscience.
I doubt that these people will necessarily change their mind set. Obama delivering a torpedo below their waterline is EXACTLY what they were really bargaining for...like a mentally distressed woman who keeps going back to the boyfriend who beats her up.
Me....Hell, I earned every dime and will do everything I can to keep it. I hope I have some kindred spirits.
The "rich" are an insignificant voting block without the influence of their contributions. The "rich" don't matter to Obama anymore -- he doesn't need their money. The "rich" can't solve this by turning to the Republicans -- the Republicans have problems money won't solve. Obama wants the "rich" to complain, so he has openings to demagogue them further. The more we debate 95% vs 5%, or 36% vs. 39.4%, the better for Obama.
Obama does need the press, and they're still in his pocket -- witness last night's Washington House Correspondents Dinner. It was revealing in many ways -- a little truth in every jest, indeed. In the end, Obama found a way to give the press a sloppy French kiss, praising their efforts in difficult financial times, blah blah, blah ....
The press were a big part of Obama's getting in -- despite what should have been clear from his record. He was never pressed to apply the rigors of reason to his bullshit platitude ideas. He still hasn't been called on this, even after his proposals have finally been tied to a budget. We will now suffer the consequences, at least for a few years. Don't expect MSM to turn on Obama anytime soon, however -- they're co-opted ... think of them as members of the early Leninist party -- a hint of dissent and they'll be torn apart by the pack. Fox News is mostly irrelevant to this because -- like Rush and the Republican party -- they have no credibility outside a third of the population. Jon Stewart / Stephen Colbert are a better tell on if and when the media tide is turning.
The Republicans define themselves along lines that are no longer effective nationally. I don't expect that to change by 2010, and they may never change sufficiently. Mike Huckabee -- who I like personally -- recently asked the right question ... but gave the wrong answer: "Social conservatism" doesn't work as a national platform, I'm sorry to say. Not in a world where the white illegitimacy rate is now nearly 30%, the black rate near 70%. I used to like Sarah Palin -- but putting Bristol on the road to promote abstinence is too much of a set-up for late-night TV. Don't think I'm against social conservative values just because I say it's a losing national political platform -- much of these values are a private matter, and shouldn't be politicized in what's supposed to be a free country. Don't the religious right believe God gave us free will for a reason?
From now until 2010, blue dog Democrats matter more than the entire Republican party. It'll be interesting to see how this develops. Expect the carrot of bribes, certainly ... but it wouldn't surprise me to see Obama attack some of them personally ... it'll always be someone else who does the dirty work, of course. That's the Obama MO ...
The cleavage points in our politics need to change, but it may not happen until 2012 or even later. They'll likely develop in response to Obama's economic failures ... which may not be clear until after 2012. When it does, it'll likely be along the lines of "those who get government checks" versus "those who pay for them" ... this isn't 95% vs 5%, which is why it matters politically. Obama will make the former group larger -- it's part of his strategy -- but even Bush-Cheney made the former group larger. The "those who pay" group will achieve class consciousness when they realize that Obama's budget deficits will require redefining "rich" as $100,000, or even $70,000 ... and when the top rate is a lot more than 39.4%, once the ceiling on payroll taxes is eliminated. Eventually the young will wake up to the fact that they're being taken advantage of -- that most of them will be doomed to a lifetime as "those who pay." A few years of a no-growth economy will help this class consciousness build.
Very good points, and of course, there is this one:
Hatred (of President Bush) can blind you to reality. Many on the left didn't really think about the last election. I have had very interesting reactions from my anti-Bush friends by bringing up the War in Afghanistan and attacks in Pakistan that President Obama is pursuing. When, I ask, did President Obama claim to be a "peace" candidate? They heard what they wanted to hear.
Most wealthy people pay little attention to politics. They have lawyers, accountants, and airplanes to neutralize the impact of political decisions.
The Republicans have one thing going for them: At the end of the day, most Americans are rather conservative in their daily lives. In fact, outside of a few countries in Western Europe, most of the people in the world are rather conservative.
