No the rich aren’t like you
It’s quite noticeable that the conservative rich massively outspend their more liberal brethren when it comes to influencing politics. I’ve seen estimates as high as a 9/1 difference in outside spending for Republicans vs. Democrats. Part of this is because Obama isn’t a liberal (and so, Soros, for example, is refusing to help this election) but this is an issue that transcends elections. Conservative rich like the Koch have spent billions building conservative institutions and message machinery (Fox, Heritage, talk radio, much much more).
The argument I have heard is that liberal rich should be concerned, because they may lose the rule of law. The rich use law much more than the poor or middle class, or even the upper class. They sue all the time, their corporations are creatures of law, and so on. so they should want to maintain the rule of law. What benefits everyone, benefits them too.
All true, except that they don’t think they’re losing the rule of law. They think that the law will protect their interests, and not those of others.
Since that is already mostly their experience (the law is a bludgeon for them rather than against them more often than not, in part because only they can really afford to use it to its full extent) they don’t see any reason why they can’t tilt the field even further.
In terms of equitable law (including legislation) benefiting everyone: yes and no. The era of lessened responsibility and of legislative and judicial capture has made them filthy rich. Arguably they would have been as rich or nearly as rich in a functioning society which produced more equitable incomes and better GDP growth because demand wouldn’t have been strangled (income for the rich rose just fine during the 45 to 75 period) BUT in relative terms they wouldn’t be as rich or powerful, because other people would be richer. Comparative power is what it’s about. If America becomes a third world country and the rich live in massive compounds, flying from one to the other (like they, er, do now) and the courts rule in their favor and the legislatures write bills for thm what is the negative? It’s only a real problem if they lose control, or the lower orders become uppity enough to go all Bastille day on them, which they don’t think Americans will do.
I’m not saying they’re necessarily right, but this is the way they think.
It is not clear to me that liberal rich see nearly as much benefit to them personally. They half buy the conservative argument, because that is their lived experience–they don’t have to deal with ordinary people, they don’t fly on the same planes, they don’t take the subway or buses or even ordinary taxis most of the time, they live in a bubble in which the problems of normal people effect them only remotely. They have hotels rooms or whole hotels which cost so much you and I will never enter them (we don’t even know their names, by and large) with private garages to private elevators to private lobbies to private rooms, from which they are conveyed in helicopters or limousines to private jets. They never see someone who isn’t part of their class or a servant or retainer. All this assuming they don’t have a private residence in every city they spend any significant amount of time in.
This is not an exaggeration. Most people have no idea how the rich really live.
They aren’t like us, there is a point where wealth becomes so huge that it lifts you out of ordinary existence and the global rich (including the American rich) are past that event horizon.