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August 31, 2010


Here's what I would do to "get" these rich Democrats.

1) eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes. The richie riches live in Blue States, which have high state and local taxes, so this will target the right kind of people.

2) eliminate the deduction for home mortgage interest. The richie riches live on the coasts, where real estate is at a premium. Their home costs are higher, so the value of this deduction is higher for the richie richs.

3) eliminate Fannie and Freddie by phasing them out over 10 years by slowly lowering the limit to the size of the mortgage these entities will finance. Same reasons as #2.

4) totally get rid of the federal student loan program, and freeze tuition rates at all colleges. This will put a squeeze on the educated, liberal Democrats who populate the educational-industrial complex. The only way colleges will be able to survive is by cutting salaries.

"jason"'s implication is that he is willing to pay more taxes if it gets him the nihilism he wants. With pseudo elites like him, no wonder our country is swirling the drain.

So basically, you're agreeing that rich people (Jason as an example) are idiots.

Because when Bush was President there was no illegal immigration (damn those nativists!), abortion was illegal, gays cowered in fear rather than prancing naked in the streets in parades and serving as Presidential advisors, and all mention of evolution was stricken from public school textbooks. It took the brave Obama administration to defend the first amendment against the unconstitutional attack of McCain-Feingold. Ahh, I remember it well. Um, now that I think about it...

[HS: Wrong, "jason" correctly understands the differences between the two parties. Someone might say, similarly, that tax policy hasn't much changed since Obama was elected, he just allowed tax cuts to expire the way they were enacted while Bush was president and the difference between 35% and 39.6% isn't a terribly huge difference anyway. And we still have the same health system.]

It has been argued that the very rich actual get more income and benefits under left/liberal regimes than they do under right/conservative regimes. Goldman Sachs and Harvard being the prime examples.

This is cart-before-the-horse stuff. Rich people are not more likely to vote Democrat because they have more money. People who live in large metro areas on either coast are more likely to have high paying jobs and live and work in areas with liberal social attitudes. They don't vote Democrat because they make a lot of money, the do so in spite of making lots of money.

Talk to an entrepreneur in a place like Indiana or Alabama who's built a successful business and is making, let's say, $500K a year. You won't find many Obama voters among that crowd.

[HS: Warren Buffet lives in Omaha, Nebraska and he's a Democrat. The number of $500,000/yr entrepreneurs in such places is pretty tiny, and we really don't know how they vote.]

Rich people vote Democrat for the oldest reason of all: to distinguish themselves from the middle class. They don't care so much about distinguishing themselves from the poor, becuase anybody looking at them will know they aren't poor, but it is very important to them NOT to be considered middle class. I know. I have tons of rich relatives who vote for Democrats. What's important to the rich isn't taxes, and it isn't abortion (though that's what they may say it is).

What's important to them is that they are different from Sarah Palin. Why? Becuase they want to think of themselves as upper-class. It's a gut thing with the rich. Certain people are "not our sort." They would laugh at that Victorian expression, but that is exactly what they base their vote on.

They also get a psycho-sexual thrill out of associating w/ black people. As long as it's all theoretical.

So there you have the basis of the Democratic party. Black people and the rich. The black people get affirmative action and welfare, and the rich get to define themselves as different from the middle class.

"What's important to them is that they are different from Sarah Palin."

Palin is staunchly working class.

Define "rich". Rich is a very broad umbrella term that is oftentimes adjusted relative to one's current standing. There are those who made their fortunes at Silicon Valley, and others on Wall ST. Then there are the blue-blooded individuals who inherited their wealth, although the Social Register isn't too reliable of a source, since many have an upper-middle income and wealth (although most listees are still firmly in the top economic bracket).
Many in the Social Register such as Richard Mellon Scaife are staunch Republicans.

Also, the other day I have found an interesting webpage about class issues. I am going to annotate on a few of the comments, I'll put my commentary in brackets:


A few years ago, I listened to week-by-week reports from a radical working-class friend who tried to join a corporate globalization group. He told me of snide comments about his fast food

[Fast food isn't good for anybody. Gaining profits is the fast food industry's ultimate raison d’être. The industry simply does not care about the consumer's health. The person should stop consuming trash.]

