Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age / Edition 1

Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age / Edition 1

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by Larry M. Bartels
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691136637

ISBN-13: 9780691136639

Pub. Date: 04/07/2008

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

Using a vast swath of data spanning the past six decades, Unequal Democracy debunks many myths about politics in contemporary America, using the widening gap between the rich and the poor to shed disturbing light on the workings of American democracy. Larry Bartels shows the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations

Overview

Using a vast swath of data spanning the past six decades, Unequal Democracy debunks many myths about politics in contemporary America, using the widening gap between the rich and the poor to shed disturbing light on the workings of American democracy. Larry Bartels shows the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. This is not simply the result of economic forces, but the product of broad-reaching policy choices in a political system dominated by partisan ideologies and the interests of the wealthy.

Bartels demonstrates that elected officials respond to the views of affluent constituents but ignore the views of poor people. He shows that Republican presidents in particular have consistently produced much less income growth for middle-class and working-poor families than for affluent families, greatly increasing inequality. He provides revealing case studies of key policy shifts contributing to inequality, including the massive Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and the erosion of the minimum wage. Finally, he challenges conventional explanations for why many voters seem to vote against their own economic interests, contending that working-class voters have not been lured into the Republican camp by "values issues" like abortion and gay marriage, as commonly believed, but that Republican presidents have been remarkably successful in timing income growth to cater to short-sighted voters.

Unequal Democracy is social science at its very best. It provides a deep and searching analysis of the political causes and consequences of America's growing income gap, and a sobering assessment of the capacity of the American political system to live up to its democratic ideals.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691136639
Publisher:
Russell Sage Foundation
Publication date:
04/07/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter 1. The New Gilded Age 1
Escalating Economic Inequality 6
Interpreting Inequality 13
Economic Inequality as a Po litical Issue 19
Inequality and American Democracy 23

Chapter 2. The Partisan Political Economy 29
Partisan Patterns of Income Growth 31
A Partisan Coincidence? 34
Partisan Differences in Macroeconomic Policy 42
Macroeconomic Per for mance and Income Growth 47
Partisan Policies and Post- Tax Income Growth 54
Democrats, Republicans, and the Rise of In equality 61

Chapter 3. Class Politics and Partisan Change 64
In Search of the Working Class 66
Has the White Working Class Abandoned the Democratic Party? 72
Have Working- Class Whites Become More Conservative? 78
Do "Moral Values" Trump Economics? 83
Are Religious Voters Distracted from Economic Issues? 90
Class Politics, Alive and Well 93

Chapter 4. Partisan Biases in Economic Accountability 98
Myopic Voters 99
The Political Timing of Income Growth 104
Class Biases in Economic Voting 110
The Wealthy Give Something Back: Partisan Biases in Campaign Spending 116
Political Consequences of Biased Accountability 120

Chapter 5. Do Americans Care about In equality? 127
Egalitarian Values 130
Rich and Poor 136
Perceptions of Inequality 143
Facts and Values in the Realm of In equality 148

Chapter 6. Homer Gets a Tax Cut 162
The Bush Tax Cuts 164
Public Support for the Tax Cuts 170
Unenlightened Self- Interest 176
The Impact of Political Information 181
Chump Change 186
Into the Sunset 193

Chapter 7. The Strange Appeal of Estate Tax Repeal 197
Public Support for Estate Tax Repeal 198
Is Public Support for Repeal a Product of Misinformation? 205
Did Interest Groups Manufacture Public Antipathy to the Estate Tax? 214
Elite Ideology and the Politics of Estate Tax Repeal 217

Chapter 8. The Eroding Minimum Wage 223
The Economic Effects of the Minimum Wage 227
Public Support for the Minimum Wage 229
The Politics of Inaction 232
Democrats, Unions, and the Eroding Minimum Wage 239
The Earned Income Tax Credit 246
Reversing the Tide 247

Chapter 9. Economic Inequality and Po litical Representation 252
Ideological Representation 254
Unequal Responsiveness 257
Unequal Responsiveness on Social Issues: The Case of Abortion 265
Partisan Differences in Repre sen ta tion 267
Why Are the Poor Unrepresented? 275

10. Unequal Democracy 283
Who Governs? 285
Partisan Politics and the "Have- Nots" 288
Political Obstacles to Economic Equality 294
The City of Utmost Necessity 298

Selected References 305
Index 317

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Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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