Ignoring John Q. Public

The balance of power in US Politics has reached a tipping point – John Q. Public can be effectively ignored and bypassed in policy making. The recent article in the NYTimes, Flat Taxes and Angry Voters, is just one of many proofs. The article points out how the GOP Presidential candidates are ignoring many polls that indicate that a substantial majority of Americans would like to see deficits reduced by both cutbacks in spending and increases in taxes. Further, almost all of the GOP Presidential candidates are proposing `flat tax reforms` that would increase the burden on middle income taxpayers substantially.

On economic policy, Congress appears able to ignore bipartisan public sentiment entirely. Ditto for air quality and pollution control [the EPA has since had not just its mandate undermined but its budget cut]. And despite Gallup polls that shows  a strong majority of Americans support bipartisan policy-making, the Republicans rejected Obama`s large scale deficit reduction proposals because they had some tax increases. And now the  GOP has instituted  a full scale  blockade of any White House proposals including Jobs Legislation whose make-up is drawn substantially from Republican policy. The bottom line is that public opinion is considered fickle,  subject to manipulation, and ultimately ignorable.

The culprits are twofold. First, Congressional incumbents get re-elected 90% of the time on average. Second, the US has slipped into a Bautocracy where one man one vote has been largely supplanted by buying of of political access and power by business and elites. So the people who really count are now corporations – just ask Steven Colbert.

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