For professional-middle-class progressive activists like myself, it's easy to understand why working-class people would be alienated by the mainstream culture of well-off people. After all, we

[use "they" to maintain the objective voice, even if you yourself are well-off.]

tend to be alienated by it ourselves, because it represents values we've rejected, like greed and materialism [Although we live in a material universe and are ourselves made of material...]. But the idea that working-class people would have any negative reactions to our own subculture [According to whom?], in particular our values-based "alternative" norms, tends not to occur to us.

Earlier in the workshop, we had worked on some "what would you do?" scenarios based on real-life situations, including conflicts over cultural issues like smoking [Don't do it!], health food [which is actually popular along the entire class spectrum] and religion [talking about religion is normally bad form]. In the next exercise, the group pretended to create the most unwelcoming of all possible organizations, easily generating a list of barriers that keep working-class people out, such as high dues, locations far from public transit, and no translation. In the same spoofing mode, I asked them, "But let's say that some working-class people did nevertheless manage to get into this organization. What would we do to make sure they felt uncomfortable and to stop them from taking leadership?" The group launched in with gusto: "A dress code — nothing but tuxedos and evening gowns!"

[What if they had brought their own evening clothes? The people within the group should have listed particular sartorial rules.]

"Fancy food — caviar and champagne!" "The real business takes place at the golf course at the country club!"

[Why wouldn't a working-class person enjoy golf? Perhaps it is the infamous WASP food that would be served at said club?]

A light bulb went off over my head. Middle-class activists imagine working-class people will have a negative reaction to the cultural style of the ostentatiously wealthy

[Notice the use of a word with completely economic connotations. While the upper classes are indeed wealthy, there are other factors such as social and cultural capital, inherited wealth, educational background, lineage, tastes, and other variables that separate them from the merely "wealthy". Besides, the ostentatiously wealthy are offensive to everyone, and parents even teach their children not to be ostentatious, since a person wouldn't want to announce to the world that they inherited (or earned) a lot of money. It is bad form to discuss money, although talking about one's investments]

And if we believe our values to be superior, we may take a superior attitude that working-class people will correctly read as classism.
White middle-class activists sometimes give people of color and extremely poor people a free pass from our harsh judgments. But no such forgiving brakes are on with "mainstream" white working-class and lower-middle-class people, who are too often thoughtlessly branded as the enemy...

[See? This is what I said about America being divided along class lines, and how the middle class wants to keep down the working class. People who work for the education system might think they are performing a good service, but many are actually maintaining the status quo because of the tracking system. The middle class wants to secure spots at college for their children to continually build and maintain their family traditions and social and/or professional connections. Besides, someone has to fight overseas for other people's interests, repair roads, and mine, it just isn't going to be the Middle class family's inept children.]

No matter how unwelcoming your Christian family is towards your Wiccan practices, that mistreatment is not actually equivalent to the racism faced by people of color, or the classism experienced by working-class people. The uptight bosses and relatives who make you wear a tie

[there isn't anything wrong with wearing a tie, just do not buy a clip-on, have a couple dozen, made of silk, 3 1/2 inches wide at the widest point, and don't have anything too wild.]

I'm thinking of the 1971 hit song "Signs" by the Five Man Electric Band: "And the sign said ‘Long-haired freaky people need not apply'."

[Especially in school where you receive a demerit for your hair touching your blazer collar]

The cultural differences between PMC and working-class activists are not just neutral differences in taste or style, in which each party should give the other equal deference, but power differences between people with different amounts of education, social and cultural capital, and clout in the wider society.

[in other words various, degrees of social initiation and a person's relationship to the overall means of production].

Of course, working-class people can have negative reactions to mainstream professional-middle-class culture as well, not only to alternative PMC subcultures. Four-dollar coffee drinks

[then they should upgrade to a better brand than Starbucks. Many smaller places and Gloria Jeans have a higher quality coffee than Starbucks. The Atomic Bean Cafe, while oftentimes full, is nevertheless an excellent place for tea or coffee.]

, therapy

[They probably disliked having to go as a child]

, tennis skirts with little green whales on them

[ The individual who had a problem with the tennis skirt probably wasn't "disgusted", but was probably jealous that the other person went to Nantucket, since Castaway Clothing has a location there. The tennis skirt with the Kelly Green whales immediately comes to mind, and there are also pants and shorts with that particular whale as well.]

