The Fiscal Cliff and Campaign Finance

At the time I write this, I have no idea if the House Republicans will have blown up the fiscal cliff deal. Assuming they haven’t, the deal reached (or that would have been reached) provides two examples of political scientist Larry Bartels’ argument that policy is geared entirely towards the wealthy (pdf). First example from the Krugman (boldface mine):

I should mention that on one issue, the estate tax, the problem is apparently with the Senate; there are, unfortunately, some heartland Dem Senators who are extremely solicitous of the handful of super-wealthy families in their states, so that Obama’s people don’t think they can get a majority for higher taxes here. It’s bizarre: states like New Jersey have far more large estates, not just total but per capita, than states like Montana, but it’s the Senators from the latter that are eager to preserve the inherited privileges of the few.

And by ‘few’, we are talking about a handful of households–there just aren’t that many people in Montana. The number of people in each of these states affected by estate taxes is probably in the dozens, at most. They do have money however….

Moving right along, this figure tells you everything about who gains and loses in this deal:

richcuts

FREEDOM!!!

By the way, the bill also restores peanut subsidies. So we literally get peanuts. Awesome.

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