The Party of the Rich... But Which Party?

Paul Weyrich

11/28/2007 4:03:25 PM - Paul Weyrich

Since I was a young boy I have heard that “Republicans are the party of the rich.” My parents were among the few Republicans in a precinct dominated by Democrats and this allegation made my father angry. He fired a boiler at a Catholic hospital and was lower middle class. A German immigrant, he came to the United States because of the kindness of the chaplain at the Catholic hospital and a foreman at the J.I. Case Tractor plant who sponsored him and agreed to care for him for five years if needed. My father had never met the man until he arrived in America.

We were anything but rich. We did not have a car for eleven years. We never took a vacation. We didn’t have many things which ordinary households had. My father was just happy to be in America. He felt he was far better off here than if he had stayed in depression-torn Germany. He became a Republican because he believed President Franklin D. Roosevelt broke his promises. Whenever my father heard Roosevelt insist that the Republican Party consisted only of rich people he became so upset that my mother had to calm him down.

God rest his soul, my father has been gone for twenty years now. There are so many things I wish he had seen. He was a fierce opponent of the Soviet Union. Its dissolution would have brought great joy to his heart. Another is a study by my friend and colleague Mike Franc, Vice President for Congressional Relations at the Heritage Foundation. Using data provided by the Internal Revenue Service, Franc looked at single-filer taxpayers earning more than $100,000 per year and married joint-filers earning more than $200,000 per year. Franc discovered that the Democratic Party is the “party of the rich.” Franc said, “Electing Democrats is very closely correlated with how many wealthy households are in a district.”

Franc said that the number of Democrats representing wealthy districts significantly increased after the 2006 elections. These Democrats have pushed for passage of H.R. 3970, the Tax Reduction and Reform Act of 2007. The bill, proposed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), would eliminate the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), a tax originally intended for the very wealthy but which more and more Americans must pay each year because its income requirement was not indexed to inflation. To make up for the shortfall that would result in this loss of revenue, the bill also proposes an enormous increase in taxes for Americans whose adjusted gross incomes are in excess of $250,000. The bill probably will be dead upon arrival in the Senate. Franc said the Democrats can’t go too far in levying huge tax increases on the rich because they would be doing it to themselves.

As with the surge in Iraq, the success of which key Democrats refuse to acknowledge, it is unlikely Democrats will admit they are now the party of the rich. They need to appear as the party of the poor to maintain specific voting blocs. Still, if mainstream media would acknowledge the new party of the rich just as it now acknowledges the success of the surge in Iraq, things may change. Want to guess which Republican will brand the Democrats the party of the rich?