Friday, March 22, 2013

The Rich (1%) Aren't Like You and Me (99%): They Are Terrified That Rescuing the US Economy Will Cost Them Money (So, Please No Taxes Please for the Wealthy Please. Thank you!)



The wealthy opposed - while most Americans favor - instituting a system of national health insurance, raising the minimum wage to above poverty levels, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and providing a "decent standard of living" for the unemployed. They were also against the federal government helping with or providing jobs for those who cannot find private employment.

Unlike most Americans, wealthy respondents opposed increased regulation of large corporations and raising the "cap" that exempts income above $113,700 from the FICA payroll tax. And unlike most Americans, they oppose relying heavily on corporate taxes to raise revenue and oppose taxing the rich to redistribute wealth.

Ain't no big surprise.

(As the jilted lover always chimes.)

It was always an amazement to me when liberal friends made lots of excuses for why Hillary's new, improved health care system for the masses was dead-lettered by the health care organization owners. The essay below gives almost any observer a pretty definite indication of their priorities.

The 1% Aren't Like the Rest of Us

By Benjamin I. Page and Larry M. Bartels, Los Angeles Times

22 March 13


The ultra-rich share few of the priorities of most Americans, but their access to policymakers is greater, a study finds.
ver the last two years, President Obama and Congress have put the country on track to reduce projected federal budget deficits by nearly $4 trillion. Yet when that process began, in early 2011, only about 12% of Americans in Gallup polls cited federal debt as the nation's most important problem. Two to three times as many cited unemployment and jobs as the biggest challenge facing the country. So why did policymakers focus so intently on the deficit issue? One reason may be that the small minority that saw the deficit as the nation's priority had more clout than the majority that didn't.

We recently conducted a survey of top wealth-holders (with an average net worth of $14 million) in the Chicago area, one of the first studies to systematically examine the political attitudes of wealthy Americans. Our research found that the biggest concern of this top 1% of wealth-holders was curbing budget deficits and government spending. When surveyed, they ranked those things as priorities three times as often as they did unemployment - and far more often than any other issue.

If the concerns of the wealthy carry special weight in government - as an increasing body of social scientific evidence suggests - such extreme differences between their views and those of other Americans could significantly skew policy away from what a majority of the country would prefer. Our Survey of Economically Successful Americans was an attempt to begin to shed light on both the viewpoints and the political reach of the very wealthy.

While we had no way to measure directly the political influence of those surveyed, they did report themselves to be highly active politically.

Two-thirds of the respondents had contributed money (averaging $4,633) in the most recent presidential election, and fully one-fifth of them "bundled" contributions from others. About half recently initiated contact with a U.S. senator or representative, and nearly half (44%) of those contacts concerned matters of relatively narrow economic self-interest rather than broader national concerns. This kind of access to elected officials suggests an outsized influence in Washington.

On policy, it wasn't just their ranking of budget deficits as the biggest concern that put wealthy respondents out of step with other Americans. They were also much less likely to favor raising taxes on high-income people, instead advocating that entitlement programs like Social Security and healthcare be cut to balance the budget.

 Large majorities of ordinary Americans oppose any substantial cuts to those programs.

While the wealthy favored more government spending on infrastructure, scientific research and aid to education, they leaned toward cutting nearly everything else. Even with education, they opposed things that most Americans favor, including spending to ensure that all children have access to good-quality public schools, expanding government programs to ensure that everyone who wants to go to college can do so, and investing more in worker retraining and education.

The wealthy opposed - while most Americans favor - instituting a system of national health insurance, raising the minimum wage to above poverty levels, increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit and providing a "decent standard of living" for the unemployed. They were also against the federal government helping with or providing jobs for those who cannot find private employment.

Unlike most Americans, wealthy respondents opposed increased regulation of large corporations and raising the "cap" that exempts income above $113,700 from the FICA payroll tax.

And unlike most Americans, they oppose relying heavily on corporate taxes to raise revenue and oppose taxing the rich to redistribute wealth . . . .
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

And the rest of the article goes on like that. Kind of. If you disallow the confusion (and I really didn't have the heart today to go into that mindfield) about who really pays the taxes and what benefits they receive (and how gullible the lower class is in buying into the "deficit is our biggest problem" lie . . . .).

Some discerning commentary followed.

Is the 99% getting smarter politically about its adversaries?

We'll have to wait for the next election I guess.

COMMENTS:

- Walter J Smith 2013-03-22 06:54

The pro 1% biases in this article are astonishing: "The wealthy are likely to have better information about the costs of government programs (for which they pay a lot of taxes)..."The wealthy pay less than one-third of the taxes they paid during the Eisenhower Administration. They pay far less than any others, when those payments take into consideration their ability to pay instead of waste that money on conspicuous consumption, like the lavish displays of wasteful wealth they love presenting to prove their assumed inherent superiority.


If we get a "larger-scale national study," the need for which was hardly demonstrated by this article, then it will need some architects of that study to civilize it a bit, and bring it down from the sanctified abstractions that leave its authors dizzy with their own confusions about taxation and wealth.

What we need are articles helping us see why it is a waste of time voting for policymakers whose devotions are a foregone conclusion. What we need are studies that help us see how to cooperate even though our pseudo-intelligentsia seems more devoted to pedalling confusions than to clarifying reality. It would be a great help to have a public information service that wasn't primarily devoted to promoting the 1% sleaze.

+7awen 2013-03-22 07:06

Duh. But thanks for doing the research to show what we "not so smart" people already knew.


2 comments:

rjs said...

they have it so bad, suzan...we really oughtta do something to save the rich..

Suzan said...

Well, we could fuck them.

But that's what they want.

To do to the poor anyway.

Maybe we could expose them?

Now that would be a historical day in infamy.

Wouldn't it?

Well.

We could try.

Love you,

S