Writing at The Nation, Chuck Collins, one of the author’s of the recently released study, “Inequality Report Card: Grading Congress on Inequality,” asks:
Do you wonder which members of Congress routinely side with the richest 1 percent and Wall Street? …
On the other hand, are you curious which members of Congress are committed to an economy that works for everyone, not just the 1 percent?
The Institute for Policy Studies, where the study was done, provides this overview:
We evaluate how well members of congress do in supporting legislation and measures to narrow America’s widening economic divide.
Members of Congress have the capacity to make sure that all Americans, not just a privileged few, share in the wealth that we all together create. This first IPS ‘inequality report card’ evaluates current members on how well they are exercising this power.
The report card is based on 40 legislative actions taken over the past two years that relate to inequality. The bills range from legislation to establish a ‘Buffett Rule’ minimum tax rate that all wealthy Americans must pay to a measure that would raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.
The report includes an overall ‘honor roll’ — to highlight those representatives and senators who have done the most to narrow America’s economic divide — as well as a ‘dishonor roll’ of lawmakers who have repeatedly tilted the ‘1%’ way. The report card also details the ‘most 1% friendly’ and ‘most 99% friendly’ by party affiliation.
Some of the votes examined in the study: extending the “Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, levy a Wall Street speculation tax, invest in infrastructure, and protect workers and student financial aid.”
Go here to find out how your congressional Electeds did.
More from the IPS report summary:
Republicans dominate the report card’s ‘dishonor roll.’ They make up the entire list of the 48 representatives and 11 senators with an ‘F’ grade. A dozen Republicans made the ‘honor roll’ with ‘C’ level grades.
Not all Democrats distinguish themselves as champions of greater equality. Seventeen lawmakers who caucus with the Democrats rate only at the ‘C’ level.
And from Collins’ piece at The Nation:
The Report Card also graded politicians for their commitment to reducing inequality and boosting the 99 percent. The report’s ‘Honor Roll’ gives an A-plus grade to 5 members of the U.S. Senate and 14 House members, including Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Bernard Sanders (VT-I), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Nine Republican members of the House of Representatives got passing grades in the effort to reduce inequality. These included Rep. Tim Johnson (R-IL), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Justin Amash (R-MI).
In the same article, Collins links the study results to voters.
The politics of deflection has worked for decades to divide and distract voters. If pro-1 percent, pro-Wall Street candidates can get their constituents to blame the poor, immigrants, people of color, and gays and lesbians for their economic challenges, then we will likely get policies that favor the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. But if voters put on their “99 to 1” special glasses, then we can look forward to a political realignment in the coming years.
I assume that’s addressed both to Republican and Democratic voters, as well as to “third” party voters. It’s also relevant, from my perspective, to accepting “lesser of evil” voting limitations, as well as to what voters do after they vote, as in, holding Electeds accountable.