Monday, September 13, 2004

Brooks' Blind Spot

David Brooks, New York Times columnist, had a column on Saturday ("Ruling Class War") where he tried to prove that the real difference between Kerry supporters and Bush supporters were the former like paragraphs and the latter like spreadsheets. Hence, he used data from the Center for Responsive Politics showing that professors and writers are donating to Kerry in large numbers, while CEOs and accountants love Bush.

The odd thing about his argument is that he purports to show a new class divide from this data. Well, here are some facts that Brooks left out (drawn from Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? Washington on $2 Million a Day):

Half or more of the workers in some fifty occupations are paid poverty-level wages. And these folks don’t make many campaign contributions--unlike the people Brooks focuses on.

For example, some 3.4 million people make a living as cashiers, but FEC records show only 23 contributions from cashiers reported in the current 2003-04 election cycle. Of the nearly half a million people employed as dishwashers, FEC filings show just one contribution from a donor identified as such. Of the more than two million janitors, maids and cleaners, whose median income in 2002 of $8.77 an hour, barely enough to lift a family of four out of poverty, just 68 campaign contributions of $200 or more listed that occupation.

That's the real class divide.
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