In the latest issue of National Review, Reihan Salam writes about the changes within the US Democratic Party. The very first paragraph caught my eye. So much so that it is repeated below with 1 very important change. The reference to the “Democrat party” is replaced by the “Labor Party”:
The Labor party faces a dilemma. Since its inception, the party has defined itself as the champion of the little guy and a bulwark against plutocracy. Over the past few years, however, a funny thing has happened: The plutocrats have been joining the party en masse, and they’re changing it in the process.
The above would read similar if the “Labor party” was replaced with the “Australian Greens”.
But through this lens, consider the Labor Party’s headline positions on immigration (increase), mining (end), electricity (make more expensive) and manufacturing (suffocate). Now consider whether the current Labor Party”s policies align to the interests of Labor’s earlier constituents – blue collar workers from mining, manufacturing and services.
Perhaps the plutocracy has not entirely captured the Labor Party, yet, but the inner city academia, public service and expert class wield significant influence. It is these people, for whom government is a source of income and livelihood and not a framework for organising and ordering society, that are now running the show.
If plutocracy is defined as:
a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens;
then perhaps the neo-plutocracy should be defined as:
a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of politically connected and influential citizens.
For these neo-plutocrats, it is very easy to demand greater taxes to pay for greater and more expensive services because these people disproportionately benefit. They often provide the public services and so are quite happy to be paid more to provide the same. For these neo-plutocrats, they see no problem seeking to ban political donations from property developers by are quite comfortable to allow and enhance political donations from public sector unions.
These neo-plutocrats have also redefined what being rich is so the the “rich” can be taxed more; to pay their “fair” share. But the rich aren’t the ones earning $180,000 per annum struggling to pay rent or a mortgage. The rich are the ones who own their own home in the inner city suburbs and have a defined benefit pension. These rich don’t have to work or have their income indexed. They don’t really care about income tax rates. And they aren’t employed by business so care even less about company tax rates.
For these neo-plutocrats, increasing services funded by increasing taxes on someone else is never a problem.
Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus