Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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Voter Apathy, Voter Behavior
Mason Gaffney: Introduction: The Power of Neo-classical Economics  (Introduction to The Corruption of Economics, London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1994)

Voters faced with two candidates, each coached by a neo-classical economist, also face a hard choice. They often appear apathetic and take a third choice, staying home. However, history denies that voters are intrinsically apathetic. They have gotten turned on by candidates who try to lead up and away from dismal trade-offs.   ...   Read the whole article

Mason Gaffney: The Red and the Blue
Pundits since November have noted an apparent anomaly: lower-income states voted red, and higher-income states voted blue.  Within each state, lower-income counties voted red, and higher-income counties voted blue.  In California, the inland counties went red, while coastal counties, plump with wealth and income, went blue. Depressed upstate New York went red, while rich New York City went blue.

On purely economic grounds, “it’s a puzzlement.” Why do poor people support the party of big corporations and the rich?   ...

To understand the politics of New York City or San Francisco we need to begin by noting that they have about the highest residential rents and home prices in the U.S.A., along with the highest tenancy rates. It takes a high monetary income even to be poor in such places, unless you own land. Federal statisticians who publish the Consumer Price Index (CPI) delicately refrain from comparing different cities - they just compare different times, city by city. This helps them finesse tough questions about rents, and housing prices. Common observation, however, and various semi-popular publications, fill the gap.  The C.O.L., especially its rent and home value elements, is a lot higher in the big glamorous cities, so real incomes there are a lot lower than they look - unless you own land. ...

Blue states and blue counties are generally those where land is out of reach of a high fraction of the people.
  ...   Read the whole article

Mason Gaffney: The Taxable Capacity of Land
The question I am assigned is whether the taxable capacity of land without buildings is up to the job of financing cities, counties, and schools. Will the revenue be enough? The answer is "yes."

 The universal state and local revenue problem today is whether we must cap tax rates to avoid driving business away. It is exemplified by Governor Pete Wilson of the suffering State of California. He keeps repeating we must make a hard choice: cut taxes and public services, or drive out business and jobs. (When a public figure gives you two choices you know they're both bad, and he wants one of them.)  ...   Read the whole article


Weld Carter: A Clarion Call to Sanity, to Honesty, to Justice

...So how is it that on so richly endowed a Garden of Eden as this world of ours we have only been able to make of it a hell on earth for vast numbers of people?

The answers are simple: we have permitted, nay we have even more than that, encouraged, the gross misallocation of resources and a viciously wicked distribution of wealth, and we choose to be governed by those whom we, in our ignorance, have elected....

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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper