A Plea to the Billionaires

David Brooks wrote an op-ed piece in a recent edition of the New York Times titled “The Party of Work,” telling the Republican Party how to win future elections. He wants the Republicans to be “the party that celebrates work and inflames enterprise. Use any tool, public or private, to help people transform their lives.” Brooks set forth goals which resonate with Democrats as much as with Republicans. The Party of Lincoln could rise again.

Brooks would like to be given a few minutes with the Republican billionaires. He would tell them to tell them to put their money into research to discover “the best ways to rouse ambition and open fields of opportunity.”

I would give a pretty penny to be a fly on the wall at that meeting. I believe the billionaires would explain to Mr. Brooks, in a kindly manner, that they had not lost the election, and that they were not concerned about losing the next one, either.

The Republican Party controls the House of Representatives and can block Democratic action in the Senate. The billionaires are content with the status quo. They are assured that there will be no redistribution of wealth. One percent of the population will continue to own 99% of the wealth in this country. 600 families will continue to receive as much income as the least affluent 150 million citizens. The billionaires do not want their lives transformed.

David Brooks is an intelligent and thoughtful observer. His proposals to reform the Republican Party have genuine merit. But it is futile for him to expect the billionaires to join in a revival of the party of Lincoln. He might consider devoting his considerable talents to overcoming the disastrous Citizens United ruling, which has unleashed the flood of money now corrupting the political system.

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