Wednesday, February 10, 2010


As you know I've been trying to encourage people to use the terminology PTR instead of GOP. The acronym was originally for "Party of The Rich", but a number of people have commented that it is more proper to say "Party for The Rich." It's the same acronyn but reflects correctly that many of its supporter are not themselves rich but for some reason or other think that we must help out our more wealthy and powerful citizens.

I also call your attention to the Comment by Sarah in which she quotes the late Howard Zinn on Obama (from The Nation).

1 comment:

  1. Part of the Republican's appeal to many lower-income voters has nothing to do with economic policy. If they were to vote rationally, lower-income individuals would support re-distribution. We can debate about whether redistribution is good policy or bad policy, and to what degree if it is good policy; but from the low income voters perspective it is a very good policy for themselves. What a lot of Republican support is about is religious issues like gay marriage, abortion, abstinence education, church-and-state etc. The intensity of religious belief is better predictor of Republicanism than earnings. If you were to create a new party that favored extreme religious conservatism, but also favored redistributive economic policy, I suspect the Republicans would lose large amounts of support from the lower-income brackets.

    I typically find the desire to help the wealthy, as you say, stems from arguments about fairness more than from economic policy. A lot of people simply don't believe it's fair to tax the rich at a higher rate, for example. There are a variety of legitimate arguments against harsher progressive taxation that have to do with greater distortion of the intertemporal allocation of resources; the fact that high earners have a higher savings rate and so increasing the burden would harm steady state growth, and that it would discourage investment in capital and bias it towards consumption. I usually hear those arguments and then just argue for a progressive consumption tax with expensive standard non-discretionary items excluded from the progressively of the system (e.g. cars), but whatever. But most lower-income people never make that argument, it tends to be about fairness for them - not about economics or "helping the rich."