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What Constitutes “Demonizing Billionaires”?

June 22, 2019

Of late, I’ve read several op ed pieces in several newspapers criticizing the progressive candidates in the Democratic Party of “demonizing billionaires”. And the pundits who write op ed pieces or appear on radio and TV shows are not alone. So-called “centrist” candidates are joining in. This past Tuesday, for example, Huffpost writer Dominique Mosbergen reported that Joe Biden, the personification of the centrism and the DNC’s favored candidate, assured a group of affluent donors that he would not do anything that would change their standard of living and was concerned that “he would not “demonize” the rich if he’s elected president”. She concluded her article with an earlier quote from Mr. Biden regarding one of those who IS presumably “demonizing” the billionaires:

Though Biden has pushed a generally populist economic agenda focused on decreasing income inequality and promoting workers’ rights, the former vice president has taken a moderate stance when it comes to taxation. Unlike some of his 2020 Democratic rivals like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Biden has not singled out the mega-rich as tax targets. He’s instead proposed expanding tax credits for the poor and middle class, and making the tax code less friendly to rich investors.

“I love Bernie, but I’m not Bernie Sanders. I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble,” Biden said at an event in March.

I’ve followed Bernie Sanders for several years, beginning in 2015 when he was exploring running for office, through his 2016 effort to unseat the anointed candidate of the DNC, and over the past months since.  I don’t think Bernie Sanders ever said that 500 billionaires are the reason we’re in trouble. He believes the reason we are in trouble is that we have accepted an economic system that allows a small handful of individuals to accumulate extraordinary wealth and a system that gives that small handful of individuals disproportionate and undemocratic power.

W. Edwards Deming said that PEOPLE don’t fail: SYSTEMS fail… and while Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and other populist candidates use individuals as examples of the wealth that some are allowed to accumulate, they do not blame those individuals as individuals. They use their profligacy and massive accumulation of assets and power as examples that voters can grasp. They both oppose the system as it exists now and want a system that is fair and democratic. That is not demonizing individuals… it IS demonizing the plutocratic governance model in place now and advocating for democracy.

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