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June 08, 2012

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here is also evidence that people born to money are a lot more liberal than people who are self-made.

I'd add people who are in industries that have a lot of income disparity, like entertainment.

Quote: "Of those worth more than $30 million, two-thirds support Sen. Obama, while one third support Sen. McCain"

Isn't it possible that these people are more likely to be Jewish than the less affluent group?

There's something else that distinguishes the $1-10 million crowd from the $30+ million folks: the latter made their money without having to come into contact with the large public, i.e. future benefit recipients. The guy who saved $2 million running a pizza joint for 30 yrs. knows them well.

The libertarian community is slowly starting to understand that its fiercest enemies are not poor people, but rich people.

It was self-evident since the start though.

The highbrow class has only one motivation since the beginning of human history, ensuring for oneself and one's heirs a life free from care, with no actual work except political intrigue and lobbying efforts. Playing by the rules and being a libertarian activist is the worst thing you can do to achieve this goal. It is far better to use coercion and violence. When it is disguised (socialism), you have hit the jackpot.

It's "the" government, the "uppermost" and stop using "a lot" it is tasteless, please refrain from spreading ebonics or prole talk.

The top doesn't support Obama, they control that puppet.

"whom the top out-of-sight vote for"

The idea of an "out-of-sight" elite is just about the most ludicrious idea I've ever seen posted on this blog.

The "elites" who you are ranting about are not trying to remain hidden, they just haven't done anything that would warrant them becoming a celebrity.

Only a very small percentage of very wealthy families are known to the public because they don't do much to bring attention to themselves because their lives are more stable than normal people because they don't have to deal with normal money issues and because they tend to have inherited socially beneficial cognitive profiles that help keep them out of trouble.

Only when a family enters politics or does something to make themselves into a celebrity, a la Paris Hilton or Donald Trump, does the public take notice of very wealthy families.

The "out-of-sight" elite is not deliberately staying out of the public eye and there is no reason for drooling yokels to stalk ordinary wealthy families, unless they are planning to kidnap one of them and hold them for ransom.

"I'd add people who are in industries that have a lot of income disparity, like entertainment."

I don't think the salient aspect is the income disparity; I think it's that luck plays such a large role in success. Every successful Hollywood star probably remembers a few similarly talented acquaintances that never hit it big, and that probably makes them more amenable to a Rawlsian/lefty world view (not so amenable that they would want to give away most of their money though).

I also think you see a liberal tilt (to less of an extent, perhaps) in Silicon Valley for similar reasons: the large role of luck in that industry.

DaveinHackensack,

I think your own to something here. Certain industries and careers, especially the kind that allow you do be modestly wealthy after 30 years, are grind it out professions. In a grind it out profession you more or less get what you put in, with some variance. Most of these people are just an upper middle class couple with two low six figure incomes.

However, the startup lottery and the winner take all entertainment industry lottery are much more luck based. I've known many people that poor their hearts into a start up and end up with nothing.

"A high proportion of self-made affluent people ... buy into the idea that they have earned their money themselves and they don’t want no government stealing their hard earned money." -- Half Sigma

So they "buy into it" eh? Yeah, well, that's because they did earn it. And it is stealing when voters elect politicians to take things away from others.

***

"They are also likely to look at the class above them and think that high taxes are preventing them from getting to that next class."

I don't like it when people break into my house to steal things. Is that because of jealousy, too?

Off topic:

Have you completed your value transference pamphlet?

"I also think you see a liberal tilt (to less of an extent, perhaps) in Silicon Valley for similar reasons: the large role of luck in that industry." - Dave


What you said is only part of it. The liberal bent amongst Silicon Valley and tech types in general is also due to the large role government played in the development of all that stuff.

"So they "buy into it" eh? Yeah, well, that's because they did earn it. And it is stealing when voters elect politicians to take things away from others."


That success was only enabled by living in the USA. Just take that facebook co-founder Eduardo Saveren ditching America. I don't blame him btw but his ingratitude reflects just how ignorant so many rich people are. Yes they had to claw and climb their way to the top and nobody handed them anything (although Savern's family was already loaded) nevertheless there is a reason facebook didn't come out of South America, Africa, or even Europe and northeast Asia if you want a more fair comparison. Nobody appreciates the big picture when they're successful (only us losers and weirdos think about this stuff).

Progressive income taxation affects high-earners and not those who inherited their money.

"Progressive income taxation affects high-earners and not those who inherited their money."

Bravo! This is the most concise way of saying it. It really provides the wrong incentives.

HS could do you do a segment on how sport viewership demographics correlate with social class and culture?

Why wonder what upper-middle class watches besides golf, yachting, polo, F1 Grand Prix and tennis? Does the one percent even watch TV or attend sporting events? Or are they too busy attending social functions like fundraisers and galas?

ASDF,

"In a grind it out profession you more or less get what you put in, with some variance. Most of these people are just an upper middle class couple with two low six figure incomes."