, and the word "whom"

[I'm going to assume they were probably annoyed because it was not used correctly. Perhaps somebody asked "Whom did what?" Which would be the equivalent of "him did what?"]

are just as likely to get disgusted reactions as tofu is. And if you hear a parent negotiating with a child about when to leave the playground, look around for who's rolling their eyes, and listen for the class overtones in the comments, like "F**king yuppies!"

[I find the implication that the working class is offended by proper child rearing practices to be classist. I find it difficult to believe that anyone would roll his or her eyes in such a scenario. Besides, why are they swearing in front of children?]

But alternative PMC activists can be especially attached to our distinctive subcultural traits because they're part and parcel of our activism. Ironically, PMC liberal reformists sometimes do better at recruiting working-class people; the more radical someone is, the more likely they may be to blow it as a cross-class bridge person.

[That is because the PMC ipso facto comes across as more professional, and therefore more credible than the pandering radical.]

Especially embarrassing to me are middle-class white people who badly imitate the accents, music, clothes and hairstyles of low-income black youth

[an example of a sentence a working class black might use is: "My running keeps my badonkey lean." Notice the word "badokey." One can infer my street credibility by my knowing this word]

Showing that you're "down with the people" actually takes consistent hard work and commitment to their causes; there are no shortcuts via mimicking their style.

[It has worked for George W. Bush. Bush Jr. had a talent for pandering as evidenced by the fact he connected with the majority of his working class constituents.]

One of the first ground rules for successful cross-cultural bridging of any kind is authenticity; we need to be who we really are. Fakeness

[Affectation would have been a better word. "Fakeness" seems like a very poor word choice compared to artificiality, affectation, etc.]

is usually detected, and it worsens [exacerbates] the mistrust that's already there towards PMC people.

In my experience, I'm usually identified as PMC at 20 paces. One working-class woman said (once she finally started to trust me) that she had assumed I was a snob because my posture was so upright.

[You will not be respected or taken seriously if you walk in a slouched manner; and have a weak bearing and deportment. Anyone with a weak stance in business would be taken advantage of, since others would sense a lack of spine.]

And at one meeting of a low-income grassroots group, I realized that I was the only person in the room with all my front teeth [That is a very classist statement].

But as civil rights activist and Sweet Honey in the Rock founder Bernice Johnson Reagan said about coalitions, "If you're comfortable, you ain't (sic) doing no (sic) coalescing."

[The non-sequitur contains a false assumption (in addition to a double negative): one can indeed be comfortable while growing with other people. Besides, "ain't" isn't a word]

"Yet households earning at least 150k offer a bigger picture of the affluent voter"

I have to disagree. $150K is pretty nice, but it's attainable by most college educated two income couples, and a lot of plumbers and carpenters too. It's also a sweet spot for two income government employee households. This looks a lot like massaging the dataset to get the result you want to see.

"social issues that so clearly make the most educated (who also happen to be the wealthiest) recoil at the thought of Presidents Palin or Gingrich"

According to GSS data, $250K plus households are still the group most likely to be or lean republican, even controlled for just the last two years (Insanely cool tool for running GSS data: http://sda.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/hsda?harcsda+gss08). Likewise, holders of bachelor's degrees are the group most likely to be or lean republican, and not by a narrow margin. The effect tapers off for those with graduate degrees, but people with graduate degrees as a group are not much more likely to be top earners. It's important to bear in mind over half of all graduate degrees are in soft, low paying fields like education (28% of all masters degrees are EdMs) or public administration (http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/2010/section5/table-gfs-1.asp). Looking at the degree numbers from for-profit U's, it's safe to say there's a healthy dose of diploma mill MBAs in there too. A two income household in this group would easily hit the $150K category, but certainly not be on any "top earner" track.

That said, I'm pretty sure your right about people like Jason. I just don't think there are as many of him as Politico hopes.

I find it odd that "jason" is concerned about perceived infringments on the 1st Amendment but ignores the left's attach on the 2nd Amendment.

And, beside, who does "jason" believe is violating the 1st Amendment? It seems to me that the left are the ones that squash any disagreement.

