Tuesday, December 1, 2015

"a very long, long term war."

That's not about ISIS or Al Qaeda. It's speculation about the the view taken by the millionaire Governor of Illinois of his leadership - from one of the Governor's acquaintances. After using millions of his own dollars to secure his election, supplemented by huge donations from other wealthy financiers, Governor Bruce Rauner is intent on using his position to diminish labor unions and prevent income tax increases on the very wealthy. You might recall I've been saying for a long time that America is losing an economic and political war waged by moneyed interests. Illinois is a perfect example.

I'm relying on the reporting from the New York Times (h/t Jana Eaton) for the story and accompanying data.

A recent survey reveals how the infusion of such enormous wealth into the political process has created an enormous divide between the attitudes of the electorate and those that get elected.

Opinions for the wealthiest are based on a survey of 83 wealthy households from the Chicago area.
Source: "Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans," by Benjamin I. Page, Larry M. Bartels, and Jason Seawright

  • 52% of all Americans agree that "Our government should redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich." Only 17% of the wealthiest agree.
  • 59% of all Americans agree that "Social Security should be expanded, not cut back or kept about the same." Only 3% of the wealthiest agree.
  • 78% of all Americans believe that "The minimum wage should be high enough so that no family with a full-time worker falls below the official poverty line." Only 40% of the wealthiest agree on that one.

As the author of the survey notes: Illinois is "a case study of the disconnect in action — between what average citizens want the government to do and what it does." The disconnect is exacerbated by the extreme economic inequality that enables the very rich to buy elections and thereby secure political power.

This one is a long piece but it is worth a read.

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