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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

... By the Rich, For the Rich

I don't know why anyone thinks that the Democrats represent anyone but the rich. Matthew Continetti, at the  Washington Free Beacon, writes about the annual meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a misnamed group of wealthy donors and Democratic party super-PACs that want to turn their campaign contributions into government influence. Continetti accurately describes the situation:
[Liberals] cannot conceive that progressive donors engage in the exact sort of influence peddling they so lustily condemn.
. . . Earlier this year the Democracy Alliance scraped away groups that were not affixed like barnacles to the hull of the Democratic Party and left alone the groups that were. One of the founders of the Democracy Alliance, the hedge fund investor George Soros, announced at an Alliance luncheon in New York City in late September that he would donate $1 million to Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama Super PAC that accused Mitt Romney of killing a woman with cancer. Progressives bemoan the influence of big money even as they write seven-figure checks.
. . . So the upper echelon of the political party that controls the White House, the Senate, the executive bureaucracy, and is 17 seats away from a House majority is committed to a group of insanely wealthy people who avoid disclosure and accountability by indirectly funding nonprofits. Yet this same party howls that Republicans are in the pocket of wealthy individuals. 
. . . The individuals and foundations that comprise the Democratic fundraising base in general and the Democracy Alliance in particular benefit from tax subsidies and mandates for non-carbon energy; from government-funded research and development; from trade and tax policies that favor Hollywood and Silicon Valley; from measures that increase union membership and therefore dues to union bosses; from infrastructure spending that directs funds to construction unions; and from housing and development projects that provide well compensated livelihoods to social workers, foundation executives, and—dare one say it—community organizers.
Money buys access and patronage. A New York Times review “showed that those who donated the most to Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party since he started running for president were far more likely to visit the White House than others.” The Huffington Post “found 28 individuals of ambassadorial rank who had raised a total of more than $14 million for the president.” . . . 
(More here). In line with this, the Chicago Sun-Times noted:

President Barack Obama hosted an exclusive White House dinner on Friday for some of his most elite fund-raisers, including a group from Chicago.
. . . These events are paid for by the DNC and are thrown for members of Congress, for print and broadcast press, for military members, major contributors, stakeholder groups, etc.
The Friday event was much smaller -- for about 200 who were part of the Obama campaign National Finance Committee.
The Chicago group included Vicki Heyman, a co-chair of the Illinois Finance Committee and her husband, Bruce; another Illinois co-chair, Ariel Investments founder John Rogers; Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts; business executives James Crown and Penny Pritzker; and Michael Sacks, CEO of Grosvenor Capital Management and an investor and board member for Wrapports LLC, the owner of Sun-Times Media, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The ironic part is that by voting for Obama, most liberals have in fact voted for higher taxes for themselves, but not the truly rich. As this article at New Geography points out:
Ironically the new taxes will have relatively little effect on the detested Romney uber-class, who derive most of their income from capital gains, taxed at a much lower rate. They also have access to all manner of offshore dodges. Nor will it have much impact on Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires, or the Hollywood moguls and urban land speculators who constitute the Democratic Party’s “good rich,” and enjoy many of the same privileges as their wealthy conservative counterparts.

The people whose wallets will be drained in the new war on “the rich” are high-earning, but hardly plutocratic professionals like engineers, doctors, lawyers, small business owners and the like. Once seen as the bastion of the middle class, and exemplars of upward mobility, these people are emerging as the modern day “kulaks,” the affluent peasants ruthlessly targeted by Stalin in the early 1930s.

The ironic geography of the Democratic drive can be seen most clearly by examining the distribution of the classes now targeted by the coming purge. The top 10 states with the largest percentage of “rich” households under the Obama formula include true blue bastions Washington, D.C., which has the highest concentration of big earners, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, California and Hawaii. The only historic “swing state” in the top six is Virginia, due largely to the presence of the affluent suburbs of the capital. These same states, according to the Tax Foundation, would benefit the most from an extension of the much-lambasted Bush tax cuts.

The pattern of distribution of “the rich” is even more marked when we focus on metropolitan areas. Big metro areas supported Obama, particularly their core cities, by margins as high as four to one. Besides New York, the metro areas with the highest percentage of high-earning households include such lockstep blue cities as San Francisco, Washington, San Jose, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

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