True, but I think there's also a subset of wealthy folks from non-Hollywood, non-Silicon Valley fields who went through enough of a grind-it-out phase in their businesses that they have a conservative world view. For example, consider the founder of the Five Guys restaurant chain (who, ironically given his conservative leanings, has gotten a PR boost from Obama's frequenting of one of his restaurants in DC). Before he started franchising and generated massive wealth, I suspect he and his sons went through a grind-it-out period where they worked out all the little details of the business while hustling to earn a modest profit.

Conquistador,

"The liberal bent amongst Silicon Valley and tech types in general is also due to the large role government played in the development of all that stuff."

Maybe, though the government's role is pretty far in the rear-view at this point.

"Just take that facebook co-founder Eduardo Saveren ditching America. I don't blame him btw but his ingratitude reflects just how ignorant so many rich people are."

He's expressed gratitude for the opportunity he got from living in America, and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes as a result of his gains from Facebook's recent IPO. But since he has been living in Singapore for years and intends to stay there -- and since complying with US taxes on an ongoing basis will be an administrative headache -- he is renouncing his US citizenship. He will still owe US taxes from his IPO windfall though.

Speaking of elite, I just read 'Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mother'. I'm not sure how much of it is exaggerated, but it is an excellent and engrossing read. Amy Chua is startlingly honest about the battles in getting youngest daughter to practice the violin. Recommended.

I see one of the daughters has her own blog.

http://tigersophia.blogspot.com/

I still find it amazing that rank-and-file Democrats believe Nancy Pelosi became Speaker-of-the-House for the purpose of using the Democratic Party to raise taxes on herself.

Yes, of course the top 1% watches sports. Why do you think Credit Suisse has Roger Federer appear in its ads, for example? Why do you think there's a celebrity row at Knicks games? Why do you think billionaires pay so much to buy NFL or EPL teams? Why do you think Bloomberg terminals cover sports?

"Does the one percent even watch TV or attend sporting events?"

They do, but it's for entertainment only, they never get emotionally involved and support a team like the proles do.

And maybe the >100 million would vote for McCain again...

Voting for Obama would be good evidence that the "top out-of-sight upper class" are merely rich people who do not effectively have any political influence or act politically or socially in a visible fashion to advance their own interests.

Voting for the "American political party that's not very effectively either the party of the rich or the party of the poor" (basically the Dems are trapped trying to please Wall Street and the Unions and their base) would be what we would expect from those rich people don't really understand how to pursue their own interests politically.

>

Most of the income rich people earn ("earn") is not subject to a progressive income tax anyway. They have investment income.

The upthread examples and dot-coms are apt. I think Dinesh D'Souza lamented something like a "casino economy."

SLATE ran a similar article back in 2004. Households worth 1-10 million a year planned on voting for Bush, while households worth over 10 million planned on voting for Kerry. The columnist there I hypothesized that over 10 million is just FUCK YOU money. You're secure in your social status, so welcome to the club.

As much as American mythology wants to imagine the unencumbered rugged individualist going out into the world and creating wealth in a vacuum, the tyranny of reality will always bring things back to the fact that wealth is socially created.

"They do, but it's for entertainment only, they never get emotionally involved and support a team like the proles do."

Nonsense. It's not uncommon to see tears of joy and emotional embraces from a billionaire when his team wins a championship, or his horse wins a race.

"I still find it amazing that rank-and-file Democrats believe Nancy Pelosi became Speaker-of-the-House for the purpose of using the Democratic Party to raise taxes on herself."

Rank and file Democrats don't believe that. It would require some thought to have any idea. They don't think and they don't care. They just want free stuff. They don't care who Pelosi taxes to give them free stuff. They just want free stuff. It is that simple. Pelosi et al get elected and tax the productive and give money and create profitable loopholes for their bottom feeder voters and their corrupt elite donors. That's it.

Excellent post!

Class warfare is and always has been about the wealthiest pitting the lower classes against the middle classes.

I've often wondered why Republicans don't use the facts you report to fight fire with fire by focusing on policies that would hurt the > $30 million, but benefit everyone else.

For example, what if high marginal INCOME taxes were replaced with wealth or property taxes.

I think the answer is simply that the ultra-rich have too much power and influence. Not only do they control the Democrat Party, but the 1/3 or so who support Republicans are powerful enough to influence Republicans against such a policy.

-Mercy

"As much as American mythology wants to imagine the unencumbered rugged individualist going out into the world and creating wealth in a vacuum, the tyranny of reality will always bring things back to the fact that wealth is socially created."

Why does everything have to be so caricatured and dichotomous? I've never heard anyone say entrepreneurs create wealth "in a vacuum". As for wealth being "socially created", I don't know what that means. What I do know is this: one entrepreneur with drive, talent, and luck is usually able to drag along a whole bunch of others to wealth. The corollary of that is that most wealthy individuals aren't that one entrepreneur: they are his wife, his kid, his 5th employee, his financial adviser, his attorney / real estate agent / etc., who got a piece of the action early, in lieu of some of their fees, etc.

