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The Gap Between The Voters And The People Home Watching TV
Scott Adams writes:

I keep hearing pundits whining about the growing gap between the rich and the poor. I have difficulty empathizing with that viewpoint for two reasons:

1. Poor people can vote.
2. There are more poor people than rich people.

In theory, those unhappy poor people could vote to tax the living piss out of the super rich. Why don’t they do it?

Posted by aalkon at May 11, 2006 10:11 AM

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The key phrase there is "in theory". If we lived in a true democracy, in theory the people would have such power. However, it is generally only the rich who can afford to campaign for office, and it is only the rich who can afford to lobby for change.

So the poor can vote all they want and not affect any change. After all, they are voting for a rich person to make the decisions for them. Others may find their way into office, but their chance of having any kind of influence is so small that it isn't worth noting.

This government was set up to give the people the illusion that they have the power, and it was structured so that the uneducated masses couldn't mess everything up.

Also, as much as we like to hate rich people, they tend to be pretty decent for the overall economy. As soon as you start taxing "the living piss" out of them, they start to leave for greener, friendlier pastures. This would not be good for us.

Posted by: Silver_Fox at May 11, 2006 6:37 AM

People vote against their economic interests all the time. Read Thomas Franks' "What's The Matter With Kansas?" The GOP has mastered generating "morality" issues to manipulate and GOTV. To paraphrase Franks, vote against gay marriage and get corporate welfare. Vote against abortion and get tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Posted by: deja pseu at May 11, 2006 7:45 AM

Yes, and in "theory" 51% of the people could vote to cut off the nuts of 49% of the people. There is a reason we have a constitution. It's to protect individuals from the mindless masses.

Posted by: f at May 11, 2006 8:40 AM

I hated the Franks book:

Poor people have other things on their minds besides politics. They're focused on putting food in their bellies and clothes on their kids more than details of Federal Reserve policy. Furthermore who knows if they're actually going to be working on election day... Will the bus be able to get them to the right side of town to vote?

The presumption that an evil, manipulative Man is pulling the wool over the eyes of the Little People is a pervasive and self-flattering canard. The ugly truth is more practical and mundane. Poor people don't NEED much help in defeating their own interests.

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2006 9:04 AM

In theory, those unhappy poor people could vote to tax the living piss out of the super rich. Why don’t they do it?

Because there are only two parties that can actually win under our current system, and neither is truly in favor of that. Democrats kinda sorta pretend to be, but are easily cowed by the fear of being tarred as ultra-lefties or whatnot.

Posted by: LYT at May 11, 2006 3:53 PM

LYT, are there corresponding virtues that conservatives are afraid to espouse because they'll be called ultra-right?

Posted by: Crid at May 11, 2006 4:13 PM

In theory, those unhappy poor people could vote to tax the living piss out of the super rich. Why don’t they do it?

They do.

Posted by: Gary Steiger at May 11, 2006 6:56 PM

In the USA, the answer is probably: most poor people aren't lounging at the bottom bemoaning their woes, they're on their way up. They hear "tax the rich" and think "in a few years that will be me you'd be taxing". The USA left is a symptom of middle-class guilt and condescension.

In the EU, the answer is "they do" - they moderate their rapacity only by the fear they'll crash the economy (versus merely drag it to a slow crawl). CF the recent French riots.

Posted by: Julian Morrison at May 13, 2006 7:19 PM

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