Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you care how much personal wealth a politician has?

Asked by JLeslie (47239 points ) June 23rd, 2011

I thought of this because the news mentioned Tim Pawlenty will be turning over his tax and earnings information soon. I care they have not made any money through illegal activity, and I care that they pay their taxes, but I don’t really care how much money they are worth. Well, if they ran a business well, that is evidence of competence I guess. But, I guess what I am asking is what generalizations do you make about a candidate if they are very wealthy or not? Does it matter if it is family money? If they grew up with a silver spoon? If they were raised by a poor family? Always lived very modestly?

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18 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I couldn’t care less how much personal wealth someone has.

YoBob's avatar

The personal wealth of a politician is not nearly as important as his/her political philosophy and general integrity.

That being said, IMHO there is a direct correlation between one’s ability to accumulate wealth and one’s practical ability to work within the socio/economic/political framework that our politicians are charged with guiding. While I certainly expect all of a politician’s financial dealings to be legal and ethical, I also expect our politicians to have an above average aptitude for “working the system” (combined with a solid sense of ethics and a clear political philosophy, of course).

Cruiser's avatar

For me it is a two edge sword. The uber wealthy know the value of wealth and how to properly manageme and invest money and one could argue that the super rich would less swayed by bribes.

The commoner politician who worked his ass off his whole life like most of us would value the hard work ethic and the needs of the people better but could more easily be swayed by generous offers that are pretty hard to refuse.

So depending on which side of the isle you sit on…I think the personal wealth of a candidate is a potentially contentious and influential component.

Blondesjon's avatar

No, but the fact that one has to be wealthy to even run for, let alone get elected to, our country’s highest offices leaves me feeling a bit cynical. Couple this with the fact that most of our Congressional employees in D.C. leave office much better off than when they went in and I start changing my mind. In fact, I’m changing my answer to Yes I Do Care.

Among about a thousand other things, Congress gets to vote on whether or not they get a raise. I may be wrong, but I doubt there has ever been a negative vote in that respect. They shrug and wonder aloud about voter apathy while inside they’re laughing their asses off.

Vote POOR in 2012 folks.

YoBob's avatar

@Blondesjon – Just curious. Do you think a poor person is less likely to vote him/herself a raise if in a position to do so that a rich person would?

marinelife's avatar

I distrust the rich a little more.

Blondesjon's avatar

@YoBob . . . No. I’m not saying that only a person of wealth (can we call them that?) would vote themselves a raise. My little broke ass would holler Yea along with everybody else. I’m saying that you have to be fairly wealthy to get elected to a job that, as just one of it’s perks, allows one to vote on whether or not they get a raise.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ideally, I’d like the candidates to have earned their wealth themselves. Uber-rich and running on Daddy’s money is a strong negative for me. The person does not truly know the value of wealth and cannot understand what “normal” people go though in their daily lives.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

It matters to me because I believe anyone who grew up with money can’t really relate to people on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. The problem is you can’t get elected if you don’t have money and without money, you don’t have the connections to get elected.

wundayatta's avatar

If they are wealthy, I suspect them of a hidden agenda. If they are democrats, I wonder how they got to be democrats. If they are republicans, I assume they just want to keep more money for themselves.

Still, it seems like so many on both sides of the aisle are wealthy. It’s hard to believe they can disagree with each other, but I guess they have some integrity as far as their views and campaign promises are concerned. Not that it matters. It seems like it is very difficult to get anything done in Washington, although I’d say Obama has already accomplished a lot.

Jaxk's avatar

It seems difficult to believe that a person that’s never had two nickels to rub together, would have much concept of a $4 trillion budget. At the same time we seem to have a preference for electing Lawyers which are quite astute at spending other peoples money. I guess of the two, I’d rather have the person that’s never had two nickels to rub together.

Bellatrix's avatar

As long as it was earned legally. I don’t really need to know about a politician’s wealth.

josie's avatar

No. That is why they go into politics. That is where the money is.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I care about how wealthy our politicians are because it is only the wealthy that have the opportunity to run for public office & the wealthy have no frame of reference to understand those of us who are not wealthy (& the challenges that we face everyday in order to just make ends meet). A large percentage of our politicians (once they get into office) give every evidence of only being interested in the money. They allow their fellow big businesses to get away with glaring deceptions & they structure laws to take away the social services that keep the poorest of the poor, alive.

ETpro's avatar

How much wealth they have is a non-ssie. How they got it might be a different matter. For instance, Mitt Romney is a billionaire. His claim to fame is he made it big in private enterprise, so he knows how to create jobs. But his money came from 14 years owning a private equity firm specializing in corporate takeovers. They bought companies ripe for gutting, often financing part of the purchase with money in the employee pension fund (Yes, our wonderful corporatist Congress made that legal). They off-shored the jobs to slash costs, then dumped the company for a huge profit before the debt load they took on to buy it burdened it’s inflated stock price down. His experience isn’t in creating jobs in America, it’s in adding them in China. And for this, he made profits in excess of 100% per year for 14 years. That, I do care about.

JLeslie's avatar

Those of you who say the wealthy have no concept of what life is like for the poor, would you also agree that the poor have no concept of life for the wealthy, the business owners, those who have created jobs, grown business, worked with big budgets? Is the ideal person someone who started with a very modest childhood and through adulthood became a self made wealthy man from the ground up?

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I would guess that is so. But there are a number of self made billionaires who are ravenous greed machines at heart and are perfectly willing to destroy their own children’s future in order to further enrich themselves today.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

No,

But I’m VERY concerned about where it came from.

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