"That success was only enabled by living in the USA."

Even if that was true, others had the same opportunities. So it's really just an excuse to dig one's hands in others' pockets. It was asinine when Geithner said it, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6MmCe5qzFQ

"Why does everything have to be so caricatured and dichotomous? I've never heard anyone say entrepreneurs create wealth "in a vacuum"."

You have never encountered Libertarians and "Objectivists" who claim any form of government taxation is a form of "slavery"?

"As for wealth being "socially created", I don't know what that means."

As socialist Thomas Sowell points out in his book BASIC ECONOMICS, not even the wise free market remunerates commensurate to an individual's material contribution (he uses the example the race for the home run king, noting that Maris benefited from having Mickey Mantle in the on-deck circle). Education, national defense, roads/transit system etc enables wealth creation. Indeed, it's probably a pre-condition for it.

When the politics of class are fleshed out to their logical conclusion, it makes perfect sense that the TOOS class are democrats, or more accurately pro-communist.

In a communist country, the middle class is eliminated and two classes remain, a very small TOOS administrative class (who is not subject to wealth redistribution), and proles.

In a capitalist country, the middle class is the bain of both the prole class and the TOOS class. To the TOOS class, the middle class represents production surplus that is allocated unnecessarily, via middle class salaries / capitalist gain, to people other than themselves. In truth, a managerial/capitalist middle class is completely unnecessary from the perspective of the TOOS class. The only people that they need for survival are proles. To make matter worse for the middle class, their increased level of wealth, education, and social cohesion (in theory) also makes them the primary political / physical threat to the TOOS class. Proles, even in far greater numbers, are much less capable of being a threat without a higher source of organization and direction. Therefore, the middle class is likely viewed as both a financial and political/military threat.

To the lower class, the republican/libertarian middle class represents an attack on socialist values that would give them a better safety net, recipients of an unfairly allocated production surplus that could otherwise go to raising their wages, as well as an unfair upward force on prices for many items/amenities that they feel as if they should be able to better afford.

No one wants the middle class to exist except the middle class. Truly, they are an island unto themselves. It's true that many proles politically support this class because they feel as if they have a shot at becoming a part of it, but few will as a matter of percentage.

If top out of sight vote so Democratic, and most inherit their money, why are Republicans so against the death tax? They should really be for it (it's really the most small-d democratic tax as well).

TOOS is , for all practical purposes, divine.

No one can touch them, and they can do whatever they want.

It will stay that way forever.

Out of sight could mean either of these things (or all of them):

- people you never meet because they are so much above your stannding and milieu, safely ensconced in their country clubs.

- a class of people that was once highly visible in the public sphere (academicians, politicians,attorneys, physicians,bankers etc), but that no longer are as relevant. Basically, they are old money no longer running the country. Wasps quietly going the way of the dodo.

-millionaires who avoid conspicuous consumption out of puritan values and/or prudence and fear of the IRS.

"You have never encountered Libertarians and "Objectivists" who claim any form of government taxation is a form of "slavery"?"

Whether I have or haven't, what impact does it have on your decision to reduce complex issues to dichotomous caricatures? Still an unenlightening approach, no?

"Education, national defense, roads/transit system etc enables wealth creation. Indeed, it's probably a pre-condition for it."

Even intelligent libertarians acknowledge some legitimate and necessary roles for government (police power, enforcing contracts, maintaining certain vital infrastructure, or regulating quasi-public utilities that do, etc.). Some on the left (e.g., Elizabeth Warren) go a step further and claim that successful entrepreneurs 'owe' the rest of us, because essential government services are necessary conditions for the economy their businesses operate in. Of course, Warren elides the point that successful entrepreneurs contribute far more toward the provision of those essential services with their tax revenues than do the non-rich.

"Whether I have or haven't, what impact does it have on your decision to reduce complex issues to dichotomous caricatures? Still an unenlightening approach, no?"

No. It clarifies assumptions. We can taxation is "theft" or "slavery" or "robbery" or that it isn't.

"Even intelligent libertarians acknowledge some legitimate and necessary roles for government (police power, enforcing contracts, maintaining certain vital infrastructure, or regulating quasi-public utilities that do, etc.)"

And Hayek even advocates a social safety net. I believe HS has a post contrasting principled libertarians (he may call them "religious libertarians") and utilitarian libertarians.

"Of course, Warren elides the point that successful entrepreneurs contribute far more toward the provision of those essential services with their tax revenues than do the non-rich."

It's rather remarkable how some people can conveniently ignore their own boilerplate rhetoric. Suppose I can work for one of two companies. Company A lets me keep 95% of every sale while Company B lets me keep only 5%. Which is the better deal? Well, that rather depends on the size and frequency of the sales, doesn't it?

The rich could very well contribute more if we had an explicitly regressive tax structure, but it's not obvious that such a system promotes the greatest good for the greatest number, or passes tests for fairness.

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