Paul T and Leslie T comment on F(oreclose) The Banks
Maryellin concludes that, ultimately, the voters should take the lions share of blame for the 2008 sub-prime disaster and the resulting financial meltdown. But, here I have to disagree. The idea that individually, we can use our vote to affect how our representatives vote is idealism, at best. Beyond such idealism, what does the research show? In Economic Inequality and Political Representation, Larry Bartels, of Princeton University, looked at how U.S. senators responded to rich and poor constituents.
In every instance, senators appear to be much more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of constituents with modest incomes. On average, my estimates suggest that constituents at the 75th percentile of the income distribution have almost three times as much influence on senators’ general voting patterns as those at the 25th percentile, and several times as much influence on specific salient roll call votes. The preferences of constituents near the top of the income distribution are even more influential, while those in the bottom fifth receive little or no weight, especially from Republican senators.The Occupy Movement has provided a forum for large swaths of the public to express their anger that our elected government representatives are not, in fact, representing us. I would add that our representatives are doing an admirable job representing corporate interests, such as those of Bank of America.