The Corner

Edwards and The Investor Class

Many liberals think that John Edwards had the best message of any candidate in the primaries. The core of that message was that Bush’s economic values were askew. Bush, in line with conservative thinking on tax policy, has sought to end the tax code’s bias against saving and investment. So he has cut taxes on dividends and capital gains and sought to increase the amount of savings not subject to multiple taxation. On Edwards’s telling, Bush stands for taxing labor but not capital; he dishes out rewards to “wealth” rather than to “work.”

I don’t think that the Edwards message will be nearly as successful as Democrats think it will. It’s not as though this were 1980, and Bush had just decided to cut taxes on capital. Bush has been able to take the positions he has taken because of the rise of the investor class over the last 20 years. I know that some Democrats want to pit small investors against big investors and against management, and have a regulatory and redistributive version of an investor-class politics. To some extent, this agenda already failed in 2002–when the circumstances for it should have been good. Besides, an Edwards-style populist campaign has to denigrate the long-term project of wealth accumulation in which increasing numbers of Americans are engaged.

But I suppose we will all find out who is right soon enough.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Judicial Branch Ragnarök Is Upon Us

As expected, President Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now the Judicial Branch Ragnarök and Related Festival of Catholic-Bashing is upon us. Senate Democrats could argue that based upon Barrett’s past decisions, they don’t agree with her legal ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Judicial Branch Ragnarök Is Upon Us

As expected, President Trump selected Amy Coney Barrett as his third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now the Judicial Branch Ragnarök and Related Festival of Catholic-Bashing is upon us. Senate Democrats could argue that based upon Barrett’s past decisions, they don’t agree with her legal ... Read More
Elections

What’s at Stake in 2020

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 ... Read More
Elections

What’s at Stake in 2020

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 ... Read More
Law & the Courts

On Judge Barrett, Let’s Tell the Truth

Once when I was a kid, my dad held up three fingers and asked, “Does this two look like a three?” Little did I know that this attempted sleight of hand would become a regular feature of the process for appointing federal judges. Watch for it in the days ahead as the Senate considers President Donald Trump’s ... Read More
Law & the Courts

On Judge Barrett, Let’s Tell the Truth

Once when I was a kid, my dad held up three fingers and asked, “Does this two look like a three?” Little did I know that this attempted sleight of hand would become a regular feature of the process for appointing federal judges. Watch for it in the days ahead as the Senate considers President Donald Trump’s ... Read More