Of all the miscalculations Democrats made during the presidential campaign, one that must have them still scratching their heads is why their nonstop progressive assault on rich people didn't resonate with blue-collar voters, you know, the ones who voted for the billionaire who lives like a king in a gilded palace in the clouds over Fifth Avenue in New York City.
How many times did Hillary Clinton (and Bernie Sanders and a million other liberal Democrats) tell us that the rich aren't paying their "fair share" of taxes?
Donald Trump may not have paid any federal income taxes, for a long, long time. The blue-collar guy yawned.
At one point in the campaign Clinton even told a rally of cheering supporters in Massachusetts: "Don't let anyone tell you that corporations and businesses create jobs."
After she realized how foolish she sounded, Clinton "clarified" that lamebrain assertion. But it was too late. Even blue-collar folks in the Rust Belt knew that she was just showing off her progressive credentials for the Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the party — and that corporations and businesses — not government — were their only hope for decent jobs.
Let's just say liberals and progressives and other lefties have made a career out of bashing rich people, as long as they're Republican — and in the process needlessly dividing Americans along class lines. Except it didn't work. Donald Trump wasn't embarrassed by his wealth. He flaunted it. The jet with his name plastered on the side in great big letters was Exhibit A. And the little guy — who liberal Democrats claim to care so much about — loved it.
So maybe something is going on in America. Maybe portraying the wealthy as borderline criminals is an idea whose time has come and gone. Though I suspect that slandering the wealthy is encoded in the Democrats' DNA and they'll try it again next time around. Or maybe — just maybe — it's time to finally stop the bad-mouthing and start paying homage to the top 1 or 2 percent.
How would we do that? Well, we could start with a monument in our nation's capital. I envision a big bronze and granite statue that would honor an entire group of Americans who are true heroes, and unsung heroes at that.
Right there, amongst the sacred national structures that honor great Americans, we need to build a shiny monument to The Rich— otherwise known in liberal circles as the filthy, no good, greedy, heartless rich.
The statue could be simple and elegant: a smiling rich guy in a business suit holding $100 bills in both hands, extended toward the blue sky. He might be smoking a big cigar, which I think would be a nice touch.
Fat cats deserve our thanks. They do a lot for the country. They pay most of the federal income taxes collected in the United States, money that goes for all sorts of noble things: food for folks who don't have enough to eat, medicine and doctors for people with little money, financial aid to help other people's kids go to college, formula and diapers for poor babies, a safety net for old folks who are retired on fixed incomes, and on and on.
No, I'm not saying the wealthiest Americans are a bunch of selfless philanthropists. But try to imagine an America without rich people.
By the way, the top 1 percent of American tax filers pays about 40 percent of all federal income tax collected. The bottom 50 percent pays about 3 percent. So, how many poor people do you think their tax dollars are taking care of? If you ask me, they're the ones not paying their "fair share." Every time they pass a rich person on the street, they ought to say, "Thank you for everything you do for me, my family and for this country."
For those of you not already making plans to hang me in effigy — or for real — let me simply say this: The richest Americans may not need tax breaks that will put even more money in their already stuffed pockets, but they sure don't need to be vilified, either.
So let's get busy on that shiny monument in our nation's capital. And let's get some unemployed people out there building it. It's the least they can do for those nice rich people who have been keeping them afloat.
To find out more about Bernard Goldberg and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.