Alex Blaze

"The good side of Gay, Inc." remix

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 08, 2010 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: economic policy, income inequality, LGBT, Nonprofit Industrial Complex, org

Phil posted yesterday several reasons why he loves the gay nonprofit industry, and a few people in the comments pointed out that they didn't like how their agenda was pretty much set based on wealthier LGBT's desires. I'm not defending that reality, but it's a lot bigger than Gay, Inc., or us:

Blog_Bartels_Income_Responsiveness_0.jpgAs research from Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels demonstrated several years ago, American politicians are powerfully affected by the views of the rich, and this has nothing to do with any recent electoral trends.

Rather, as the chart on the right shows, things have been this way for a long time. Using data from voting records in the early 90s, it shows that the responsiveness of senators to the views of the poor and working class is....zero. Or maybe even negative. And that's true for both parties. The middle class does better -- again, with both parties -- and high earners do better still. In fact, they do spectacularly better among Republican senators. And this disparity has almost certainly gotten even worse over the past two decades.

This is the shape of American politics. If your income is low -- and probably a fair number of the 56% who want Bush's tax cuts for the rich repealed are low-income voters -- politicians simply don't care. If you're middle class they care a little more. But if you're rich, then they really, really care. And it's safe to say that most high earners are opposed to repealing tax cuts on high earners. That goes for all Republicans and a growing number of Democrats too. So what seems like a no-brainer isn't as simple as it looks.

Say what you want about American gay orgs working on issues wealthy people care about more, they're pretty much just working within a classist context that's far too entrenched for them to challenge and remain in existence. The real power, both on LGBT issues and others, lies in changes to the democratic process itself.

In related news, everyone is linking this excellent series on growing income inequality in the US, mainly because it promises to be thorough. Ironically, Slate itself was started by Microsoft, created by the richest man in America.


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You rock. Thanks for responding!

...they're pretty much just working within a classist context that's far too entrenched for them to challenge and remain in existence.

Too true. And when an organization, through hard work, dedicated organizing and years of effort finally gets to the point where they can begin to fight on behalf of the poor and working people in the constantly raging class war in this country, they get sandbagged by bullshit, like ACORN was.

Pretty much. The whole system works against the rabble speaking for themselves.

Oh now, Alex, quit your complaining! ... Let's pull out our checkbooks one more time, scrape the bottoms of our middle-class almost-empty bank accounts, and write another check to HRC.

After all, in no time it will be a new month and Little Joe will need another Dolce & Gabbana suit:

http://www.washingtonlife.com/2010/03/12/washington-life%E2%80%99s-2010-fashion-awards/