Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We've Got the Hills of Beverly, Let's Burn the Hills of Beverly!!

Like Matt Yglesias, I can't help but tear my hair out scratch my head at the suggestion by Lynn Forester de Rothschild (what a name!) that Barack Obama is too elitist for her liking, but John "Too Many Houses to Count" McCain is just regular folk. Then again, looking at Forester de Rothschild's bio, it's easy to see how McCain can strike her as an everyman:

Forester is the CEO of EL Rothschild, a holding company with businesses around the world. She is married to international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. Forester...splits her time living in London and New York.

Who doesn't? This is just one more example of the elitism bamboozlement perpetrated by the GOP, and perpetuated by a mainstream media that is all-too-willing to confuse brush clearing gimmicks for authenticity. This inverted logic has created a bizarre dynamic whereby Democrats (including a presidential candidate raised by a single mother, brushing up against poverty at times) are made to worry if they can connect with "normal" and "average" Americans, while GOP candidates that live in a lifestyle of wealth that all but a miniscule fraction can even fathom are described as accessible and down to earth.

The pervasiveness of this up-is-down narrative is rarely threatened by the reality that the Democrats actually support a raft of policies targeted to help middle class and working Americans, while the GOP pushes for massive wealth redistribution upwards. The GOP has been so shameless in its efforts to fill cups that are already overflowing, that we are treated to the bizarre spectacle of wealthy Americans such as Warren Buffett, Donald Trump and Bill Gates (to name a few) arguing that they don't need all the tax breaks that Republicans are pushing on them.

Those notable capitalists argue that their taxes should be higher, and spending should be directed at other priorities. Yet when the Democrats utter this fairly uncontroversial view, they are accused of engaging in class warfare. Yglesias is right about this:

On an unrelated note, the stakes have rarely been higher in an election for extremely rich people than they are in this one. Barack Obama’s tax proposals don’t raise a ton of new net revenue and, as a consequence, have tended to be viewed as pretty moderate. But one reason they don’t raise all that much net revenue is that he’s offering large tax cuts to the majority of people and those offset the substantial tax hike he’s proposing on the rich.

But he's the elitist. Along those lines, this piece appearing in Rupert Murdoch's New York Post is notable for its attempt to strike fear in the hearts of wealthy New Yorkers:

Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes would pile a staggering $16 billion in additional taxes on wealthy New Yorkers, according to a new report.

The study, from the conservative-oriented Manhattan Institute, examined the impact in 2009-2010 of Obama's proposals. The Democratic candidate wants to repeal President Bush's reduction in the top two tax brackets, while also imposing higher capital-gains and dividend taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year.

The report...noted that New York has just 6.4 percent of the nation's tax filers. But the state's share in paying for Obama's tax hikes would come to nearly 11 percent - the highest extracted from any state except California.

The study said Obama's plan to retain Bush's tax cuts for people earning low to middle incomes, as well as providing them with new or expanded tax credits, should provide $13 billion in added benefits to New Yorkers over two years. [emphasis added]

So let me see if I have this straight: the latte-sipping elitists who only care about their wealthy friends populating leftist coastal enclaves in California and New York are going to stick it to...their wealthy friends in California and New York in order to benefit the vast majority of hard working, average Americans.

It doesn't get any more elitist than that.

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