Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tip of the Tam to Paul Krugman

Even if often hidden behind the pay wall of the Gray Lady, Paul Krugman's New York Times work usually manages to get out to the poor masses. In fact, The Unofficial Paul Krugman Archive seemingly appears to be at least tolerated by the Professor. His recent The Conscience of a Liberal is certainly one of my must reads this fall and winter.

The growing gap between the haves and have nots is surely something we've got to grasp and hopefully solve. If we can't keep and ideally grow the middle class then our nation/world is surely headed in the wrong direction. Professor Krugman has long been working in this fertile field and I look forward to understanding what he's sharing.

Even now portions of this heavy hitter's thinking are available at TPM Cafe's Book Club. Yesterday's The awful truth, and the better future is likely just the start of good things to come. To offer just a portion of yesteday's work I'll clip the following:

But what I learned when doing research was that the most consistent source of the rightward drift of American politics in the face of growing inequality is race. In fact, the simplicity of the story is almost embarrassing: American politics changed because Southern whites started voting Republican after the civil rights movement.

To give you a sense of just how little there is to be explained once you take this shift into account, here’s a statistic from Larry Bartels, my Princeton colleague. Everyone knows that white men have left the Democratic Party. But what everyone knows isn’t true, if you exclude the South. In 1952, 40 percent of non-Southern white males voted Democratic; in 2004, that was down to, um, 39 percent. (And no, the choice of years doesn’t matter – a fitted trend line tells the same story.)

Not this Southern white for the record! I've been voting under the rooster (Democratic) in I think nearly all races since I got the franchise. Also, that statistic group was one that surprised me. On behalf of the South I'm sorry. Thankfully Professor Krugman is relatively optimistic that race is losing the power it once held in voting patterns. Regretably, the Deep South is behind the balance of the nation in this trend. Thoughts? Peace ... or War!

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