Sunday, November 28, 2010

Random political thought

So most people who vote Republican are not in the tax brackets that the party benefits the most (namely, the top few percent). In recent decades, the GOP has gutted the middle class and the poor by scaling back on social programs, destabilizing the economy through regressive tax cuts, letting basic infrastructure rot, etc. Despite this, poor and middle-class Republicans continue to aggressively vote against their best interests. Why? As I've said before, it comes down to the perception of the American Dream as something these voters want preserved when they reach the pinnacle of wealth. Not if. When.

I've heard many of these same people decry the lottery, calling it "a tax on the poor" or otherwise holding it up as an example of poor people (usually minorities) wasting their money. Why do they spend their money on something so fruitless that's obviously a pipe dream, when they could using it in a responsible way to lift themselves up?

Maybe that's a question they should ask themselves. Especially since, unlike the lottery-ticket buyer, their decisions hurt all of us.

5 comments:

NOLA Progressive said...

That is really the Trillion dollar question. Why do they keep voting against their self-interest after seeing the results of such votes. Also, how do we have them analyze the facts for what they are?

I had an entry not too long ago, about the rise of expatriotism, and I think it is the answer. We can't really change it. Their is too much money and blind tradition and dogma tied up in it all to substatively change this particular issue. Hence, the mass exodous (compartively to the rest of U.S. history) of folks to the E.U.

Ian McGibboney said...

I don't think it's a lost cause, necessarily. Maybe with some people. But I know people who watch just enough Fox News to override their otherwise decent natures, and I think it'll never be too late with them. Because deprive them of Fox News for a few days, and it's like when someone quits smoking and their heart rate decreases to normal. Those are the people who hurt the most, and are easiest to persuade. That's why Fox has them in the first place. I don't know what the answer is, because not even pocketbook woes make many of them see reality. But until I know, I'll keep plugging away.

NOLA Progressive said...

I haven't clocked out yet either, but I've just found myself increasingly negative about this topic lately. Which is odd for me, but perhaps it's just the magnitude of the shit cloud recently.

I still reply to all everytime I get that Obama end of days or Manchurian plant forward email :)

Daudi said...

It should be everyone's goal to reduce inequality.

In the last two days I've really been trying to read conservative blogs to see how they can possibly defend Senate Republicans on the issue of the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment benefits. No mentions of inequality. Mostly talk about how the rich provide jobs, not the poor, so it's smarter to help the rich. If that's true, then they are voting in their self-interest (it's not true, but it might explain the behavior).

So I get that their ideology on the way forward is fundamentally different, the top-down versus bottom-up idea.

But what disgusts me is the acceptance of inequality — that poor people are meant to be poor because they aren't enterprising, and that helping the neediest is a bad investment. Believing the idea that "redistributing" tax revenue to go back to the rich is a better investment than helping the rest of America requires a lot of ignoring economists and historical data, such as this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/opinion/07kristof.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1291922811-bmYAvsLshFoIkfqeFBBafQ

I think I'm going to buy a lottery ticket today.

Ian McGibboney said...

Daudi, this line of thought is an epidemic in south Louisiana. It's ingrained in so many people that you don't bite the hand that feeds you. I too can see why people think that coddling the rich is in their best interest; it just isn't.

A difference between Lafayette and Springfield is that while both have their rich and famous icons of business and industry, Lafayette (at least in the media) bows to these people. Not necessarily because of something they're doing (a la John Q. Hammons or Doug Pitt), but because of who they are. It's best described as the dark side of the who's-your-momma culture, as they call it. You don't see too many investigative reports on these titans. But you see them and their families all over the papers, in society and fashion pages. And everybody defers to them, because they're seen as people who went out and bootstrapped themselves. I know some of them myself and they're fine people, but I'm not about to get a job with them anytime soon. Not the way they all cozy up to Dick Cheney and take talk radio as gospel. Any criticism is seen as jealousy. It's tough to deal with.

And, saddest of all, there are lots of REALLY poor people there who buy into this to their own detriment.