Wednesday, April 28, 2021 : By Nathan Skates
Republicans often get accused of favoring big business, but data recently released by the Internal Revenue Service shows that a large majority of those making $500,000 or more actually vote Democrat.
From the days of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democrats have claimed the title, often erroneously, of being the party of the working man. Many in the South — both white and black — developed a dedication to Roosevelt and the Democratic Party because of New Deal policies. To quote “Song of the South,” the famous ballad by the country music band Alabama:
“Cotton on the roadside, cotton in the ditch
We all picked the cotton but we never got rich
Daddy was a veteran, a southern Democrat
They ought to get a rich man to vote like that…
Well somebody told us Wall Street fell
But we were so poor that we couldn’t tell
Cotton was short and the weeds were tall
But Mr. Roosevelt’s a gonna save us all”
Recent data shows the Democratic Party’s transition from the party of the working man to the party of the rich is complete. IRS data shows that Democrats represent 65 percent of taxpayers with a household income of $500,000 or more while 74 percent of taxpayers in Republican districts have household incomes of less than $100,000.
While the reversal has been going on for years, the change has become most noticeable since the 2016 election of Donald Trump, who won in not only the South and Midwest but also the Rust Belt states, once thought to be off limits to Republicans.
After Trump’s election economist and political commentator Robert Reich wrote an article for The Guardian regarding the change in “working man” votes. Reich was wrong about several things such as predicting that Trump’s policies would stymie the economy, but he got one thing right: Working class Americans are rejecting the Democratic Party because despite its years of promising to support workers and being rewarded with power, the Democratic Party did nothing to stop the decline of the American working class.
Reich astutely noted, “What has happened in America should not be seen as a victory for hatefulness over decency. It is more accurately understood as a repudiation of the American power structure.” He pointed out that the Democratic Party has cozied up to Wall Street and the political class, rather than supporting the middle class.
This can be seen currently in some Democrats’ push to end Trump’s cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions, currently set at $10,000. Removing the cap benefits the top-income earners in high-tax states, most notably Democrats in the Northeast and on the West Coast. Some of these Democrats have threatened not to support Biden’s infrastructure plan unless the cap is removed.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.Y., explained, “We’re going to keep fighting until this is part of the bill. It’s as critical as a road or a bridge or a tunnel, which is why we are going to keep fighting for it until the end.”
NBC News stated,
“Progressive groups have maintained the deduction predominantly benefits the wealthy, and the White House has signaled it wants to keep the caps because they can help pay for the infrastructure plan. Calls to reverse the caps, and restore the unlimited deduction, however, have emanated from a growing number of moderate Democrats predominantly from the Northeast and California — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. — where property-owning residents of those high-tax states stand to benefit from the relief on their federal taxes.”
Biden is placed in an awkward position as the SALT cap is one of the few Trump policies his office supports. Moreover, a new study from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) states that eliminating the SALT cap would exacerbate racial income and wealth disparities, effectively delivering “a $67 billion windfall for upper-income white families.”
No one should be surprised by this new data, but it is interesting to see actual statistics showing that Democrats’ interests lie with the rich and not the working class. Democrats claim to support the middle class, but in reality they support big corporations, monopolies, and the elite. Republicans support tax cuts because they help individuals and small and medium businesses who employ the large majority of middle-class Americans. For all their talk, Democrats support policies that benefit the largest corporations and the richest Americans.
When your allies are Big Tech, Wall Street, Big Retail, professional sports leagues, Hollywood, and other global fat-cat industries, you don’t represent average Americans. The Democrats took the mantle of the working man’s party in the early 20th century because many in the South were convinced Roosevelt lifted them out of the Great Depression. That belief is debatable at best, but if Democrats ever were the party of the working man, they definitely aren’t now.