Marten Gilens’s ‘Affluence and Influence’

July 22, 2012

If you're confused about what the page 69 test is, see this post. The short version: Marshall McLuhan said the best way to choose a book is to open it to page 69. If you like what's on that page, buy the book. For blogging purposes, if I like what's on page 69, I'll post it to the blog.

But for Marten Gilens's 'Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America," page 69 falls smack in the middle of the "data and methods" chapter. That doesn't seem fair. So I'm invoking the Ford exception, so named for Ford Madox Ford, who said, "Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you." So here's the best bit on page 99:

The status quo bias is strongest for social welfare issues ... fewer than one-third of proposed social welfare policy changes that garnered 80 percent support from the public were adopted. Many of these popular but not adopted policies concern proposed expansion of programs or increases in regulation (e.g., increasing government support for preschool of college education or mandating various aspects of health insurance), but some involve cutting back on existing programs or benefits (e.g., imposing work requirements on welfare recipients).

Gilens's books comes out ... today! You can order it here.

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Brad Plumer · July 21, 2012