In the U.S., factions have fought for the soul of the Republican Party throughout my life -- Taft vs. Eisenhower, Goldwater vs. Rockefeller, Reagan vs. Ford. The Republican Party was in shambles after the Lyndon-slide of 1964. Nixon won the White House four years later.
Don't underestimate the ability of Democrats in Washington to piss off the American people. Bill Clinton survived because he didn't do much. An aggressive Democratic administration will make enemies very quickly.
Thus far, Obama hasn't done anything except give away money. Wait until he starts taking it.
... wait until he starts taking it ... exactly ... the definition of Rich is going to reach down to those who figured someone else who earns more than they would be footing the bill. By the time this is all over, I predict we're back to the Clinton years. The thresshold for who pays more will be vastly lower than it is today.
As a character in Mary Braddon's novel, Aurora Floyd put it:
"I should think fellows with plenty of money and no brains must have been created for the good of fellows with plenty of brains and no money."
Someone mentioned the Blue Dog Dems.
Good in theory. But the media always need fables to print.
What really happens is that the newly elected gradually succumb to the lavish benefits of being in office. And they start thinking nothing is more important than staying in office. Nothing!
The newest Democrats will do what the GOP did after winning big in the 1990s. They will quickly notice how nice it is in D.C. and how nice it is to be important and how it all depends on staying in office.
And the notice how pleasant this new life can be if you don't make waves.
But staying in office requires both campaign money and not giving voters a clear reason to elect someone else.
In other words, say what your constituents want to hear but behind the scenes vote with the party and the special interests.
When O or Harry or Nancy need the Blue Dogs - and they won't very often - they will offer goodies. And the BD will vote as told.
The richest tend to parrot the liberal line because it makes life more pleasant. They can appear to be good people, deeply concerned about the plight of others, and tirelessly opposing the bad people who actual rule the world and hurt the lower classes.
And it costs nothing. In fact they usually pay at a lower tax rate than their employees. Warren Buffett has pointed that out on more than one occasion.
The confusion is caused because it is the richest who control the media. They have no fear that what they advocate will come to pass. They have kept matters under control for decades; and it no accident that the tax codes always have ways they can escape the top rates.
But perhaps they should. O is a wild card who may be an elected Lenin. I can't read his mind.
IMO the better bet is that O is just amazingly clever about power and money and intends to get a lot of both. And that his words are simply tools to impress the masses without really challenging the super rich.
Besides the richest there are several people who are relatively rich. They have a few million.
As a class they now have almost no political influence. And they pay the highest tax rates.
And the poor below them, those receiving government money or working but paying little or no income taxe, will vote to keep it that way.
Even so, it is better to have a million or so than not. But I believe that makes them O's main target.
The key is going to be how quick the class warfare spreads from hitting the 'rich' - and in a lot of places in the country $250k / year is not rich, it's borderline upper middle class peak earning years for a two income couple - down to the middle/middle. Once big tax hikes hit the $75k bracket an electorally significant percentage of voters will will start to wake up. Maybe. It's possible that too many people are far too stupid to ever notice. But I have hope.
"The "rich" are an insignificant voting block without the influence of their contributions. The "rich" don't matter to Obama anymore -- he doesn't need their money. The "rich" can't solve this by turning to the Republicans -- the Republicans have problems money won't solve. Obama wants the "rich" to complain, so he has openings to demagogue them further"
Yes...read The Forgotten Man. FDR used this tool well....
How quickly those on the Left forget that the first thing those that they support to power do is to go after their supporters. Their opponents defeated the only ones who are a threat are the supporters...
Being so advanced as to not read history, they are doomed to repeat it.
Ever since the 60s, it's been pretty easy for wealthy people to be leftists. The main issue used to be class warfare, but today it is race, gender, sexual orientation and the environment.
How do these affect the wealthy? They do nothing in terms of making the wealthy in particular feel guilty. In fact, the left allows wealthy women to think of themselves as victims (especially if they are lesbians), but not poor white males. Class issues had almost disappeared, but then the economy tanked and things have changed a bit.
I'm sure wealthy leftists thought an Obama administration would be focused on the usual issues of race, the environment, et. al. rather than on taxing the wealthy.
