2007 March 15 Thursday
Bloomberg Poll Show Most Dissatisfied

Most people do not like where America is headed.

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- How gloomy Americans are about the direction of the country and President George W. Bush's leadership depends on how much money they make.

Twenty-three percent of all Americans said the country is on the right track, a 15-year low, according to a new Bloomberg poll. Among those with higher incomes, 43 percent said the country is on the right path. Three-fifths of Americans disapproved of the job Bush is doing, compared with 38 percent who approved. Among those with household income higher than $100,000, the gap is smaller, with 53 percent disapproving and 46 percent approving.

I see this poll as a reflection of the trend toward US national wealth gains accumulating mostly in the upper classes. The rest grow more resentful of their lower status. The wider the income disparity gets between the top and the bottom the more dissatisfied people are going to get. This is a problem because the dumbing down due to demographic trends is going to swell the ranks of the lower middle class and lower classes.

The Democrats can make some headway by supporting more taxes on the rich. Robin Hood politics seems likely to play a bigger role on the American political scene.

But the poor are likely to be disappointed. They are more willing to vote for people who will raise taxes on the upper income brackets. But the additional revenue raised is increasingly going to go toward financing old age retirement benefits, especially medical costs. So the lower class workers will end up voting for taxes to pay for the living standards of old folks.

Will poor folks turn against middle and upper class old folks and demand less be spent on the old and more on the youthful and middle aged poor?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 March 15 10:36 PM  Politics Factions

Craig said at March 16, 2007 12:26 PM:

I am a person who would be considered a natural conservative, and part of the Republican base. I've voted Republican all of my life. I'm neither poor nor rich, but the more I see the GOP kissing up to the wealthy - high levels of immigration, elimination of the estate tax, and doing diddly about social issues - the fewer reasons I find to vote for them.

If the rich have their way on open borders, I'll become a socialist out of pure spite. Big business wants its way on everything, and that just ain't how the world works. They can have low taxes and low immigration, or high taxes and high immigration, but low taxes and high immigration just aren't in the cards.

birch barlow said at March 16, 2007 10:08 PM:

(Sorry for double post...I mean to post this comment here...you may delete the other one)

Leftism is extremely dangerous. No state can ultimately survive full-blown leftist policy; leftist policies only "work" to the extent that they are not so extreme as to cause fatal economic damage. Of course the same can be said for extreme social righties--if, for example, laws against marijuana and misusing prescription and OTC drugs were really enforced, a huge chunk of the population would be in jail (ACLU types talk about 2 mil in jail...if these policies were really enforced to the full extent of the law, we might be talking 50 to 100 mil in jail...clearly an untenable situation as well as an extremely immoral one).

Back to the lefties...A perfect storm of massive increases in general spending (particularly k-12 education and health care) and even more massive increases in old-age spending, and mass low-skill immigration is a perfect way to turn a first-class country into a piece of garbage.

It's time for some divide and conquer politics. Yep, that may sound extemely Machiavellian, but it may ultimately be the only way of stopping the U.S.A. from going the way of the dodo. Put lower class young and middle-aged people against old people of all classes who want more old age benefits. Put up-and-coming East and South Asians against old people and lower-class immigrants who want all their money. What is critical is keeping factions who tend to vote Democratic from all getting together and supporting huge increases in spending on (especially) old-age entitlements, education, and health care. Make it clear to Asians and Jews (and better off Latinos and blacks) that their interests are far,far different from underclass minorities. Make it clear to poor blacks, whites, and native-born Latinos that open borders is not in their interests. These are just a few examples; a good political operative, someone like the mythical version of Karl Rove, who has a good understanding of the issues in The Bell Curve, The Blank Slate, The Selfish Gene, and other books in that vein (e.g. what leftists would consider racist, sexist, classist, misanthropic, etc).

nz conservative said at March 19, 2007 1:33 AM:

'low taxes and high immigration just aren't on the cards,' - if only libertarians could grasp this point

Craig said at March 21, 2007 5:52 AM:

"But the poor are likely to be disappointed. They are more willing to vote for people who will raise taxes on the upper income brackets. But the additional revenue raised is increasingly going to go toward financing old age retirement benefits, especially medical costs."

Where, exactly, the taxes end up going doesn't matter completely. Obviously, one would hope that much of it would go towards balancing the budget. A lot of it, inevitably, would wind up falling down the bureaucratic rathole. The more relevant point is that higher taxes on wealth would be a leveler on purchasing power. The conservative media (Wall Street Journal, etc.) likes to fixate on the decreasing price point of non-durable goods - iPods, PCs, home theatre systems, cell phones, etc., etc. But the reality is that the biggest items of all just keep getting pricier. Japan, Korea, or whoever happens to be making TVs these days can pretty much crank out an endless supply without raising the price. But God ain't making anymore land, and with things like that the disparity in purchasing power between rich and poor matters a lot. (It also matters with political influence - some people can afford to give politicians tens of thousands, or even millions, while millions can't afford to give them a dime). While the upper classes build their McMansions, more Americans find themselves strangers in their own land, living in neighborhoods where half the people don't speak English and where there are ten cars in everyone's driveway.

I am not in favor of high taxes, on the rich or anyone else. I'm well aware of the economic arguments surrounding the subject. But high numbers of unskilled immigrants will necessitate higher taxes anyway, and I know whose pockets those taxes should be coming out of - and it ain't mine.

birch barlow said at March 21, 2007 9:25 PM:

I think the tax system needs to be reformed. Currently someone making $100K a year is paying about the same percentage of their income as someone making millions, but at the same time paying a much greater percentage than someone making $20-$30K. I think taxes should be lowered in the $20-$100K range, but raised for those making over $500K, and greatly raised for those making say, $2M or more. Social security taxes could be lowered, and income taxes made less progressive at and below $100K, while a small surtax is placed on incomes over $500K, and a larger one at higher incomes than that. If I didn't fear the economic consequences, I'd say put a 90% tax on all incomes over $1M...certainly no one needs or deserves this kind of money*...but I fear that big business types could become complacent if 90% of their marginal earnings are taxed.

F*** all the snobs who are making millions, while at the same time calling upper-middle class professionals (scientists, doctors, engineers, mid-level people in business) and middle-class people in general greedy and racist for not wanting big spending and open borders. If the Hollywood and media elite, and the higher-ups in big business want open borders and lots education and health spending, they should put their money where their mouths are...call for a tax on themselves rather than the middle and upper-middle classes.

*The moral argument by some right-wingers that multimillionaires "deserve" or "earned" their money is pure bulls***; these people simply won the genetic and/or social lottery---unfortunately, however, the libertarian economic argument for not overtaxing ultra-high incomes is probably right.

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