Monday, November 10, 2008

"Rich" People are Dumb

Work, family, and life have been intruding on blogging, but you guys seem to be doing fine without me.  Also nice to see KP tackling issues well within KNet areas of expertise - YGG/Climate and Lt. Weinberg/Medical Research.

Last weekend was homecoming at the old alma mater.  Surprisingly, there were a few McCain supporters who, after a few beers or a dozen, decided to vent some of their frustration that had built up since election day.

Smartly, they zeroed in on the absurdity of my voting against my economic self interest.  It appears that I was not alone - not by a long shot.

Of course, they were making reference to my well-worn "What's the Matter with Kansas" diatribe that I had cribbed from Thomas Frank's Harpers article (I never got around to reading the NYT bestselling book).  Frank's thesis is that Red State voters, who otherwise have a strong populist streak in them, continue to vote Republican as part of a cultural backlash against cultural liberalism they see running rampant withing the Democratic party.  Despite the fact that these voters would likely receive personal economic benefit from the economic policies of Democratic Party leadership, they continue to vote against their self interest due to social/cultural issues.

So here I am, a post graduate degree holding, poli/econ major who has spent the last four years or so furrowing my brow and clicking my tongue over the poor choices of rural voters, now faced with the reality that I have made the exact same economic "mistake."

Perhaps I am (as one conservative friend suggested) so besotted with the thought of victory that I would pay any price or any tax levied.  But those who voted themselves tax increases could, honestly, anticipate that their decision could pay long term economic dividends.  Just one example: my firm already does a good amount of transactional and regulatory work for major energy companies' renewable resources projects. We could reasonably anticipate that such work would increase under an Obama administration. Also, with the increases in the earned income tax credit and tax credits for employee health insurance, we may be able to increase our domestic helper's real income and provide her with family health insurance.  Granted, we might be able to do this if we kept those tax dollars, but that wouldn't affect the lot of millions of other domestic workers.  Once again, I consider it an investment in the future of America. 


Restless Native said...

As another someone who voted to have my taxes raised, I like to think I know the answer to the riddle, "What's wrong with (fill in the blank with a tony suburb)?"

I like to think that people in that tax-bracket tend to be pretty educated, as well as being lucky, industrious or well-born. I think they see the potentially dire situation in this country (discussed ad nauseam in virtually every medium, from KP to the MSM) and voted to spend some of their money in an effort to prop the Republic up and, hopefully, get us moving in the right direction again.

I think these people saw the short-sightedness of being one-issue (that issue being their own tax bill) and decided that they were going to have to step up and cough up some more dough.

By the way, if my reading of things is accurate, Obama is talking about taking the >$250k crowd back to the tax levels they were paying throughout the Clinton Administration, another time when that group of people did pretty well, on the whole. If memory serves, no one besides the real end-of-the-roaders was bitching about their tax bill when W saw fit to unbalance the budget through tax cuts (again, largely for people not looking for them) and adventuristic and poorly planned and executed military engagements overseas. My dad, who is usually a one-issue voter (you guessed it, taxes) voted himself a tax-increase as well. If my dad (who voted for Reagan to my mom's GHWB vote in the '80 Republican primary) could get his arms around Obama it does not shock me in the least that the CT panhandle would go for him as well.

Self-interest goes beyond the immediate impact to one's wallet, if one is not so myopic as to think that education, economic stability, respect in the rest of the world and a civil discourse at home are not in one's best interest.

GammaBoy said...

Aztec, whether you admit it or not, you probably did vote your own self-interest. Trial lawyers are the single biggest contributors to Dems, and call me a cynic, but I refuse to believe all those donations are selfless in nature.