28 Reasons Why The Rich And Super-Rich Should Vote For Democrats
In a country run by corrupt, incompetent leaders who believe they’re above the rule of law eventually, everyone loses
Wealthy people often vote Republican. Many of the 28 reasons listed below also apply to the not-wealthy but are focused more on the particular situation of people in extremely good financial positions. There are many reasons to vote Democratic not listed below but which are irrelevant to wealth or lack of it.
Dear rich reader, there are five things I want to say to you before going into the reasons why you should vote Democratic in the next election.
Please consider the following arguments why you should vote for Democrats in the 2018 and 2020 elections.
1. Donald Trump. If further explanation is needed for this reason, then nothing else to follow will reach you.
2.Don’t be a sociopath. It seems that some very wealthy “conservatives” support gay rights or gay marriage if they are gay or have close gay relations. They become concerned about guns when they get shot. They want the government to do something about breast cancer when a wife, mother or sister gets breast cancer. And for all other urgent problems, it is not the job of government. This is the reality of the sociopath. It is all about me. It is a rough self-image to have to cart around, but avoidable if you expand your horizons to supporting the rights or conditions of others who are not connected to you, or who are not going to name a building after you. Don’t want to think of yourself as a sociopath? Don’t be one.
3. The stock market is better under Democrats. Imagine that you could invest money in the stock market only under Republican presidents, or only under Democratic presidents. Which would have been better for you? Of course, under Republicans! Right? Wrong, wealthy friend. According to Bloomberg Government (2012), $1000 invested in the market at the beginning of Nixon’s presidency and kept in the market, magically, only under Republicans would have been worth $2,087 in 2012. $1000 invested under Kennedy and likewise magically only in play during Democratic administrations would have grown to $10,920 in 2012. This compares roughly the same number of years. If you could have this difference in return but had to pay 6% more in taxes, wouldn’t it be worth it?
4. Economic catastrophes have been Republican. The Panic of 1873, the Great Depression of 1929, the Great Recession of 2008, to name the biggest US economic debacles of the last 150 years, were driven by out of control speculation or economic ignorance — and they were all Republican. The Tariff Act of 1930 (Smoot-Hawley), passed over the objections of virtually the entire American economics profession, lead to plummeting international trade, arguably turning a recession into a depression. We see some of the same blissful ignorance in the current government. Smaller economic downturns, recessions, were also more frequent during Republican governments. Of course, some of the rich profited handsomely from what ruined average people, but many also saw their fortunes devastated.
5. Your children won’t hate you. Children see what their parents take and what they give. Of course, they probably won’t hate you. But if you are all about self-interest, your possibly more liberal children will not respect you, and may not even like you. On the other hand, even if your children are more materialistic than you, they are rather likely to be amused than angry if you behave more humanely. Ultimately, it is best for them, your children and grandchildren, if they see you as good.
6. You can only spend so much. Do you know what amount of money for you is only ego, only a bizarre form of keeping score? Is it a million, five million, one hundred million? A billion? Is there a point when you think: I’ll buy this thing; it will be unused or unnoticed until it is passes at my death to my children who will auction it at Sotheby’s. Or, my money could educate a world-class cancer researcher. Or plant 10,000 trees. What do I choose? A yacht? A personal jet at $2 million and up, $660/hour to operate and up? A personal theater? The 4th car, a Bugatti Chiron from $2.6 million — which could also provide 5,000 children cataract surgery transforming lives in blindness to lives with sight? When is enough, enough? Resource allocation may be an individual choice. It may also be a matter of governance, a society through its government — by, for and of the people — making decisions about overall needs that need a government to act on.
7. Avoid unlimited wealth creation insecurity. Chris Hayes in his Twilight of the Elites argues that many of today’s elites are trapped in a game where they can never be good, rich, successful enough, no matter how extraordinarily accomplished they are. You don’t have to give it all away to escape that trap. It might be enough to embrace a more humane vision of the social contract. (Hayes’ analysis of the accelerating failure of meritocracy in America is worth reading.)
8. Democrats are more likely to protect you from bigger vultures. Perhaps you created something from next to nothing. Consider:Is an honest competitive chance enough? Is it possible that regulations can also protect you and help ensure that you can compete? Sweetheart deals, crony capitalism, transform wealth into incredible wealth. Then others that are bigger and meaner may chew you up. Or to strangle another metaphor, in a dog-eat-dog world, if the other dog has a meaner pack, you’re going to be the bone.
Good government — good is an important qualifier — can be a partner for those who want a level playing field, to play by commonly shared rules. Regulation can be misused to give a competitive advantage to the larger company, as highlighted in the Zuckerberg testimony before the Senate, but governance that empowers internal and external review, consumer protection, and departmental inspector generals is a better bet. Which party is more likely to offer it? Doubtful? Hint: Zinke and Pruitt are hanging with vultures.
