Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Changing Party Composition Complicates Gridlock

The New York Times featured an article yesterday that could be framed as situational irony for the gridlock scholar.

The article discusses how the targets of Obama's tax policy have begun to constitute a substantial portion of the Democratic core. For the last thirty or so years, Democratic presidential candidates have increasingly attracted a higher percentage of top earner votes than their predecessors.

What does this mean for tax policy, deficit reform, and political gridlock? While Stefani blogged about the Republican identity crisis (here), I contend that the blurring of the R's is directly correlated with the influx of top earners voting with the D's.

Any sort of budgeting reform, whether it be revenue based (ie. tax hikes) or spending based (ie. spending cuts), will result in partisan conflict based on the differing ideologies of the parties with regards to government involvement in the economy....but how will elected officials respond to compositional changes within parties?

Obama has banging the drum of Democratic cornerstones, such as environmental concerns and free access to birth control coverage, in order to frame the political agenda far away from Republican critiques about upper class tax increase efforts.

Always interesting to note how demographic changes can alter public policy, and it's no surprise that Obama's tax policy focuses in on the growing group of affluent Democratic voters.

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