The makers versus the takers

We don’t know who came up with the term “the makers versus the takers,” (it wasn’t Ayn Rand, though she characterized it well) but this is operative in describing President Obama’s coalition.  The New York Times had a telling quote today (“The Future of the Obama Coalition”):

“All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment—professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists—and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.”

Look at whom Edsall defines as the coalition.  The “voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment” are comprised primarily of typical left-wing constituencies, but ignores the vast majority of “voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment”—namely, white-collar employees of for-profit companies.

This statement betrays the author’s bias against—or, rather, his utter lack of understanding of—the private sector.  (Kind of like how President Obama used to refer to the “business community” as if it were just another niche special interest.)  What the author really means, we suppose, is voters in jobs in which the title is a function of a specific educational credential, which, admittedly (and appropriately) excludes most large and small business people and white-collar functionaries.

The hodge-podge of professions that made his list is curious and amusing (editors but not writers? physical or psychological therapists?).  The only exception to his exclusion is “human resources managers.” It’s even funnier that this is the only corporate sub-group that the article mentions—being a conspicuous niche of the corporate world that is sympathetic to President Obama’s leftist policies.  (It’s easy to characterize the subset of the corporate and legal professions that naturally fit into the Obama coalition:  those, like human resources managers and class-action lawyers, who jobs owe to market-distorting government mandates.)

It’s also telling that he didn’t include “journalists” on the list, though he probably consciously removed it because it would be too conspicuous to label his own ilk as part of the president’s core constituency.

There is an underlying logic to the article, however.  Since the start of the Obama administration, the electorate has become more and more starkly divided along relatively simple lines:  at-will employees whose job depends on providing value to a customer or employer are Republicans, and everyone else is a Democrat.  In pithier terms, which someone coined, the makers vs. the takers.


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