9. The air moves freely. Your wealth, if great enough, may guarantee you private parks, private mountains, private beaches. You may not depend on the public resources that define great cities and great nations. You may be able to avoid the possible disasters that follow curtailed government investment, but the air will follow you everywhere. You are an environmentalist, whether you like it or not. You breathe the air that will sustain you or poison you and those you love.
10. Climate Change. Yes, some of these reasons apply to everyone. Human-linked climate change is real. The dinosaurs did not cohabit the earth, which is not flat, with wooly mammoths and Adam and Eve, all starting about 6000 years ago. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists are right; the Republican Party and Fox & Friends are deniers and nihilists. If we do not change from “drill, baby, drill” to “all hands on deck” to save the good mothership SS Earth, your children or children’s children are cooked, wealthy or not. We are all in this together. It is a bad idea to disregard science for partisanship — whether it is getting medical care or rescuing the earth from ourselves.
11. You need public education. Public education has made your wealth possible even if you enjoyed (or hated) a private education. The ability to call upon all the resources of a civilized society depends on all the varied infrastructure created and maintained by educated people — roads, bridges, cars and airplanes safe for travel; media, arts, and entertainment able to provide mental and emotional wealth; knowledge propelling medicine, technology, etc. Sorry, mate, you are not independent and self-sustaining. You are supported by a public that is overwhelmingly publicly educated. If the ranks of that trained public are depleted, inevitably your safety and quality of life will suffer. On the other hand, strategic investment in public education, according to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, can increase cumulative US gross domestic product by $76 trillion dollars!
Both Republicans and Democrats fund education. Republicans are more likely to reduce Federal spending, shift the tax burden to states and, with the Trump administration and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, shift money to non-public schools. This poses a great risk, ultimately, of further starving poor school districts, where district budgets are usually tied to local — rather than state or Federal — taxes.
12. Have progeny you are proud of. If your child treats waitpersons or household help or the auto mechanic (or anyone) as a non-person, are you satisfied — or ashamed? Do you wonder if you might be doing something wrong? Friend, if your children are spoiled and mean (rich or not), there’s a good chance you are doing something wrong.
13. Higher taxes really won’t matter to you. Some of the reasons above and below will cost more money: higher taxes for you. The extra money you won’t have if you pay more taxes may be a problem if you are over-leveraged. But if the money is for living very well, taking care of your family very well, vacationing very well, having the best of everything — will it matter so much if you have $8 million instead of $9 million, $50 million instead of $60 million? Really, will it?
14. Government sometimes does know better how to spend your money. Reagan got it wrong. You buy a Ferrari, the government builds classrooms; you stay in $800 per night hotels, the government maintains a city park; you build a 14,000 square foot house instead of 12,000, the government repairs bridges; and so on. Do you always know how to spend your money better than the government? If each of us knows how to spend our money better than the government, then no taxes, no spending, no justice, no schools, no…. let’s have Mad Max, gangs and tribes. “President Bartlett” nailed it.
15. Perpetual war is not in your best interest. Understood: liberals, like conservatives, are afraid of being found wanting when a good war is handy. On the other hand, liberals would not have cooked up the Iraq War, even though they too easily marched along after the conservatives, or more accurately, the neo-cons, started the drum rolls. War, of course, may be profitable for you (see number 2 above) but it also poses a variety of threats, even to the wealthy. It cuts off nice places to vacation. It increases the need for bodyguards when going on a holiday. It will probably result in higher taxes eventually, even if happy conservatives (see number 2 above) manage to crush most other kinds of spending to support wars. Eventually, it may spill over to where you live or work. It can so drain resources from other necessary investments that there will be economic losses even for you.
16. Hope for your Cancer. Strangely enough, and as unfair as it is, you or someone you love may get cancer, ALS, AIDS, or some other terrible illness. Wealth does not exempt you or the person you love. Of course, wealth gives you better chances in this particular lottery, but not a guaranteed ticket. You can count on one thing: neither business nor philanthropy will invest as well or as surely in the search for cures, as government. You, in your foresight, may contribute enormously to cancer research after your husband or wife gets cancer; good government, on the other hand, will invest in the schools that will produce the Nobel prize-winning researcher, and the research that leads to the cure — not only for cancer but for the other disease you did not plan on getting.
Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act in 1971, committing Federal funds to curing cancer. No, it has not yet cured cancer. But as Dr. Fred Appelbaum, a leader in cancer research, has said, “It has already paid off in the cures of hundreds of thousands of patients, and it paved the way for the exciting developments in immunotherapy and molecularly based treatments that are filling the headlines today.”
