Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are the Democrats really for the Poor?

One of the big debates over fiscal policy is the discussion of "priorities." Government, is going to spend, it is merely a question in what areas, we are told. In that debate we are told that Democrats (or liberals of any political party) are for the "poor," while conservatives are for the "rich." We often hear about "rich Republicans" and "poor Democrats," but how does this line up with reality?

In the last Presidential election, the only two serious contenders on the Democrats side were Barack Obama (who eventually won) and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Both used very populist rhetoric and to varying degrees, both sounded as thought they were pulling chapters out of the works of Karl Marx. Yet there is a cloud that hang over these "poor Democrats." That is the political realities that financially drove both of their political campaigns.

Personal income is a strong indicator of ones relationship to the constituents they represent. Barack Obama made ten times more than Sen. John McCain (who became the Republican nominee in the last year) accounted, with over $4 million in income. Meanwhile his wife cries poverty over having to have to make "outrageous" student loan payments to their old schools -- Princeton, Columbia, and Harvard (where's the violin music when you need it?).

In the same vein, Sen. Hillary Clinton, made an impressive five times more than Obama at approximately $20 million. My mathematical skills suggests I refrain from attempting to calculate the difference between McCain and her.

But personal wealth is only the beginning, there is also the lessons we learn from those who supported their campaigns. From the media we would have to assume that McCain certainly received much more from his rich Republican buddies than either (or even both) of the Democrats. The reality could not be further from the truth, Sen. John McCain raised a fraction of what Obama raised (who broke a presidential campaign record) and during the primaries, he could not keep pace with Clinton.

The debate about wealth, poverty, and politics, is really quite cloudy. I sincerely doubt that homeless and other poor people (the alleged beneficiaries of Democrat policies) are fueling their Presidential campaigns. In fact, a Fortune Magazine article implied that business was voting for Hillary. What kind of business? The big corporations that can actually afford liberal and big government policies and see such as a way of keeping smaller competitors at bay. We saw from the so-called stimulus packages (designed by Democrats in Congress, yet supported by both parties) in September of 2008 and again in the early days of the Obama Administration, that some of the biggest beneficiaries were the largest corporations in the United States.

The truth of the matter is that the mega rich support liberals over conservatives. In fact, Obama's support was 3 to 1 in that category. The reasons the rich supports liberal candidates might be quite cynical. Major corporations know they can absorb the regulations, tax requirements, and other obligations that come with being large. They also know such laws could put their aspiring competition -- the rising enterprises often driven by the middle class -- out of existence. Americans need to get serious about this issue and start by asking the question, what type of policies actually help the poor?
Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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