So much for the idea of the self-interested voter
's Charles Mahtesian informs us
of the counter-intuitive news that despite the fiscal cliff deal's tax hit on high-income earners, voters in the country's wealthiest congressional districts were more likely to be supportive of the fiscal cliff resolution than voters elsewhere.
"12 of the 20 wealthiest congressional districts in the nation are held by Democrats," writes Mahtesian, who challenges notions of political behavior he sees as outmoded. "The vote is a reflection of the increasingly asymmetrical nature of American politics, where the rules that once seemed to govern voting behavior - namely economic self-interest - no longer apply."
But as The Wall Street Journal
's Dante Chinni points out
, the above voting data may in fact preserve the classic, individualistic approach to voting. After all, there's more to the bottom line than taxes for monied voters, he observes:
"Wealthy communities tend to have far more people invested in the stock market," Chinni writes. "Those places were likely more attuned to and concerned about the dive financial markets were projected to take if there was no deal."
One might suggest that when it comes to self-interest, there's tension between the long-run and the short-run self, or between ideals and expediency. While a regime of low taxation will generally be preferred by the wealthy, at any given point in time higher taxes may represent the least bad option, even from a purely material point of view.
Via Politico and The Wall Street Journal