Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Guardian: I don't know how this ended up in the left falling Guardian of all places, but David Aaronovitch may have had an epiphany on why the "dumb poor" people would vote for President Bush. "But suppose, for a moment, that the Kansas voters aren't so dumb. Suppose, first, that they don't buy the economic prospectus unwittingly along with the social populism, but consciously because they actually agree with it - because (and this hurts) it does actually tie in with their concrete experience. In other words, their consciousness is not false at all. Why might a poor person be opposed to tax increases and social benefits? Possibly because they hope to be richer themselves, maybe because they believe that high benefits are a disincentive to work and conceivably they believe both because that is exactly what they see happening around them - folks getting rich and folks idling. " and realizes Europe has a problem. "And European social democrats have to concede that there is such a thing as a disincentive to work. As Will Hutton pointed out, writing about Germany in last Sunday's Observer, one "vital prerequisite to restoring German economic health" is for the authorities to "stop offering what amounts to a generous pension for life", cutting it down to something that tides people over between jobs. "



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