"As one of these 'wealthy' dems, I can safely say with 1000% certaintly [sic] that I would certainly like to pay lower taxes. But even MORE than that I don’t want anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, nativist, anti-immigrant, anti-first amendment, global warming and evolution deniers who think Obama is a reverse racist anywhere near the white house. Its [sic] amazing that this editorial utterly ignored the sorts of social issues that so clearly make the most educated (who also happen to be the wealthiest) recoil at the thought of Presidents Palin or Gingrich. So I will take 39.6 taxes if it means people are free to be gay, atheist, and black. And if it means that laws are based on science, not religion."

I agree with what he says, although it was crass and gauch to announce being wealthy. Something tells me that Jason dresses his help in business casual and visits Southampton, and not to visit the Meadow Club either.


I doubt that the minimal change in Obama's approval among the wealthy shows anything other than their having strongly formed opinions.

The wealthy aren't being hammered as hard in the recession, so have less of an incentive to shift their views of Obama. Doctors, lawyers, bankers, wealthy entreprenuers, corporate managers, scientists and engineers, and other high paid professionals are doing okay even now. They have good incomes even now and can afford gas, food, school, healthcare, and even a few luxuries.

Also, they have a lot of personal wealth tied up in the stock market and the real estate market, which haven't done too badly since Obama took office. There was a big fall off in stocks and real estate in 2007 and 2008, however, which many of the wealthy continue to blame on Bush's policies.

Additionally, the unemployement rate is only about 5% for college graduates. It's around 8.5% for associates, 10.5% for HS graduates, and 15.6% for dropouts.

The rich don't care that much about gay rights or evolution. Their primary concern is money, investments, and career. Sure some of them in the blue states are going to have liberal social views, but Red State rich are conservative. Just head out to exurban Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, or even (yes!) the eastside of Seattle to meet wealthy conservatives. For these people, a lot of life comes down to their net worth. Under Bush, it went up a lot, so they liked him. Then it went down a lot in 2007 and 2008, so they moved over to Obama. Now it's staying stagnant, so their views of Obama aren't changing much.

If stocks or real estate tank, or college graduates see their income/unemployment rate go up, Obama is in trouble with them too.

There was that meeting in SFO in which the press was not allowed. Barry O. got his marching orders from the ultra wealthy. Case closed.

Rich, educated people haven't changed their minds much because they make up their minds early. I already know I'm going to vote against Obama. I'm not even waiting to see who he's running against. It's the uneducated "independents" who don't know much about politics that change their mind about politicians.

Timon has the best point of anyone. Wealthy ~ intelligent ~ strong political opinions.

Ha, it's like Thomas Frank in reverse. Not "What's the Matter with Kansas" but "What's the Matter with Williamsburg".

Jason is a dope, and so is Palin (Gingrich is not). Who cares about what some president's view of science or religion is. What is most important is the people giving advice to the president - that is the factor that forms policy - and policy is what determines the size and focus of government. I don't want the focus of my government to be on wealth transfer programs or other such social programs that benefit those classes that contribute little or nothing to our economy. With that in mind, if Palin is the nominee I will hold my nose and support her against any democrat. By the way, I am an independant, atheist, libertarian.

I suspect Jason's income isn't what he claims. As those of us who pay the top marginal rate and are in business know, the top marginal rate right now is 35% plus 2.9% on all income for medicare tax. That totals to 37.9% now. If O lets the tax cuts expire the top rate will be 39.6 plus 2.9 = 42.5%. This fact is usually ignored by those discussing the tax rates on TV news shows (MSNBC, FOX, etc). Add to that the NY income tax and we now get over 50%.

Voting democrat is a good status symbol for wealthy whites. A house with 15 bedrooms is bad taste, and a Lamborghini is poor taste, but an Obama sign in the front yard says the same thing about your spending ability: "I can pay $100,000 more a year in taxes and not bat an eye".

SWPL's and elite white progressives are great at separating their personal lives from their public political statements. All of them attended universities with few if any blacks or Hispanics but talk about their support of diversity. They picked their careers to avoid immigrants but talk about their support of immigration. They talk about the future but few if any of them have plans to have children. How can someone who has no stake in the future really care about the future.

