Thursday, May 15, 2008

TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Are Americans Egalitarians?

TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Are Americans Egalitarians?:
"One problem is that most ordinary citizens pay only modest attention to politics and public affairs; as a result, they are often too uninformed to translate their broad political values into specific policy preferences. The 2001 Bush tax cut is a dramatic case in point. In opinion surveys conducted in 2002 and 2004, about 40% of the public said they hadn't thought about whether they favored or opposed this multi-trillion dollar policy innovation. Among those who did express a view one way or the other, opinions were most strongly shaped by what I refer to as 'unenlightened self-interest.' People who thought their own taxes were too high were very likely to support the tax cut, regardless of what they thought about the tax burdens of rich people, who were overwhelmingly the main beneficiaries from the tax cut. How much people wanted to spend on a wide variety of government programs, their views about the efficiency or wastefulness of government, and other plausibly relevant considerations had no effects, or seemingly illogical effects, on support for the tax cut. Democrats and strong egalitarians were most likely to oppose the tax cut, but only if they were unusually well-informed. Indeed, much of the sizable plurality of public opinion in support of the tax cut came from uninformed egalitarians, liberals, and Democrats"

Media delenda est.

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