The Progressive Class Envy Dogma Is a Big Reason Trump Won the Election

The Progressive Class Envy Dogma Is a Big Reason Trump Won the Election

One of the most disturbing tenets of progressive ideology is the idea that the rich somehow don’t deserve what they’ve earned. Instead of being admired for their hard-won success, they are demonized as selfish, heartless, and greedy.

While it is undoubtedly true that there are some successful people who are selfish, greedy, and didn’t come by their money fairly, the progressives encourage the idea that this is true of all successful people. You constantly hear the accusation that they should ‘pay their fair share’ as if somehow they don’t pay enough.

In actual fact, the Pew Research Center last April reported that high-income Americans pay the vast majority of federal taxes. Progressive politicians dismiss this as irrelevant, claiming that the rich control so much more of the nation’s wealth that of course it’s fair they pay the majority of all taxes.

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The fact is that high-income taxpayers earned 28% of total adjusted gross income (AGI) in 2014 but paid 55% of the entire income tax burden. How exactly is that group paying twice as much in overall taxes than they earn of the total AGI fair? Wealth inequality does exist, but it should be remembered it has grown, not shrunk, under the Obama Administration. Why? Progressive policies.

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation put it this way:

Those who complain that the wealthy are not paying their ‘fair share’ ought to explain two things. First, exactly which income groups do they consider ‘wealthy’? The IRS’s cutoff to be included among the top quarter of all earners is $74,955. And second, they should explain how much higher of a burden would be ‘fair.’

The Foundation went on to warn, “The higher taxes sought under the ‘fair share’ rallying cry run the risk of undermining economic growth and job creation.”

And that is exactly what was happening. Their socialist economic philosophy is not what made America great. America became great, because it gave more people than ever the opportunity to succeed. The progressive “you-didn’t-build-that” attitude diminishes those who would work hard to improve their situation.

Progressive policies – such as higher taxes and excessive regulations – discourage those who aspire to success. At the same time, other progressive policies tend to enable those who are content to just get by to do so.

Those who live on government entitlements can never achieve the American Dream, but they can live relatively comfortably. In 2013, The Wall Street Journal ran a column by Brenda Cronin on the Cato Institute report, “The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013 An Analysis of the Total Level of Welfare Benefits by State.” Ms. Cronin wrote:

The authors [of the Cato report] found that in 11 states, ‘welfare pays more than the average pretax first-year wage for a teacher [in those states]. In 39 states, it pays more than the starting wage for a secretary. And, in the three most generous states a person on welfare can take home more money than an entry-level computer programmer.’

The problem is that while they can get by, they won’t ever move beyond the entry-level salary lifestyle. As we’ve seen in many inner city communities, this translates into resentment of those better off than themselves.

Many of those on government assistance voted for Secretary of State Clinton. She certainly won most of the progressive states with liberal welfare programs. Likewise, many of those in red states, and the rust belt voters who switched to vote for President-elect Trump, chose him because they wanted better jobs and a chance to improve their lives, not just get by.

In America if you get a relevant education or learn a valuable skill, stay clean and sober, postpone becoming parents, shy away from unnecessary spending, and save enough money to invest (compound interest is a beautiful thing), you are much more likely to end up better off than those who don’t do any of those things. Donald Trump won over those Americans who want the chance to have a better life for themselves and their children.

While it is absolutely true that too many Americans are born into circumstances that lessen their chances of success, it should be recognized that many of those born into such circumstances are the victims of progressive policies.

It is also true that everyone born in American doesn’t have the personal assets that would make them millionaires or billionaires. So what? I never hated the rich. I wanted to be rich, and if I didn’t quite make it, I still did enough of the right things to leave my children a better start in life than I had.

Progressive policies make it harder to do that. People will always work harder for themselves and their families than for strangers. Soon-to-be President Trump understands this. Progressives don’t. That’s why he won.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Nicholas Wishek

Nicholas Wishek. Retired teacher. 40 years classroom experience. Served in California National Guard 6 years. BA in history, MA in education. Married 35 years. Two sons. Many columns published in OC Register 2009-2014.

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