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Why Wealthy Interested Are Way Over Represented in Politics

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November 11, 2009 – Comments (5)

Wealth make rules that favor themselves.  This post has a ratio of how many millionaires there would be if the people were as wealthy as the people elected to represent them.

People in the lowest economic bracket tend to vote the least and they do so at their peril.

5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 11, 2009 at 6:44 PM, dwot (97.58) wrote:

I agree with the position that it takes a boatload of money to get elected, hence the little guy is effectively cut out.

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#2) On November 11, 2009 at 11:25 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

This shows one of the many facets of widespread income inequality: the erosion of democracy.
The well-heeled have always had preferential access to the strings of power but never in this scale.
Before Reaganism, when taxes were high and income inequality low, everyone felt that they were represented by the elected politicians. There was taxation with representation. After the Reagan revolution, the wealthy received big tax cuts and labor's share of the national income started to decline.
This created a paradoxical situation: the decline in workers' wages caused that a lot of people fell to low taxation brackets and the rich ended paying a bigger share of taxes because their earnings growth was much bigger than the tax cuts they received. So, the current situation in the USA is that a big chunk of people pay little or zero federal taxes while a minority is burdened with paying the largest share of government.
How this situation erodes democracy? It makes impossible to raise taxes to pay for the deficits:
- If you try to raise taxes in the middle/working class you will lose the next election. The working class has no extra income to pay taxes and the middle class doesn't want to compromise its lifestyle.
- The wealthy feel that they're overtaxed and want to shift the fiscal burden onto other members of society. Their concerns are backed by pseudo-economic arguments (voodoo/supply-side/trickle-down economics) and the lobbyists they can afford. So you have a reinforcing situation:
- Only the rich has enough money to affront a politic campaign and enough contacts to get contributions from corporations.
- Only the rich can hire lobbyists who advocate in favor of their interests.
- The rich only can win elections if they promise not to raise taxes on the middle and lower classes.
- Once elected, rich politicians will give tax cuts to themselves because "economic theory says so". They'll also give handouts (corporate welfare) to their campaign contributors and they will not touch taxes on the middle/working class because that means the end of their political career. Meanwhile, public finances deteriorate further because spending isn't curbed (corporate welfare, middle-class welfare) and revenue growth is impossible.

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#3) On November 11, 2009 at 11:53 PM, starbucks4ever (99.05) wrote:

If money could buy you the election, then Ross Perot would now be the president. Every once in a while a string puppet imagines that if only it had money, it would pay off the manipulator and set the rules on its own, but it never works that way...

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#4) On November 12, 2009 at 12:32 AM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

Ross Perot ran a campaign around economic populism, "common sense" and a reputation of being an outsider to politics. He might have won the election if he didn't commit those PR blunders.

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#5) On November 12, 2009 at 1:16 AM, starbucks4ever (99.05) wrote:

He might have won the election if he didn't commit those PR blunders

Not a chance, because as long as the media was telling voters to choose between Slick Willie and Bush the Father, his electorate would never go above the percentage of people who can think on their own. That percentage is 15-17% in any society, under any political system. 

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