Notes on Excessive Wealth Disorder

Image: Kathryn Decker, Flickr Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/9yMfuF

Paul Krugman’s latest column is a must-read if you want to understand why policymakers don’t seem to be moving on the issues that matter to most voters. Here’s a highlight:

…[V]oters tend to place a relatively low priority on deficits as compared with jobs and the economy. And they overwhelmingly favor spending more on health care and Social Security.

The rich, however, are different from you and me. In 2011 the political scientists Benjamin Page, Larry Bartels, and Jason Seawright managed to survey a group of wealthy individuals in the Chicago area. They found striking differences between this group’s policy priorities and those of the public at large. Budget deficits topped the list of problems they considered “very important,” with a third considering them the “most important” problem. While the respondents also expressed concern about unemployment and education, “they ranked a distant second and third among the concerns of wealthy Americans.”

And when it came to entitlements, the policy preferences of the wealthy were clearly at odds with those of the general public. By large margins, voters at large wanted to expand spending on health care and Social Security. By almost equally large margins, the wealthy wanted to reduce spending on those same programs.

Krugman is on-point here and elsewhere — read his full column here, and make sure to pass it on.

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