The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

John Edwards joins the club

Jul 19, 2004

John Edwards, tapped by Democrat John Kerry as his vice-president, has joined three other multi-millionaires at the top of the Democratic and Republican tickets. Republicans Bush and Cheney have family wealth rooted in the oil and military contractor industries. Democrat Kerry, from a wealthy family himself, married into even greater wealth – his wife derives her billions from the Heinz family, one of just a few that dominate the prepared food industry.

Edwards got rich by taking a healthy slice of the 150 million dollars worth of settlements he won as a trial lawyer in a series of civil suits in the 1990s. After joining the Senate, he occupied himself wheeling and dealing in the stock and bond markets. And talk about insider information: he started making a lot of money buying and selling stock in military contractors just as preparations for the Iraq war began. Lockheed Martin, United Technologies, General Electric, British Petroleum, Cardinal Health Inc., General Dynamics – companies that profited from Iraq war contracts – all were part of Edwards' portfolio.

Of course, what's most important is not Edwards' or the other candidates great personal wealth: it's the fact that these four wealthy men speak for the rest of their class.