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Of, By, and For the Rich

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In an article in the Chicago Tribune (via Pandagon), Meg Kreikemeir, a self-described stay at home mom and former market analyst, displays a level of insight that makes me hope that she is a far better mother than thinker.

Moving on from the cheap ad hominem attacks....

Meg (can I call you Meg?) is trying to rebut charges from prominent Democrats that Republicans are the party of the shiftless rich. She is attempting to unite two strains of criticism: first, that the Red States are in fact sucking off the teats of blue states; and second, that Republicans don't do any real work. Meg suggests that these two positions are mutually irreconcilable: you can't be lazy and dependent on government AND super-rich at the same time.

Meg deploys four arguments:

1) The Blue States only appear to be contributing more to Red States because they are home to big corporations, which donate a lot of money to the federal treasury. And

2) Even if blue states did contribute more, it doesn't give them the right to dictate policy. Poor people deserve a say as well.

3) If we look at county-level data rather than state-level data, we find that red counties contribute more than blue ones.

4) Democrats are really the party of the rich, since they rely on big individual contributions.

Let me just reply to these in turn:

1) Meg needs to demonstrate that the bulk of the federal taxes that are coming from blue states are from corporations, which she scarcely does. Given that corporate taxation has been falling at a dizzying rate - GM pays NO taxes, for one - I'm skeptical that this explains the difference in contributions to the federal treasury. And she ignores the expenditure side, which shows that a disproportionate amount goes to Red states on a per capita basis. Looks like dependence to me.

2) Thanks for rebutting the basic conservative economic and political argument for me. You doknow that their basic position is contribution = influence, right? And that the liberal position isthat everyone deserves a voice, particularly the less advantaged?

3) This is probably true, and part of why I think the whole "Red States are dependent" argument is silly. Both sides are committing the ecological fallacy - namely ascribing characteristics to individuals based on what we know about groups. Racism feeds off the same sort of sloppy reasoning.

4) Meg neglects to include soft money or corporate contributions into her analysis, which is typical.

Meg is just confused. Her definition of what it means to be the "party of the rich" slips between rich voters, rich contributors, and elite economic policy. The evidence indicates that the Republicans have all three, which as far as I'm concerned makes one a party by, for, and of the rich.

Posted by Arbitrista @ 7:06 AM
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