New York, NY--(ENEWSPF)--March 1, 2013. Yesterday, in the midst of Washington debates on the sequester and a minimum wage increase, national policy center Demos released a new paper that reveals the startling connection between political inequality and economic mobility: As corporations and the donor class wield outsized influence through political spending and civic participation advantages, elected officials are turning away from the economic policies that long guaranteed hardworking Americans the opportunity to join the middle class.
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Stacked Deck: How the Dominance of Politics by the Affluent & Business Undermines Economic Mobility in America unites Demos’ original research, polling supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, and recent scholarship from leading academics – including Professors Martin Gilens and Larry Bartels – to show how the increasingly institutionalized power of the donor class in our democracy is undermining economic mobility for those who can’t afford to buy political access and influence.
Heather McGhee, vice president of policy and outreach, said:
“Wealthy Americans are twice as likely as the rest of us to prioritize deficit reduction over job creation, which is no surprise, given how insulated the affluent and large corporations have been from the pain of the Great Recession. What is surprising is how Washington has embraced job-killing austerity -- but this report helps connect the dots from the preferences of the donor class to the economic policies that affect us all.”
Stacked Deck links Larry Bartels’ astonishing finding that
To further show how the priorities of the wealthy often shut out policies for upward mobility, Stacked Deck includes case studies on the connection between cuts in higher education funding and corporate tax giveaways in Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. For example, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, catering to wealthy and corporate interests, cut higher education funding by $1.6 billion, almost exactly the same amount as he gave away in corporate tax breaks ($1.57 billion).
“Stacked Deck” delves into the civic participation gap between the donor class and lower-income Americans as well as into how the priorities of people of color are disproportionately excluded from debate and policy. “Low-income Americans participated at far lower levels than affluent voters – as much as 30 percentage points less—in the 2008 and 2010 election,” noted Brenda Wright, Vice President for Legal Strategies. “These depressed rates of participation, which are in part a consequence of our antiquated voter registration system, make it even more difficult for the policy preferences of low-income persons to be heard in the public debate.”
Stacked Deck also delves into the civic participation gap between the donor class and lower-income Americans as well as into how the priorities of people of color are disproportionately excluded from debate and policy.
Stacked Deck: How the Dominance of Politics by the Affluent & Business Undermines Economic Mobility in America concludes with policy recommendations in four areas essential to achieving progress toward a more balanced society: limiting money in politics, expanding the freedom to vote, making corporations more responsive to the public interest, and reducing economic inequality. This is a foundational Demos paper, articulating our mission of creating an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and equal chance in our economy.