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Is America Ready for a Christian President? All Politics is Resentment

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What are the Democrats Thinking?

by Christopher Chantrill
October 03, 2011 at 2:10 pm

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AT THIS moment in the political cycle Republicans are wondering if they are about to demolish the Democrats. And the Democrats are waking up to the possibility that President Obama might be leading them off a cliff.

So what are Democrats thinking at this critical moment? Let's take a look at a couple of recent efforts as both Jared Bernstein and Paul Krugman dutifully toe the president's class warfare line.

Jared Bernstein at Huffington Post wants the election to be about the fundamentals: the “role and size of government”, fairness, and supply-side, deregulatory economics. But there's a problem. Voters are tuning out Democrats, as Stan Greenberg wrote back in July. They agree with progressive ideas, apparently; they just don't trust Democrats to deliver. So Bernstein announces that he'll rail at special interests, talk about fairness, and insist that Republicans “wrecked the car in the 2000s” as his contribution to the fight for progressive values in 2012.

Somehow, I have a feeling that voters in 2012 are going to be interested in three different issues. How about: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs?

The inimitable Paul Krugman has picked up President Obama's tax-the-rich message. He writes that “wealthy Americans, many of whom pay remarkably little in taxes,” should be paying more to reduce the long-term deficit. While middle-income Americans have seen their income go up by 21 percent in the last 30 years, “the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent”, he writes.

Krugman uses data from the Tax Policy Center to amplify Warren Buffet's argument, that

one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class.

Of course, it's possible that these rich tax scofflaws are trustafarians, like the late Ted Kennedy, living off tax-exempt income from municipal bonds, dodging in and out of the AMT. On the other hand, given that the IRS SOI stats(xls) says that the top 0.1 percent of tax returns paid 22.7 percent of income in 2008 in individual income tax, that means that one-fourth of the very rich must be paying a lot more than 22.7 percent if Krugman's one-fourth is paying only 12.6 percent or less. By the way, you had to have an income of $1.8 million to qualify for the top 0.1 percent in 2008.

Maybe what we should be doing, before we whack the trustafarians and the Kennedy family with higher taxes, is figure out how to lower the tax rates on the rest of the very rich. Maybe if we do that the poor dears would free up some cash to create a few jobs for the folks laid off from crony capitalist Solyndra.

You get the impression, from reading Dr. Krugman on tax-the-rich, that Republicans are merely the bribed apologists of the rich.

Would it surprise you to learn that the voters aren't quite so sure about that? John Steele Gordon reports that in the 2008 election,

Obama won the votes of 60 percent of those with a family income under $50,000 and 52 percent of those earning more than than $200,000. McCain carried the middle class.

The rich, at 52 percent, voted for Obama only slightly under Obama's winning 53 percent of the popular vote. Why would that be? Why wouldn't they be voting their pocket-books for the party of the rich, the Republicans?

Nobody doubts why the poor vote for Democrats. They are voting for their benefits. They know that the Democratic Party is the party of the little guy and the traditionally marginalized.

Maybe the rich are just like the poor, and vote their pocket-books too. If you figure that your average Millionaire Next Door owning a couple of small businesses votes for the Republicans, then that leaves the crony capitalists, the green energy promoters, the high-level government administrators, the academic grant recipients, and the trustafarians all voting for the Democrats and bigger government. Otherwise you wouldn't get to 52 percent voting for Obama.

That makes the Democratic Party the party of the poor and the crony capitalist rich.

What does that make the Republican Party? It is at least the party of the middle class. We know that because John McCain won the middle class vote in the middle of an economic meltdown. The middle class stands for limited government and low tax rates, in part on the principle that it cramps the style of class warriors and crony capitalists. That's because the middle class is nothing if it does not aspire to a better life for itself and its children.

Here's an idea. The Republican Party is the party of all those who must have freedom, rich, poor, and everyone in between.

What do you think about that, Messrs. Bernstein and Krugman?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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