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Four Billionaires Up Close

Four Billionaires Up Close

(p.54) Chapter Three Four Billionaires Up Close
Billionaires and Stealth Politics
Benjamin I. PageJason SeawrightMatthew J. Lacombe
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 3 explores in more depth the tax- and Social Security-related words and actions of four particular billionaires—Warren Buffett, John Menard Jr., Carl Icahn, and David Koch. These four were carefully selected to provide methodological leverage on issues of causal inference, causal mechanisms, and possible measurement errors, so that a closer look at them provides further confirmation of our stealth politics theory. Intensive analyses of these four cases confirm the stealth politics theory and suggest that our systematic quantitative analyses do not suffer from major measurement error issues. Beyond their methodological purposes, the cases are also of interest in themselves. They happen to represent nearly the full range of political philosophies that are embraced by US billionaires. Buffett occupies a center-left position on the liberal/conservative continuum, not far from the views of average Americans. Menard is a hard-line economic conservative; Koch a libertarian; and Icahn a sort of populist who served as an advisor to Donald Trump. Missing—not by accident—is any billionaire who can be called a thoroughgoing liberal on both social and economic issues. In the United States, economically liberal billionaires are very rare.

Keywords:   Warren Buffett, John Menard Jr., Carl Icahn, David Koch, case studies, multi-method social science

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