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Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged. Affluence and Influence definitively explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how this growing disparity has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections. With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings are staggering: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans' preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not. Gilens shows that representational inequality is spread widely across different policy domains and time periods. Yet Gilens also shows that under specific circumstances the preferences of the middle class and, to a lesser extent, the poor, do seem to matter. In particular, impending elections--especially presidential elections--and an even partisan division in Congress mitigate representational inequality and boost responsiveness to the preferences of the broader public. At a time when economic and political inequality in the United States only continues to rise, Affluence and Influence raises important questions about whether American democracy is truly responding to the needs of all its citizens.
Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged. Affluence and Influence definitively explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how this growing disparity has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections. With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings are staggering: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans' preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not. Gilens shows that representational inequality is spread widely across different policy domains and time periods. Yet Gilens also shows that under specific circumstances the preferences of the middle class and, to a lesser extent, the poor, do seem to matter. In particular, impending elections--especially presidential elections--and an even partisan division in Congress mitigate representational inequality and boost responsiveness to the preferences of the broader public. At a time when economic and political inequality in the United States only continues to rise, Affluence and Influence raises important questions about whether American democracy is truly responding to the needs of all its citizens.
A scalding indictment of how the wealthy influence the national economy, politics, and media to disadvantage those less fortunate.
A compelling look at a new class of the affluent - the middle-class millionaires – whose attitudes and values are influencing and reshaping American life In this groundbreaking book, Russ Alan Prince and Lewis Schiff examine the far-reaching impact of the middle class millionaires–people who enjoy a net worth ranging from one million to ten million dollars and have earned rather than inherited their wealth. Comprising 8.4 million households and growing in number, the attitudes and behaviors of these working rich are exerting a powerful influence over our society. So who are these people? They believe in the benefits of hard work. They believe in investing in themselves, and in self improvement. They are more likely to focus on drawing financial gain from their work, and less inclined to be discouraged by failure. And they don’t spend money on the extravagances indulged in by the very rich; instead, they wield their affluence according to middle-class values and ideals. From home security systems to health care, technology to travel, their spending choices are affecting us all – from the products we buy, to the communities in which we live, to the aspirations and values of the broader middle class and American population as a whole. In the bestselling tradition of Bobos in Paradise and The Millionaire Next Door, THE MIDDLE-CLASS MILLIONAIRE is a captivating narrative – part sociology, and part aspirational journey into the lives, attitudes, and values of the middle-class millionaires. Based on extensive surveys and research into more than 3,600 middle-class millionaire households around the country, this book will reshape our understanding of what it takes to be successful – and how all of us can achieve similar success.
Politically active individuals and organizations make huge investments of time, energy, and money to influence everything from election outcomes to congressional subcommittee hearings to local school politics, while other groups and individual citizens seem woefully underrepresented in our political system. The Unheavenly Chorus is the most comprehensive and systematic examination of political voice in America ever undertaken--and its findings are sobering. The Unheavenly Chorus is the first book to look at the political participation of individual citizens alongside the political advocacy of thousands of organized interests--membership associations such as unions, professional associations, trade associations, and citizens groups, as well as organizations like corporations, hospitals, and universities. Drawing on numerous in-depth surveys of members of the public as well as the largest database of interest organizations ever created--representing more than thirty-five thousand organizations over a twenty-five-year period--this book conclusively demonstrates that American democracy is marred by deeply ingrained and persistent class-based political inequality. The well educated and affluent are active in many ways to make their voices heard, while the less advantaged are not. This book reveals how the political voices of organized interests are even less representative than those of individuals, how political advantage is handed down across generations, how recruitment to political activity perpetuates and exaggerates existing biases, how political voice on the Internet replicates these inequalities--and more. In a true democracy, the preferences and needs of all citizens deserve equal consideration. Yet equal consideration is only possible with equal citizen voice. The Unheavenly Chorus reveals how far we really are from the democratic ideal and how hard it would be to attain it.
How should Christians live in a material world? Should personal guilt accompany financial success? Is wealth incompatible with true Christianity? In The Good of Affluence John R. Schneider reopens the debate over the proper Christian attitude toward money, arguing, ultimately, that Scripture does indeed provide support for the responsible possession of wealth. This is a provocative book of Christian theology, written to help people seeking God in a culture that has grown from modern capitalism. By comparing classic Christian teaching on wealth with the realities of our modern economic world, Schneider challenges the common presumption that material affluence is inherently bad. Careful interpretation of Scripture narratives -- creation, exodus, exile, and more -- also shows that abundance is the condition that God envisions for all human beings and that faithful persons of wealth are part of this plan. Schneider believes that the "wealth-as-blessing" themes of the Old Testament are not to be spiri¡tualized and do not run contrary to New Testament teachings but provide exactly the frame of reference for the incarnate identity, life, and teaching of Jesus, who came to make real the messianic feast, both in this age and in the age to come. Through insightful engagement with the biblical text Schneider overturns some of the most cherished and unquestioned assump¡tions of influential Christian writers (particularly Ronald Sider) on modern capitalist affluence. Yet Schneider's message is also finely balanced with the need for responsible Christian living. He offers rich Christians biblical affirmation but also challenges them to a life shaped by an uncommon sense of stewardship and compassion. Incisive, thought-provoking, and biblically grounded, The Good of Affluence is a superb resource for anyone -- students, professors, businesspeople, general readers, discussion groups -- wishing to grapple seriously with the subject of faith and wealth.
As American women have entered the labour force in greater numbers, domestic work has largely become the work of immigrant women of colour. This volume highlights the voices, experiences, and views of Mexican and Central American who care for other people's children and homes.

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