{{featured_button_text}}

The American middle class just got a lot richer.

Joe Biden, who invariably and tiresomely refers to himself as “Middle Class Joe,” made $15 million the first two years after the end of the Obama administration.

This hardly qualifies as a rounding error in the portfolio of any billionaire mogul, but for the average American, a million here, a million there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Rich Lowry mug

Rich Lowry

According to one estimate, it takes an annual income of $420,000 to be in the top 1 percent of earners. Biden made 26 times that in 2017. He used to be remarkable among top politicians for not being very wealthy, but even in the old days of straitened circumstances, he and his wife were making about $400,000 a year, enough to make the top 1 percent in Delaware.

This doesn’t discredit any particular Democratic policy proposal, but it shows that in inveighing against the 1 percent, many top Democrats are attacking a group that they are happy to be part of, and for the same reasons as anyone else in the 1 percent.

Most everyone wants to get paid what they’re worth (more, if possible). Most everyone wants to have more comfort and security rather than less. Most everyone wants a bigger house rather than a smaller one, and more homes rather than fewer. Most everyone wants more wealth to pass along to their family.

The Bidens bought a $2.7 million vacation house on the beach, surely not an extravagance compared with the vacation homes of Biden’s donors, but a luxury far out of the reach of the vast majority of Americans. If Biden has felt any guilt over it, he has yet to show it.

We shouldn’t begrudge Biden, or anyone else, getting what the market is willing to pay him, and spending it on things he enjoys. But what’s true of Biden is as true of other denizens of the 1 percent, a category that includes people across all sorts of industries and professions. What distinguishes the buck-raking of a politician like Biden is that he is simply cashing in on his fame, rather than adding any true value the way an entrepreneur does, or providing important services like a doctor or an accountant.

Writing books (often with the help of a ghostwriter) and showing up and giving speeches is perhaps the easiest money in America, and it is uniquely the path to wealth of politicians.

This road is so paved with gold that even Sandinista-friendly avowed socialists can make a bounty, as Bernie Sanders has without apology, indeed with a prickly defensiveness. “I didn’t know that it was a crime to write a good book, which turned out to be a bestseller,” he huffed at a community meeting earlier this year.

It’s also not a crime to use tax loopholes to keep from paying more than necessary to the IRS, as Biden can attest.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the former vice president, a longtime critic of tax loopholes exploited by the rich, himself used a loophole that Democrats have long tried to eliminate to save about half a million on his tax bill.

Biden is by no means the lead scourge of the wealthy in the Democratic field. He’s been outflanked on this issue by Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who herself made nearly a million dollars last year.

At a recent fundraiser, he said that rich people shouldn’t be demonized. Of course, Biden was talking to a room of fellow rich people.

On CNN the other night, he was back as usual to calling himself Middle Class Joe. It’s probably too much to ask him to give up that shopworn self-image.

Still, he and many of his colleagues would be truer to how they live their own lives if they began to more fully embrace and promote the idea of their fellow Americans getting rich.

Be the first to know - Sign up for Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
0
0
0
0
0

(17) comments

MOSSY

if you truly want to be fair, it should se a flat tax because you should NOT de penalized for hard work and being successful!!!

PhysicsIsFun

Great idea Mossy. Any other thoughts on how to bankrupt the nation?

oldhomey

Well, Mossy, I am sure most of the wealthiest, most powerful individuals and corporations in our country agree with you wholeheartedly. In fact, they like the idea so much, they have been retailing the idea for years, inserting it into the heads of dupes who get on comment boards to newspapers and endorse the idea for them.

awol2009

Lowry fails to point out that Biden obtain his wealth through honest means and released his tax returns. Unlike Don The Con Trump, who doesn't pay his development bills to contractors, suppliers, etc, his campaign owes hundreds of thousands of $'s to cities for security when he visits on campaign stops. I don't know of any Democrat or Independent that "criminalizes" wealth. It is a moral crime for the ultra-wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, yet expect full use of our infrastructures or worse yet, expect our military to protect their exploitation of other countries' resources (Middle East oil, rare metals in Afghanistan) under the false pretenses of "freedom" and fake patriotism. The moral failure of the GOP is to keep the poor just that, poor and exploit the poor and middle class to fight in their wars to also benefit, feed their almighty defense contractors - who in turn, grease the GOP's palms with generous campaign $'s. The great industrial war machine Dwight Eisenhower warned us of is alive and well. It has been since Vietnam. Lowry insinuates there are no or should not be any "wealthy" Democrats. Maybe he's just jealous. Trump is just a white trash grifter and criminal con-man.

