Progressives have a strange relationship with money. On the one hand, we loath the white males who have it, envy their wealth and power, and hate the work we have to do to get it. But on the other hand, we love celebrities, sports stars and politicians who have lots of money. We love the fact that Bill and Hillary Clinton made hundreds of millions of dollars in government somehow, and that Hugo Chavez’s daughter is the richest woman in Venezuela, as they probably earned it. We also love that someone can get millions of dollars for pretending to be other people in movies, but we hate the fact that someone can make money by starting a business – that’s just not fair. We complain that money is the root of all evil, and leads to war, oppression and inequality. But we want to rectify the problem by redistributing the very money that we think is evil, often to ourselves. We think it’s cool that rap artists boast about how much money they have, but we think it’s brash to talk about how much people are earning at work.
Progressives used to be more explicit about the evils of money, choosing to live in hippy caravans instead of working for the man. We wore worn out tie dyed shirts, and subsisted on marijuana, while solving all of the world’s problems by rolling around in the mud to rock music to raise awareness. For a while, it was like we’d transcended the need for money, or at least it looked that way.
Today however, things have changed. We now take out huge student loans and spend our allowances on $1000 iPhones, $5 meter tall Starbucks soy lattes and $40 haircuts. Being a progressive has become so expensive that we’ve been forced to ask for a $15 minimum wage for our McDonald’s and Barista jobs, just to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Progressives are known to spend a lot more than conservatives, and have a much lower savings rate. We also get into debt more, and are less likely to pay it back. In addition, government workers also get paid more than their private sector counterparts, and get unbelievably generous pensions, job security, paid leave and flexible work hours, but still regularly protest about being underpaid.
So how do you square our seeming love for money with our hate for it? Well, it’s complicated, but there’s an underlying principle here. We understand the power of money. We want it, but we also hate it when our enemies have it. We want it so much that our lack of it hurts, and our feelings are other peoples’ responsibility. If we want money, and we feel envious and angry, it’s your fault for having money! You need to give something back to society, because you took that money from society. You didn’t earn it like the capitalists say you did – you stole it, and now you need to give it back. Hillary earned her money, Hugo Chavez earned his money, and Tony Blair earned his money. You didn’t, and you need to pay.