Real Wor-Shing-Tun Elitism: The Social Security Edition

One of the reasons that the political response to high unemployment was so weak is due to the Washington ‘bubble effect’: despite high unemployment elsewhere, the Washington area has been booming (and doesn’t appear set to stop either). One example is the Social Security ‘debate’ (boldface mine):

It is important to note that this would reveal not only explicit and intentional corruption, but the more generalized corruption in the system. I don’t imagine there are many Senators who, faced with a policy choice, consciously think “Lifting the cap on payroll taxes would cost me $7,000 a year, whereas raising the retirement age wouldn’t affect me at all, so that’s the way I’ll go.” Far more likely, it never occurs to them that raising the retirement age would badly hurt their constituents, because it wouldn’t badly hurt most of the people they encounter on a daily basis. And it never occurs to them that subjecting high-income earners to the same payroll taxes the rest of us pay would affect very few people, because it would affect nearly everyone the Senator regularly encounters. When you and your peers and associates are all far richer than the people you represent, it skews your understanding of what is typical. (And it leads to things like Mitt Romney thinking someone who makes $250,000 a year is “middle class,” thought that income would place the person among the top two percent of the nation’s taxpayers.)

This rings true: a few years ago, when I had to testify in Washington, I remember just how expensive the lobbyists’ suits were. Congresscritters are the poor ones in the ecosystem. Though I think Foser is wrong in a rather important way. This is not corruption. This is elitism of the truest sort: government by, for, and of the wealthy.

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