Hillary Clinton’s Golden Oldie Politics of Envy

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been bogged down in scandals since her bizarre, YouTube “announcement” back in April.  But over the weekend she delivered a much hyped “re-launch,” a speech in New York.  Beatles Yesterday

She began with a reference to a 1941 speech by President Roosevelt wherein he called for government to somehow guarantee “freedom from want.”  She noted correctly that Mr. Roosevelt had “inspired presidents who followed” including her husband and Barack Obama. 

She avoided an assessment of the Roosevelt inspired, six decade, big government campaign to buy “freedom from want” with trillions in resources extracted from the private economy that would otherwise have supported business investment, job creation and consumption of products and services. 

Obviously, these lost trillions did not purchase “freedom from want.”  America’s poverty rate was gradually declining before, but then stopped falling and has been virtually the same ince President Johnson launched his “war on poverty” panoply of programs six decades ago.  But regardless of this cataclysmic government failure, Mrs. Clinton’s speech confirmed she is undeterred from continuing on the same programs and policies.

Astonishingly, right after praising Obama and other Presidents for being inspired by big government schemes from the 1940s she accused “the presidential Republicans choir” of singing  “a song called Yesterday.”

You know the one — all our troubles look as though they’re here to stay … and we need a place to hide away… They believe in yesterday.

She then bellowed the perennial progressive sales pitch, rhetorical gimmicks and promises that literally date back a century: blame the rich, and promise freedom from financial distress in return for allowing government to tax more, borrow more, spend more and control more.

A key emotional appeal throughout the progressive’s century of expanding government’s power, cost and intrusion has been generating and nurturing resentment against the wealthy.  Here’s another quote from Mrs. Clinton”s “re-launch” speech:

While many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, you see the top 25 hedge fund managers making more than all of America’s kindergarten teachers combined. 

Let’s stop and explore this comparison. Unlike teachers hedge fund managers aren’t paid a fixed salary. Their earnings are from investments, with wide variations from year to year. The same article that was Mrs. Clinton’s data source,  Institutional Investor Alpha’s annual Rich List report, also noted that only 13 of last year’s top 25 made the list this year. 

Hedge fund managers must put their own money at risk continuously and it turns out that six of last year’s top 25 lost money this yeartheir incomes were less than zero.  Each year, different people make the top 25 list.  Some “hit the jackpot” only once and then fall back into obscurity. 

Here’s a little thought experiment. Suppose it were possible to survey all of the 158,000 kindergarten teachers at the end of the year and identify the 25 who had the biggest one-year windfalls in addition to their salaries, from investments, or spouse’s business or inheritance, or maybe book royalties. If we compared our golden 25 teachers, to an average of all hedge fund managers, including the thousands who lost money, the teachers would look pretty good!  But because everyone knows what teachers do and approximately what they get paid, we couldn’t use this data to attract votes by generating resentment against teachers.

But, since most people know little or nothing about what hedge fund managers do, only that they’re connected with Wall St, Mrs. Clinton is definitely using them to generate votes by planting the negative emotions of envy and resentment.  She hopes to plant a perception in people who are struggling financially that the wealthy get that way by somehow robbing the rest of us of our just compensation.

But, note that progressives like Mrs. Clinton never try to provoke envy and resentment against high-paid athletes or actors or rock stars because voters are familiar those folks and mostly admire them.  It’s harder to feel resentment and envy toward an attractive, high-visibility celebrity than a faceless investment manager, toiling out of sight, in a Wall St. office building.  And, as an added bonus most celebrities favor Democrats with both vocal support and vast amounts of cash. 

No Comments

Comments are closed.