Comment deleted.
PhysicsIsFun

RickyIdiot go back to drooling on your keyboard. Your comments are beyond worthless. You and Trump have the same debate techniques, call people names and toss out lies and nonsense. Does your family know what a fool you are making of yourself on here?

new2Lax

I would be a little more concerned with the billion dollar deal Hunter Biden got from the China. What's coming out is that Joe Biden got the investigation into his sons China dealings dropped and used the threat of losing financial aid, as if it was his own money. I'm pretty sure that is illegal.

martian2

more whataboutism from fox news newt, and another conspiracy too! One that has been disproved often, but no matter, keep bringing it up, sooner or later its got to become true.

Cassandra2

There are plenty of rich people who understand the need for the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes. But Lowry ignores those and continues to sell the same garbage that benefits only the wealthy republicans and their corporate donors while skrewing the working people.

Comment deleted.
oldhomey

I think we (and crank, I use the word "we" to include all who post on these comment boards, including crank, himself: are all are SO grateful that Ricky is always here to lend to us his superb insights into all that the rest of us have to say. It is illuminating in a way that defies description. Unfortunately, martian does not seem to be saying anything about agreeing with me in this instance, he seems only to be adding his own two cents worth with observations that have nothing to do with what I said. I guess Ricky didn't get a restful night's sleep and is uncharacteristically confused today.

oldhomey

Mr. Lowry unloads more bovine manure than most columnists used by this newpaper, and today's column is a top-heavy, reeking mess of it. Let us contemplate the central point he is trying to make, using his own words: "What distinguishes the buck-raking of a politician like Biden is that he is simply cashing in on his fame, rather than adding any true value the way an entrepreneur does, or providing important services like a doctor or an accountant." Biden has four decades of public service, much of it at the highest levels, under his belt, with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the formulation of policy and policy theory. He is trying to sell both his experience and his ideas to the public, and it is a product that many in the public have sought out and purchased. The irony for Mr. Lowry is that he is essentially in the same business as Biden -- selling his ideas on public policy and how it is acted upon or not acted upon. I am no fan of Lowry, but I am guessing he has probably written a book or two himself, "cashing in" on his fame as a political pundit. Is he upset that he has no bestsellers under his own belt, that the public is not as interested in his ideas as they are in Biden's? Poor baby! Since he finds it so suspect that Biden and Bernie Sanders and Ellen Warren have won on the book publishing lottery and made some handsome piles of cash while advocating for the interests of the middle and working class, perhaps he can also serve up some scorn for a self-described billionaire president who postures as being a working class savior while torpedoing working class interests.

martian2

Lowry also forgot to mention how he got those income numbers on Biden. I'll bet its because he released his tax returns to the public. Opening himself up to criticism from people like Lowry who think democrats shouldn't be entitled to make lots of money. That should be reserved only for republicans. Yes those tax returns reveal quite a bit don't they Lowry. I guess republicans need their privacy so Trump's taxes are still a big secret. Biden however, unlike Trump, grew up in a middle class family. where Trump was born into wealth and luxury and never had to be responsible or develop any self discipline. Biden made his money(books and speeches) without taking advantage of and short changing others. You can't say that about Trump. Yes there seems to be one set of rules for the republicans, and another set for everyone else.

Comment deleted.
Cassandra2

Unable to dispute any of the facts presented in Homey's argument, the Russia Troll Comrade Zerocock simply acts out like a three-year old. Unsurprising.

Rick Czeczok

Blah, blah, blah

PhysicsIsFun

Elizabeth Warren..

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.