Democratic debate 10-15-19

Democrats need to be careful that attacks on billionaires aren’t seen as an attack on capitalism and success

In last night’s Democratic debate, Elizabeth Warren got one of the loudest rounds of applause for asking, “Why is it, does everyone else on this stage, think it’s more important to protect billionaires than it is to invest in an entire generation of Americans?”

Hopping on the rich-bashing euphoria, Amy Klobuchar responds that, “no one on this stage wants to protect billionaires. Not even the billionaire wants to protect billionaires.”

While less extreme, the underlying sentiment is the same… that people getting rich is a problem.

Is this really the stance Democrats want to campaign on?  Are they playing into Republican stereotypes that Democrats are pro-socialist, anti-capitalists? 

Fighting over who’s the most anti-rich or who can enact the largest wealth tax might go over well in primary debates, driven towards the most extreme members of a party, but Democrats need to remember that they ultimately need to get mainstream Americans to vote for them. 

Don’t get the wrong, rising inequality is a problem.  But the problem isn’t the existence of billionaires, it’s the unfair, anti-capitalist, anti-competition economic system that rewards corporations whether they perform or not.  So instead of bashing billionaires, Democrats need to focus on fixing the system in a way that reinforces capitalist ideals rather seeming anti-capitalist and anti-success.


  1. James Graham on October 16, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Exactly! I personally don’t care that someone is rich or even how rich they are. Take Jeff Bezos for instance, love him or hate him, they guy works hard to be on top. Should he make as much money as he does, I don’t know but if someone created and runs an empire of technology from an idea then he should probably be compensated very well. However, if you want to talk to me about taxing billionaires to help fund government programs, then you have my attention. Still going to ask what the point of the programs are and how they help those who need it, but at least we can begin a conversation. Good synopsis.

    • Robert F on October 16, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      I agree, people would be responsive to funding important programs but what’s the logic of linking funding to taxing billionaires? These are two separate issues. Doing it this way unnecessarily reinforces a zero-sum, Democrats vs. the wealthy mentality.

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