SWPL have been through the modern education system and are great at parroting what they believe the elites want to hear.

My guess is that most of them are good at cheating on their taxes and mixing their professional with the personal so that someone else gets stuck with the tax bill.

I really like the first comment on this thread about four ways to sock it to the blue-state, Obama-loving elite. This should be the Republican platform!

There's nothing to explain why wealthy people would shift from overwhelmingly Republican to mostly Democrat in just a few years. There haven't been any major cultural shifts in the last few years. The SWPL, gay rights, counter culture stuff is decades old and already has manifested itself in voting patterns for years and can't explain the sudden shift leftward.

More realistically, wealthy people liked Bush because their net worth (stocks, bonds, real estate) went up. Then it crashed in 2007/2008, so they later hated him and, by default, Obama benefited. Wealthy people's net worth hasn't fluctuated much under Obama, so they have reason to get excited. If the stock or real estate market crashes, expect Obama to become unpopular with the wealthy.

For the less wealthy, net worth isn't so much. So their employment rate, which is lower than they'd like, and salary, which is stagnant or declining, influences their thinking that much more.

"Also, I don't understand why people oppose raising taxes on people with $250K household incomes when that class itself actually supports Obama. I say, let them get what they deserve!"

This class has close ties to the government and is getting checks from government socialist programs as service providers (as well as from government jobs, from more liberal lawsuit settlements, and from more generous government contracts) that exceed what they pay in increased taxes. A wealthy democrat is likely a lawyer benefiting from higher lawsuit settlements, or a medicare service provider, or a politician, or a federal employee in middle management or a minority government contractor. In other words, the benefit more from liberal spending then they pay in increased taxes.

Rich and upper income people can be for immigration and diversity because they can insulate themselves from it. These people view others who want to stop immigration as being unsophisticated. This gives them a feeling of intelluctual superiority without actually having it affect their lives. None of these rich Dems send their kids to inner city black schools.

I was watching some show on cable that had a rich girl in Manhattan throwing a party and she ordered a cake from New Jersey of all places. All the girls at this party were white except for 1 East Asian. These people might very well vote Democratic or liberal on social issues,but they don't live like it. I am sure these girls are sickened by "racists" and discrimination,while at the same time living a very sheltered life in their own milieu. I am sure they laugh at people from the South and even from the suburbs of NY as backward and racist. All Americans must live in diverse areas except them of course. The same goes for the people of West LA.

It's too bad that we don't have a party that was anti-immigration,anti-diversity,pro choice,pro gay rights,didn't believe in global warming,higher taxes ,no national health care,pro evolution,pro death penalty.Also,you would have the opposite party.

What would Jason vote for?

I'LL bet most Republicans accept evolution and many black Democrates don't. Just as many black Democrats don't want gay marriage.

I'll bet most working class and upper working class republicans accept the "implications" of evolution quite readily, weather or not some may want to cling to the veneer of religion. Probably most just take a wait and see or plan and adapt approach toward climate change.

For meany upper middle class, lefty democrats, the Gaian and Multi-cult religions tamper with their understanding of science as much or more than any born-agains or conservative catholics. They are the ones demanding we change all of our lightbulbs meanwhile possessing a carbon footprint that makes the average proletarian blush.

I'm telling you the best and brightest of flyover and blue-collar coastals will storm the gates within this decade and it will be like the storming of the Bastille. I have teenagers and talk to them and all of their friends (in a mixed-class New England town). They see the policies of the U.S. gov. and the educational system stacked against them. The history curriculum of the high schools is literally stuck on an endless loop of slavery and white guilt, but these kids are becoming like young dissidents. you can see that they have their own Samizdat. It is quite striking and I think going unnoticed. I do not believe this group will tolerate downward mobility without a fight.

My take on it: for many people, their religious faith is more important close to their heart than their net worth. For "Jason", as for many "progressives", forwarding the Equalitarian religion trumps all other concerns.

For the really wealthy, what matters is prestige. They've got all the money, so status and prestige are what they lack. Think about where the wealthy socialize with other wealthy people: at fundraisers and charity galas. The wealthy right-wingers like Kovner and Singer and Adelson and Druckenmiller and Robertson tend to be recluses . . . They don't care as much about impressing other wealthy people.

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