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Ron Formisano: Poor, Middle Class Vote As If Rich

[Ron Formisano is a professor of history at the University of Kentucky.]

Many Americans are living poor and voting rich, especially in Kentucky. They vote for politicians who serve the interests of the very rich, of corporations that ship jobs overseas, employ and exploit illegal immigrants and violate workplace rules to protect workers....

Rich-voting ordinary folks obsess about gays and guns but ignore rising inequality that is turning this country into Pakistan, where the opulent rich pay no taxes while the middle class supports inadequate public services. The disparity between the rich and the bottom half in this country has grown far worse than other developed nations. It's too complicated to learn that the share of total income going to the top one percent is about 25 percent — about where it was in 1928 before the Great Depression (forget history!)....

The worst of this, as economists are beginning to recognize, is that this inequality — besides creating an aristocracy of wealth — does not promote economic growth and reduces the quality of life for everyone. But rich-voting poor folk do get to vent their anger — mostly at the wrong targets.
Read entire article at Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)