Written by Kathleen Xue
In the 2012 elections, California cast a Democratic ballot, voting in favor of Barack Obama’s reelection. Palo Alto was filled with fliers promoting the Democratic party, with few to no promotions of the Republican party. It is strange, however, given the views of a majority of the people living in Palo Alto, that they identify themselves as liberal.
The values of the majority of citizens in Palo Alto actually match most with Libertarian values, emphasizing little to no government intervention, free market capitalism and the power of the individual more than anything else. Our average family income puts the government taxing policy against us, the benefits of being members of the Democratic party do not apply to our demographic and our values match well with the views of Conservatives.
The average annual household income of California is $61,801. In comparison, the average household income of Palo Alto is nearly double that—$118,774. Many of the members in our city work in large technology businesses such as Apple and Facebook, which allows them to afford the exorbitant houses common in this area. But given that we live in an area of such high prices this also takes a huge toll on our taxes. The “middle class” of Palo Alto still has to pay the same 58.3 percent tax as the middle class of other areas, but this translates to a greater contribution of hard-earned money of Palo Altans than other middle class citizens, as our salaries are drastically higher. Therefore, we are paying more to our society than we are gaining, as much of the tax goes to the state government which distributes the funds across the different geographic and topical sectors of California.
Many of the values of the Democratic party, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implemented by Obama which calls for equal healthcare for all citizens, actually devalues when applied to Palo Alto citizens. Many Palo Altans have high quality healthcare as it is, which has been earned by their good work ethic. Having the government infringe on this privilege is offensive to the fact that a large majority of Palo Altans are self-sufficient individuals who have gotten successful through their own effort. Though the ACA was written with good intentions in mind—to support patients with terminal illnesses and to offer basic healthcare to the impoverished—it also forces the government on the privileged and decreases the quality of their healthcare for the prices they pay. This means that to Palo Altans, the government is not only not benefitting them, but also hindering them with acts such as the ACA.
Finally, across the board in companies, especially in those based in the Silicon Valley, there is a common respect for competence—companies are constantly searching for the most talented individuals who can work most efficiently and effectively. Companies have little to no tolerance for social welfare if the worker does not use his or her resources efficaciously. To foster this, companies often promote friendly competition among their workers to stimulate an environment that produces the most that it can with its supplies. This emphasis on competence is the paramount belief of conservative Libertarians; Democrats, on the other hand, are concerned more with supporting the middle class and lightening their responsibilities and work demand, which is the complete opposite of what many in Palo Alto value.
Palo Alto is a city of constant growth, always finding areas to innovate. As a result, we are the forefront of the present, reforming our society to transition into the future. Thus, for the vast majority of our people to believe that they are Democratic given that their actions show the complete opposite, means that we have a mistaken view of the Democratic party and a stigma against the Republican party. The only conclusion to form from this contradiction is that many people in our city should actually be Libertarian. We are looking to the government for protection when the government really is the instrument that is hindering our full potential; it is time for us to embrace our inner Libertarians.