Economic evaluation of the decades-long campaign to beat cancer found that between 1988-2000 life expectancy of cancer patients in the US increased by almost 4 years, which was almost 23 million additional years of life in the US, and “roughly $1.9 trillion of additional social value.” A federal “investment” was needed to reap these returns on investment. Richard Nixon was a Republican at a time when Republicans still saw a role for government in improving the lives of Americans and the world. It was a more limited role than Democrats advocated, but it was a proactive role.
17. Democratic booms are better. Democratic booms are broader with deeper impacts. They involve broader sectoral diversity. Growth in a Democratic economy may include technology, media, bio-sciences, pharmaceuticals, construction and infrastructure, green economy, finance, housing. A Republican boom is more centered on defense, security, prisons, fossil fuels. Might broader wealth creation be more sustainable wealth creation?
18. Don’t feel like an idiot no matter how much money you have. Currently, the Republicans are: fighting evolution; believe that the last President’s birth story was fabricated so he could eventually be President when he was still a mixed-race baby in a country where a mixed marriage was mostly illegal; making discourse and compromise dirty words; attacking abortion and birth control at the same time — talk about illogic!; hatching fun new wars; rewriting what they said while they are still saying it; betraying traditional allies; populating the swamp with kleptocrats; keeping quiet while a foreign adversary attacks our elections; denying climate science; making new beds with bigots; gutting schools; trashing net neutrality; keeping quiet while our institutions are delegitimized; disenfranchising voters; abandoning oversight; starting trade wars; massively increasing federal debt with unneeded tax cuts; and doubling down on deregulation (of course, 2008 had nothing, nothing I tell you! to do with deregulation). Be honest. Do you really want to be associated with this know nothing insanity, even if only your mirror knows the truth?
19. Don’t feed the revolution. Societies that smother and crush the people lead to some form of revolution. What kind of conditions lead to revolution? Growing and spiraling income inequality. Politics in the hands of the few (oligarchy). A metastasizing managerial class. If the wealthy accumulate ever more power, ever more wealth, ever more distance from the population, then the fracture of the social contract becomes ever more likely: even violent attack on wealth and those who are wealthy. Most of the thousands of historical peasant revolts, slave rebellions, proletariat revolutions, and worker strikes have been crushed. So — you might end up on the side of the executioners rather than the executed.
20. Karma, heaven. Who knows? Willing to take a chance on greed? “Bah,” said Scrooge, “Humbug.”
21. Learn from family values. Conservatives inform us that government should follow the example of the family. In handling money, for example, a family has to live within its means: No responsible family would ever consider borrowing money to build a house or invest in a business. Hmmm. Further, government morality should be like family morality. The premises may have holes in them, but for consistency consider how a family takes care of itself. If someone is sick, the family cares for them. When a family member is out of a job, the family supports them to the best of their ability. When a daughter or son is ready for college, the family sacrifices to help them through it. When a parent is elderly, a family provides them love and dignity. And, a good family does not support one child and have its other children fend for themselves.
Even if not all families behave this way, these are the families that we respect. If our country and government should follow some model of the family, why not in these fundamental aspects? Do we not believe that a caring supportive family — not a spoiling family — ensures that more confident, healthier, better-educated off-spring are able and committed to supporting themselves and making a positive contribution to our country? Is it not equally obvious that uncaring families create more social liabilities? If our personal families should be examples to our American family, should not the American family ensure unemployment protection, affordable education, health care, and a dignified and secure old age?
22. Restore political health. If you are wealthy, you have a lot more power than the rest of us. Depending on your particular level of wealth, you or you and your friends can buy elections! The 2018 election will heavily affect how the 2020 census is implemented and translated into political power. This election, with the unbridled role of money, can make legislatures and courts less subject to the checks and balances intended in our political system. But healthy debate, a real contest of ideas, on a fair playing field, with openness to compromise, better assures all of us of good solutions that can enjoy broad support and unite Americans when needed to meet great challenges.
23. Restore the Republican Party. As you may have figured out by now, there are elements of the Republican Party that would be quite happy to have no Democratic Party, no appointees to the Supreme Court with moderate to left leanings, no force capable of truly competing. This is generally not true of Democratic Party operatives. They also like to win, but they do not so readily dream up voter suppression, weird tales of Bill and Hillary being murderers, or Barack being the Kenchurian Candidate, etc.
