Tag Archives: Affluence and Influence

Which Party Serves We, the People?

We’ve all seen those television advertisements from both political parties promising to serve We, the People. But which one does? Neither, really.

I’ve written frequently about Princeton Prof. Martin Gilens’ book Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America.  Prof. Gilens makes the case that the national government is quite responsive to the policy preferences of the affluent but almost never responsive to the poor and middle class. This may disappoint my Democratic friends, but Democratic administrations have been less responsive than Republican ones – especially during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson.

Want a responsive administration? President George W. Bush is your man (in his early years).

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Gilens for Commonwealth Journal on WUMB radio, 91.9 FM. Here’s a link to the podcast and another to I-Tunes. Listen in and for a bit more of what you’ll find on the broadcast, read on.

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I (heart) Pandering and Gridlock

Since Ed Markey’s comments on Dred Scott and Citizens United some including the Boston Globe’s Farah Stockman have said bad analogy, but Citizen’s United is a grave threat to democracy and should be repealed. So before I get to my admiration for pandering and gridlock let’s start today with a quiz:

Q: Has Citizens United tilted Washington toward the rich?

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How Money Wins the Policy Game

Princeton Professor Martin Gilens opens his book Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America with a quote from Justice Louis Brandeis: “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

Professor Gilens does not have good news for us about what the concentration of money in the hands of a few is doing to our democracy.

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