Reading Aaron Burkhalter’s article, “Vote of Confidence,” (RC, Sept. 26) I thought about which of the main political parties cares the most for the poor and middle class.
True, it is a big presidential year, but still, as I listen to the Democrats, I do hear concern for the plight of all citizens, in all socioeconomic brackets, wealthy, middle-class and poor. I hear understanding of how equality benefits every one of us.
On the other hand, as I’ve listened to the Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates, I’ve gotten a strong feeling that these people are clueless about how middle-class and poor people live. Instead I hear genuine concern for maintaining and supporting the wealthiest among us. The large tax breaks they want to maintain for the wealthy perpetuate their wealth. Research on the subject by Bowles and Gintis (2002) concluded that in a stratified society with inequality, advantaged people with power and privilege gain from discrimination of others because of disparities in wealth, prestige, power and other valued resources. The research shows that intergenerational, inherited wealth influences life trajectories of children and how children born into poverty tend to be “stuck in poverty,” while “children of well-off parents generally receive more and better schooling and benefit from material, cultural and genetic inheritance.”
I perceive differences in how the two political parties want to see American society structured, with Democrats preaching inclusiveness for all citizens and Republicans working mightily to maintain, and even increase, the power of the wealthiest among us. The work of groups to inform and register everyone who is eligible to vote is commendable and needs to be supported.