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Monday, January 9, 2017
The Democrats are the Party of Big Money
Once-upon-a-time, the Democrat Party was the party of the "little man," i.e., those who made up America's lower social orders. No more.
The GOP has also been a party of big money, of course, but the partisan-based class and monetary imbalance has shifted.
For decades, the Democrat Party has been the party of what Angelo Codevillacalled "the Ruling Class," and it represents and reflects the interests of big money. That is probably why Wall Street's denizens don't take Democrats' railing against Goldman Sachs, etc., very seriously.
The last presidential campaign illustrates how the Democrat Party has the ability to outraise the GOP. It's been estimated that Hillary Clinton raised $1.191 billion in 2016 -- slightly more than the $1.073 billion raised by Barack Obama four years ago. Donald Trump's campaign allegedly raised $646.8 million, much less than what Mrs. Clinton raised.
It isn't just that the Democrat Party can out-raise the Republican Party in campaigns. The Democrats also rely more on large donations, while the GOP usually relies on smaller donations. Even the New York Times acknowledged that Trump's donations were coming mostly from small-dollar contributors.
The final dollar figures for 2016 aren't in, but the Center for Responsive Politics -- an allegedly nonpartisan organization funded in part by George Soros's Open Society Foundation (need I write more?) -- reported that in 2008, Barack Obama out-raised John McCain by roughly two-to-one ($730+ million to $368 million). Obama raised so much money that he did not need to rely on federal funding of his campaign, the first major-party candidate to do so since the law empowering the possibility was enacted in the 1970s. In 2012, Obama and Mitt Romney both relied more on large individual donations than on small ones.
When a liberal-leaning group like CRP reports that a Democrat presidential contestant has relied equally or more on big-money contributions than on small donations, the evidence indicates how far the party has deviated from its past.
Two questions arise immediately. First, when did this transformation occur? Second, how has the transformation in the Democrat Party's economic skew happened?
It does not take long to answer the first query. Since at least the 1930s with FDR's New Deal, if not as far back as Woodrow Wilson's progressivism between 1913 and 1921, the Democrat Party has been the big government party in the U.S. Lyndon Johnson's Great Society measures in the 1960s substantially increased Washington, DC's size and reach, and Barack Obama's administration during the last eight years has solidified the Democrat Party's reputation for advancing big government. The GOP -- at least fitfully in the 1920s and again in the 1980s -- has campaigned, or so it claimed, to reduce Washington's size and power. George W. Bush #43 was a Republican who also expanded Washington's power during his presidency, but he was a piker compared with progressive Democrats.
By becoming the party of big government, the Democrat Party has reaped the financial rewards from those individuals, organizations, and groups who depend upon, and profit from, government largesse. It is no coincidence that Charles Murray reported that the wealthiest per-capita locations in America are those made where government employees and lobbyists are likely to live.
RINOs advocate policies that expand Washington's power, but they tend to be big government lite when compared to left-wing Democrats. Unhappily, if recent years have taught us anything, it is that when portions of the electorate want government to do more, they turn to Democrats, not to Republicans.
When even conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson reluctantly acknowledge that the struggle between big and small government is over, and that big government has won because, as Carlson put it, "that's what people want …," it is perhaps no surprise that the party most in favor of big government would have access to the bounties stemming from big government.
At bottom, big government is about rewards and punishments. Those who control the leviathan on the Potomac can reward their supporters and punish their opponents.
The Obama administration's record shows, perhaps more starkly than its predecessors, how the processes of rewards and punishments work. Remember Solyndra, when Obama-campaign financial backers were rewarded with millions of dollars in government guarantees, or when Obama took over Chrysler and General Motors, and gave millions to his allies in the unions? What about the $1 billion in so-called stimulus monies that went mostly to Obama's union allies? SEIU plans to cutits spending by 30%, because they expect the incoming Trump administration to curtail government funding that, under Obama, made up a sizable portion of the union's budget. Remember how then-Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice created operation Fast and Furious in an effort to enhance support for gun control, thereby punishing the National Rifle Association and other Second Amendment backers? Remember how Lois Lerner and others at the IRS prevented Tea Party-connected organizations from getting the tax-free status they needed to influence the 2012 election?
One could add other instances of the Obama administration's use of rewards for friends and punishments for perceived foes, but the above should suffice.
Focus on rewards stemming from big government, for the adage "follow the money" goes a long way to explain how the Democrat Party has become the party of fat cats.
In fiscal year 2015, which is the last FY for which data are available, the federal government planned to spend $3.9 trillion. Total revenues were estimated to be $3.8 trillion. Most of the central government's revenue came from personal income taxes, payroll taxes, and taxes on private businesses.
Nearly $4 trillion per annum is a bunch of bucks. But, concentrating on the percentage of Gross Domestic Product consumed by the federal government gives a better sense of what big government means to the nation's economy, and provides insight into why those with money who, for whatever the reason, depend on government largesse are inclined to favor the party of big government.
Federal government spending was 6.9% of GDP in 1900, rose during World War I, and then sagged back to the low 20s during the 1920s. Central government spending began surging during the 1930s, peaked to 52% of GDP in 1945, and then receded a bit thereafter. Nevertheless, "[t]he post World War II era has been a golden age of government spending, and it shows no sign of ending." Washington's spending surged to 35% of GDP during the economic down-turn of 1980-82, before sagging to the low 30s. However, after Obama's stimulus spending and other bail-outs, U.S. government spending surged to 41% of GDP in 2009, and is expected to remain around 36% for the near future.
The plumber in the movie Moonstruckstated that "it takes money to save money." It also takes money to make money.
Those with deep pockets have many ways to benefit from government programs. Donating large sums to politicians' campaigns, employing armies of lobbyists and tax accountants, etc. gives the wealthy access that those of limited financial means do not have.
The Daddy Warbucks of America know which party will butter their bread.