It is human nature to have conflict — so if one party becomes all-powerful, eventually it will fragment in different ways. As is, the Republican Party has become more like a rogue Football Club — loyalty has nothing to do with policy or consistency, but a lot to do with anger, fear and its own brand of hooliganism. The United States of America needs a Republican Party — the party of business, you might say — that values reason and sound policy. Right now the party may win elections, it may frustrate Democrats even when they win elections — but it is not contributing anything to the American political discourse. You, wealthy friend: stop enabling the Republican Party.
Even if you have always favored the Republicans — no, especially, if you have always favored them — this time vote against them to send them a clear message that the Senate and House GOP have failed the Constitution by enabling the Trump administration.
24. Invest in infrastructure. If we do not invest in our country, then your children may be running your 20 room mansion as an Airbnb for tourists from the People’s Republic of China, and facing stiff competition, they will be lucky to get enough per room to keep food on the table. Probably though, the bank will have taken the property long before it gets to that point. Good infrastructure is essential for economic growth, and great infrastructure is essential for economic leadership. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the US is 10th overall in infrastructure quality:
Waste treatment, schools, dams, public transit, drinking water, levees are all part of our common heritage and infrastructure. Whether the post roads authorized in Article 1 of the US Constitution, or Abraham Lincoln’s support for the transcontinental railroad, the development of the general welfare, the common good and indeed the creation of wealth has been dependent on investment in infrastructure.
25. Liberal Democracy is a Wealth Producer, the greatest in the history of the world. Both the US and, particularly, European states evolved as an interplay of interests: labor, capital, learning, entrepreneurs, government. Wealth creation included empowering the middle class and providing a route out of poverty for those on the bottom, systematizing and applying the rule of law, creating the conditions for innovation and discovery (science, education, libraries, infrastructure, and rewards, for example). Liberal democracy began in recent decades to fail to deliver to a broad part of the population. If it concedes to nationalist, populist, tribalist models eventually the economic engine will fail more fully.
26.Poverty around you is a drag. A social safety net, unemployment insurance, job retraining, good education and health care help ensure that we can move unmolested from house to car to work to store. Destruction of these resources dooms us to the faces of the desperate poor on every street corner, frightening no-go zones in our cities, increased dangers from criminal elements. While there is a certain pleasure in being ridiculously rich, have you noticed, there is little pleasure in being surrounded by people who are desperately poor. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 just made it worse. (Dear reader, if this paragraph seems terribly callous, please remember who it is aimed at.)
With the 2017 tax bill, the party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt increases the national debt, increases the wealth of the wealthy, and ensures a widening gap between the rich and the rest. Families in lower income brackets do not get more support for: schools, tuitions, skills training, children’s health; the middle class get almost nothing unless their income is received from pass-through entities. These groups have less money to spend, while the rich put a higher proportion of income in savings. Overall economic growth is lower than an economy with less of an income gap.
27. Corruption. Some folk love to talk about welfare queens, food stamp cheats, failure of responsibility, standing on one’s own two feet, being spoiled by government, your “entitlement” being theft from my money, and so on. The parties in Congress are hell-bent on discovering opposing party corruption — though I’d argue there is not equivalence. These vigorous investigations of the holders of power, often with independent or special counsels, unrestricted budgets, and highest quality investigative and legal staffs, should be an important aspect of the oversight of governance. They can also misuse tax payer money to handicap the opposing party in government, or their future candidates, such as the $80+ million spent during the Clinton administration. Which is the party of corruption?
28. Tyranny. Some may see this as extreme, alarmist, fantasy. If we add up some of the ingredients above — vulture capitalism, perpetual war, corruption, economic collapse, know nothing-ism, the Republican Party and its major donors collusion in suffocating opposition, and Donald Trump — we have a recipe for strong man rule. That never ends well. In a kleptokakistocracy*, eventually … everybody loses.
* Whereas kleptocracy is government by those who steal, and exploit the state’s natural resources for personal or political gain, and kakistocracy is government by the worst persons, the most venal, the most incompetent, kleptokakistocracy is government by the worst persons, who steal, and exploit the state’s resources, for themselves.
Ayn Rand (no relation to the author) would not have agreed with most of what is written above. If she did agree with any of it, today’s fanatics would say she was not pure conservative enough. She would despise most of today’s Republican Party and see the rampant ill-logic for what it is. Particularly, she would see that much of its anti-government animus is a sham: big government intervention in personal matters, war, and the incarceration system.
She would most despise the crony capitalists, the free-market prophets (profiteers) who make comfortable deals with government, using special deals and special connections and special tax breaks to make themselves ever wealthier. She clearly preferred an honest plumber doing honest work, to the deal maker getting ever richer rotating through government and commerce. Don’t get me wrong, wealthy friend, she was all into wealth. Me too, for that matter. But for Ayn Rand, wealth without reason and values was less than pig manure. Can we agree on that?