Here in a little corner of Southeast Florida, it’s Republican Land. You’ve got your gun-clinging rednecks, your Bible thumpers, and your One Percenters. The last group is something to behold. Their car of choice this year is the $200,000 Bentley convertible. Their home of choice is the Spanish style mansion behind the gates guarded by security personnel in starched uniforms. And their expression of choice is “I hate Obama.”
Mind you, these folks are able to drive their Bentleys and live in their Spanish style mansions in part because President Obama helped give them the highest stock market in history combined with the lowest tax rates in most of their lifetimes. And don’t forget, most of their wealth doesn’t come from salaries subject to the highest marginal tax rates; it comes from “capital gains,” which are taxed at only 15 percent. Factor in all the tax breaks and offshore tax havens they get for themselves, and you can be sure many of them, like Willard Mitt Romney, pay less than 15 percent in federal taxes. And these millionaires are quick to tout Florida’s lack of state income tax. But what you hardly ever hear them talk about is everyone else, except in the most condescending and disparaging ways.
It’s this lack of connectedness to others outside their 1 percent clique, this lack of empathy for the middle class or the poor, or for the country, that is so jarring about these Florida millionaires. Of course, this is a limited sampling and is not intended to imply that all One Percenters in this area are so greedy and selfish. Nevertheless, it appears that many of these folks are perfectly happy to drive their Bentleys on smooth highways, to get hot water when they turn on the faucet, to get electricity when they turn on the light switch, to be protected by the U.S. military (including the Coast Guard) and Florida state and local police, and yes, to get their cheap Medicare Part D prescription drugs, but then they don’t want to turn around and pay for these things. Folks, this shit ain’t free.
It may be that these One Percenters, these Lords of Florida, are beyond reach. But we Democrats and progressives will probably keep caring about them along with everyone else. Because that’s how we roll.