Ha, ha, ha.
It isn't just the rich!!
The country is in danger because it's citizens don't know history or basic economics. Socialism is where we are right now and that will be replaced by COMMUNISM if we continue the road we're on. Obama is using the same tactics as Benito Mussolini and people are too stupid to see what's happening.
Entitlement seems to have taken over for old fashioned work, ambition and self-respect. People seem to think they can steal from those that worked for everything they have and it is somehow fine because they are entitled. In the real world that is theft.
If Obama makes good on his promise to "reform" the AMT, then most of the rich who voted for him will have benefitted financially from their vote.
The AMT is a tax on wealthy Democrats - people who earn $250k/year as a salary plus bonus are more likely to be Democrats, while people who earn $250k/year from running a business or freelance work are more likely to be Republicans, and more likely to be able to avoid the AMT.
I DO have a problem with people that voted for an unknown and the "useful idiots" in the media that refused to investigate his communist roots!
He wasn't even required to release his birth certificate! Not only is the camel's nose under the tent but you helped elect an enemy of America as it's "leader" or at least the puppet for it's leader.
The Idiot’s Guide to Destroying the Economy: a 12-Step Program Perfected by your Democrat Majority since 2006 (of which Obama participated):
Think destroying the mighty economy of the United States is too big a job for you? Relax. Anyone can do it. A friend sent me a handy-dandy no-fuss 12-step program for wreaking financial havoc among even the world’s most advanced economies. I adapt it below for your edification. Your congressmen probably already have a copy. The White House certainly does. But you might want to print it out in case some opportunity for spreading unhappiness comes your way:
1. Since investors and the market in general hate uncertainty, have a vast array of conflicting ad hoc policy decisions so as to create uncertainty everywhere.
2. Transfer money from those who create sustainable jobs to those who create unsustainable jobs, e.g., the government
3. Promise to invest money in things that will enhance the country’s infrastructure, such as roads and internet access, but then practice bait and switch on a breathtaking scale, so the effort is swamped with pork for pet projects dear to Democrats
4. A sufficiently generous larding of pork can help ensure the destruction of bi-partisanship, so squandering the initial good will is definitely a very good move. After all, it’s hard to get things done when you’ve alienated people whose help you need.
5. Undermine the ability of those who create jobs by increasing their taxes so there’s less money available for investment.
6. While you’re at it, offer to spread the income around by raising taxes, in the process, making it clear to those who work hard, invest in their educations, take risks, save, and delay gratification that they will see their money go to those who do not do these things.
7. Encourage class warfare. Divide the populace and destroy cooperation, thus encouraging backlash and creating paralyzing polarization.
8. Talk up protectionism, since the beggar-thy-neighbor approach has such a long and vigorous history of encouraging depression.
9. Scare people with talk of economic catastrophe. You can backpeddle later, but the initial good work of helping people lose confidence should have a lasting impact.
10. Print money on a scale that will insure inflation in the future. Print it on a scale that will make people not want to hold U.S. debt without staggering interest on that debt, if they’re willing to hold U.S. government debt at all.
11. Instead of allowing hopeless institutions to go bankrupt, pour vast amounts of money into them, prolonging the pain and running up the cost while only delaying the inevitable.
12. Burden future generations with unprecedented amounts of debt so that the economy you ruined today stays ruined tomorrow.
My friend stresses that this list is not exhaustive. Ask your elected representatives for further tips. Or write to the White House: they have loads of ideas for making things worse. But be patient. Ruining the greatest economy the world has ever seen is not something you can do overnight. But it’s amazing, isn’t it, how much progress the President has made in less than two months? Five days before the election, he told his followers that they were that many days away “from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Poor things. They thought he intended to make America stronger. Fat chance.
I have no problem with rich people who supported Barack Obama, but those who express surprise at his class warfare political chatter and passion for the regulation of business simply were not paying attention.Not paying attention? Nah.
What is probably the case is that they were hoping Obie wasn't what he appeared to be, that it was all talk and that once elected, he'd move on over to the center. They didn't bother to consider what would happen if he didn't do that.
