Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age

Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age

by Larry M. Bartels
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691146233

ISBN-13: 9780691146232

Pub. Date: 03/14/2010

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. Larry Bartels demonstrates that the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. Bartels also argues that the working

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Overview

Using a vast swath of data spanning the past six decades, Unequal Democracy debunks many myths about politics in contemporary America. Larry Bartels demonstrates that the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. Bartels also argues that the working class is not being lured into the Republican camp by “values issues” like abortion and gay marriage, but instead because Republican presidents have been remarkably successful in timing income growth to election years.

Unequal Democracy is a deep and searching analysis of the political causes and consequences of American'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:
9780691146232
Publisher:
Russell Sage Foundation
Publication date:
03/14/2010
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 The New Gilded Age 1

Escalating Economic Inequality 6

Interpreting Inequality 13

Economic Inequality as a Political Issue 19

Inequality and American Democracy 23

2 The Partisan Political Economy 29

Partisan Patterns of Income Growth 31

A Partisan Coincidence? 34

Partisan Differences in Macroeconomic Policy 42

Macroeconomic Performance and Income Growth 47

Partisan Policies and Post-Tax Income Growth 54

Democrats, Republicans, and the Rise of Inequality 61

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

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

5 Do Americans Care about Inequality? 127

Egalitarian Values 130

Rich and Poor 136

Perceptions of Inequality 143

Facts and Values in the Realm of Inequality 148

6 Homer Gets a Tax Cut 162

The Bash 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

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

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

9 Economic Inequality and Political Representation 252

Ideological Representation 254

Unequal Responsiveness 257

Unequal Responsiveness on Social Issues: The Case of Abortion 265

Partisan Differences in Representation 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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