Off Center

Two political science professors present a frightening account of how a small group of neo-cons have hijacked the political process in America and dragged the nation to the right, rewarding the super rich and ignoring the desires of Middle America. The neo-con strategy takes advantage of the average person’s limited knowledge on major issues like the 2001 tax cuts, sold through truth distortion; in this case by overstating budget surpluses and the understating the fiscal effect the cuts would have on federal programs. Polls consistently indicate that Americans prefer spending on education and health over tax cuts, but breaks for the rich are what we get instead. “Despite razor-thin majorities, Republicans have created a self-reinforcing political cycle that is remarkably effective at producing tax policies at odds with voters’ basic priorities and opinions,” the authors write. A study tracing every vote by every person who ever served in Congress shows the incumbent Republicans are far more conservative today than they were 25 years ago. The solution must begin, the authors write, with “the once-radical notion that ‘We the People’ are both the mapmakers and the navigators on the great voyage of discovery called democracy.”