Monday, November 15, 2010

Data catches up to hypothesis

More than three years ago, I hypothesized (Ivy for guessed) that one reason we Americans find ourselves in such a perverse and unbalanced political culture is the fact that, post-Watergate, Democrats have had to raise money from lots of rich people with special interests, not just from a small number of ideological liberals (such as George Soros).

[I]t was campaign finance reform that led Democrats to discard social class as a weapon and unifying principle.
Hypothesizing is easy. Any blogger in an armchair can do.

Now, according to Frank Rich, academics Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, in Winner-Take-All Politics, have confirmed at least part of this hypothesis with actual hard-won data:
America’s ever-widening income inequality was not an inevitable by-product of the modern megacorporation, or of globalization, or of the advent of the new tech-driven economy, or of a growing education gap. (Yes, the very rich often have fancy degrees, but so do those in many income levels below them.) Inequality is instead the result of specific policies, including tax policies, championed by Washington Democrats and Republicans alike as they conducted a bidding war for high-rolling donors in election after election.
Of course, in the aftermath of Citizens United v. FEC, we're in the worst possible situation. Self-interested corporations (after all, that's their job) are barely restricted if at all, while individual contributors who might be able to counter the corporations are still prohibited from it.

Don't look for the Supreme Court to do anything about it. At least six of the Supremes - Stephen Breyer is the crossover - are firmly corporatist.

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