If you vote for leftists and they win, don't be surprised when they start governing that way.
There any number of phrases that invoke the Wrath of Murphy, but Wall Street has it's very own: "this time it's different."
Bad enough in business, where all you can lose is your shirt. Take it into politics and you can lose your head - and deserve it.
JPMcT, at Sun May 10, 01:17:00 PM:
"...a hefty number of the Democratic "rich" are those whose wealth was attained independent of effort."Indeed, that is the essential divide in the wealthy class, those who earned their wealth, and those who didn't. Those who didn't do not know where wealth comes from, and assume it just fell into others' laps just as it did for them.
A lot of people didn’t really think the last election through. They were just hopped up on Bush hatred and/or caught up in the images. The dems made republicans seem like stupid rubes and sold them a sort of lifestyle image of their party (so show your cool and vote for us).
Well, call it what you will… Karma… Clue bat.. whatever, but its coming around for payment (re: voting based on hate or treating your party like a style choice… is wrong)… Wack...
The AMT is a tax on wealthy Democrats - people who earn $250k/year as a salary plus bonus are more likely to be Democrats, while people who earn $250k/year from running a business or freelance work are more likely to be Republicans, and more likely to be able to avoid the AMT.That's not how AMT works. AMT limits important deductions, the most important of which is state income tax. Thus residents in highly taxed state jurisdictions like NY, NJ, MA, and CA get killed by AMT. A business owner in CA is just as hurt by AMT as a Democrat receiving a salary.
"I'm sure wealthy leftists thought an Obama administration would be focused on the usual issues of race, the environment, et. al. rather than on taxing the wealthy."
He is sort of mixing the issues. He is going to soak the rich to pay for a bunch of ridiculously expensive (and inefficient) environmental proposals.
When he talks about investment, I think that is part of what he means. In this case, it will sort of be like building a great wired phone network right before cellular… Current solar tech just is not ready for prime time (cost vs. power output)… as soon as we’ve built a [super expensive] system based on it; the tech will probably get way better. :) Oh well, progressive planners making dumb mistakes... old story...
These are excellent comments!
Right now, Mr. and Mrs. America think they are gonna get all this free stuff paid for by 5% of the population.
The tide may turn when the actual costs of entitlement reform, cap and trade, healthcare reform and a bloated $3.5T budget are revealed.
Right now, the govt is spending $2 for every $1 it is taking in. When this changes, the backlash sets in. The only question is timing.
What worries me is this: if the Dems enlarge the population to the leaches to 60% of the total, they will always want to vote themselves rich.
Jews supported Obama. Will Israel be safer?
Blacks supported Obama. Will the naturalization of tens of million illegal immigrants help blacks in the job market?
The rich...well, they deserve government they chose.
Never assume that wealth or lofty position is a sign of intelligence, much less wisdom.
I like to think (perhaps erroneously) that a hefty number of the Democratic "rich" are those whose wealth was attained independent of effort.
Actors, musicians, trust fund recipients, etc. People whose acquisition of great wealth leaves them vaguely embarassed and strangely guilty.
There's at least one part of your thinking that I believe to be erroneous: Including musicians in that group? As people whose "wealth was attained independent of effort," you say? I'm guessing you never learned to sing or play an instrument; the vast majority of us in the music business tend to experience the polar opposite of that situation: A great expenditure of effort for very little wealth.
And not all of us are liberals or expect the government to subsidize us, either...
A conservative jazz musician (yes, we exist!)
P.S. If by "musician" you mean the likes of Britney Spears or other beautiful-but-empty-vessel types, then I get your point, but it's not good to paint all of us with such a broad brush.
There's at least one part of your thinking that I believe to be erroneous: Including musicians in that group? As people whose "wealth was attained independent of effort," you say?Erroneous? Not when you understand that becoming wealthy as a performing artist has nothing to do with effort or skill. It's essentially accidental, a matter of having the right material at the right time. It wouldn't have taken much to turn Jennifer Aniston into just another pretty Hollywood failure. That's why so many performing artists think that success in business is just as capricious as success in the arts: they're projecting from their experience.