May 14, 2014

MEGAN MCARDLE: Why Inequality’s A Loser For Democrats:

New York’s new mayor swept into office on a campaign against inequality. President Barack Obama has made any number of speeches about the rich who don’t pay their fair share. And yet, nationwide, this has not translated into big gains for the Democrats who are pushing it. Why is a phenomenon that keeps being heralded as the defining issue of our time such weak tea at the ballot box?

As a new article from Bloomberg News explains, Democrats aren’t benefiting from hammering on inequality because almost all the areas with the worst inequality are already controlled by Democrats.

That’s not an accident. Democratic policies promote inequality. And that’s not an accident either.

You can make a case that the difference between the Republican and Democratic politics of wealth lie in the difference between who tends to make up “the wealthy” in their districts. The rich of America’s affluent urban areas tend to be the beneficiaries, one way or another, of a global tournament economy in which markets are often close to “winner take all,” and vast sums can flow to people who are just a little bit better than their competitors. The wealthy in Republican districts, on the other hand, are more likely to be competing in local or national markets, not glamour industries, where sales are ground out one at a time. Because the sums involved are smaller, the wealth gap is also smaller — and business owners are less likely to be sympathetic to the idea that their success has a huge luck component.

Democratic policies are the warfare of the very-rich, allied with the poor, against the middle class and the petty-rich.

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