Recently, Paul Krugman considered the disconnect between Republican candidates who continue to attack Social Security and the overwhelming majorities of American citizens who support the program.
His explanation? It’s all about the big money.
Wealthy individuals have long played a disproportionate role in politics, but we’ve never seen anything like what’s happening now: domination of campaign finance, especially on the Republican side, by a tiny group of immensely wealthy donors. Indeed, more than half the funds raised by Republican candidates through June came from just 130 families.
And while most Americans love Social Security, the wealthy don’t. Two years ago a pioneering study of the policy preferences of the very wealthy found many contrasts with the views of the general public; as you might expect, the rich are politically different from you and me. But nowhere are they as different as they are on the matter of Social Security. By a very wide margin, ordinary Americans want to see Social Security expanded. But by an even wider margin, Americans in the top 1 percent want to see it cut.
The study Krugman references is fascinating–and deeply troubling.
Titled “Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans,” it confirms the old adage that “the rich are different from the rest of us.” A few sentences from the abstract are instructive.