6. Self-Defeating Votes

9 Apr

It is my view and the view of many others, that many citizens vote in a way that is self-defeating.  They vote politicians into office that will legislate to their disadvantage. Non-rich people often vote for candidates that will raise their taxes and lower taxes for the very rich — causing economic hardship and a decrease in public services, like:  Medicare, social security, public safety, education, air, water, and food inspection, etc.

What are the “basic causes” for this voter “error”?   Here are some factors:

1. Politician and media lies, distortions, and omissions.

Politicians have learned to alter information in a way that is appealing to many people. They disguise their economic goals with phrases like “free enterprise”, “freedom”, “big government”, “government control”, “deregulation”, “job creators”, “hate business”, etc.  They also switch the topic to moral factors, to misdirect people from the important budget matters. (Moral principles are important, but legislators can do little in this area — and note that many conservatives have had affairs, divorces, and various shady practices.)
The politicians and media are supported by wealthy people, who can produce persuasive advertisements.  The lies are pointed out by the opposing party, but in the end, because of factors discussed below, there is little effect.  Each side says that the other is lying and some people cannot determine who is right.

2. Failure to investigate and find truth.

Many people do not know how to perform the searches that will lead to the truth.  Having a wealth of  information on the internet should make this easy, but not in many cases. And, others don’t the have the time or motivation to research. They are happy with what they believe in and only listen to those with views similar to their beliefs.   I will talk more about this in the future, but I want to list some areas where truth is found, but often overlooked:

An actual look at national budgets written by party leaders (not just the promotional lies) or at least    listen to what the opponents say.

Signed pledges (!) not to: increase taxes,  fill tax loopholes, or cancel subsidies.  (How many ordinary people can use tax loopholes or get corporate subsidies?)

False claims like: give more money to “job creators” so that it will trickle down.  The very wealthy have been trickling down on us for way too long!  Currently, “job creators” have more money than ever before. And remember that most of the so-called “job creators” are simply rich, and do not actually do any hiring.  It is better to directly reward actual job hiring,  than to throw more support to all rich people.

Remember that anti-trust legislation was developed not because of a whim, but because private businesses were greedy, and did communicate, and did stifle competition to vastly increase profits!  Not all businesses are unethical, but many are simply consumed with increasing profits in any possible way.

3. Pride and Social pressure

Social pressure from family and friends provides a powerful influence on many voters.  Those that stray lose support and friendship. Many are simply convinced by traits like “conservative”.  Someone who is fearful decides to become a conservative because it seems safer.  Once a person has made that choice, he is often trapped, because any contrary arguments bring back the fear. I have a very conservative and fearful friend who becomes visibly uncomfortable when presented with alternative ideas.

Another factor is pride. For example, an uneducated person that has worked for a corporation as a lower level manager and achieved some success takes pride in his loyalty and achievements. He is a good soldier. Once he strongly identifies with big business and corporations he ignores other considerations because they lead to internal conflict.

My next post (7th) will be concerned with the difficult job of melting hardened minds.

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