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Should Your Income Influence Your Politics?

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There is no getting away from it the Western world is more politicized than in previous years.  All you need to do is tune into any late night talk show and you’ll have almost every bit centered around politics.  This is especially valid in the United States where the politic atmosphere has been bouncing between a nightmare and a farce.

Until a few years ago, I wouldn’t even bother casting my vote for any political race.  Now I very much want to cast my vote.  The reason I wouldn’t vote before is still part of my viewpoint.  I don’t believe my vote can influence the outcome.  For our Canadian elections your area is Liberal, Conservative or NDP more or less.  If I go against the grain my vote only moves the needle by a fraction of a percentage point.  I vote now because I feel it is irresponsible not to.

What party I back is my business, but there is no doubt that the political parties vary on many different platforms.  For finances, typically one party favours the rich while the other favours the working class.  The question is that as your financial situation or income stream improves, should that be enough to sway you one way or the other?

Making the Rich Richer

Election speeches are geared towards the masses in order to secure a position. The actual policies tend to favour specific groups.  When a political party offers huge tax breaks to businesses and the wealthy it becomes a personal incentive for those who would benefit to get those policies pushed forward.  If the party gives more benefits to the working class, families that are harder off may want them to win.  The direction of the policy either widens or shrinks the gaps between the diverse group of families and incomes.

The rich get richer, or everyone gets a bit closer to the average.  The argument against giving the wealthy the biggest break is that they don’t actually need the money.  It would do so much in the hands of those who are struggling.  On the other hand, tax breaks for businesses in theory may produce better growth. This in turn could help with better jobs for those on the lower end of the spectrum. This isn’t proven but the main talking point of tax cuts to corporations. As we have seen in the US most of it has gone to shareholders, aka the Rich.  It would be great if it worked and it brought everyone a bit closer together.  Helping out the lower income families puts money directly in the hands of those who need it.  With more money available, they spend which helps the economy for everyone.  Adversely there may be a negative impact on the job market as a result of tighter budgets for business owners.

In theory, both methods should yield better results for all groups however it is often greed and ignorance that drag the process from productive to destructive.

Thinking With Your Wallet

It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you are coming from, if you are living in a democratic society you get to have a voice.  That said, I do feel that your political choices should be a reflection of what you think is best for the entire group – not just your own wallet.  If you start off your working life at a lower income bracket and feel that one political party is more suited to your point of view, that is the way you will likely vote.  If that party’s policies are effective, your life and income would likely start to improve.  As you make more money the incentives that helped to boost you up will start to disappear.  Those making less than you need them.  Changing your vote simply because the incentives no longer apply to your situation is selfish.  Of course you get to vote however you want, and for whatever reason.  When I think about a democracy, I think about a system where everyone gets their say about what is best for the country – not just what is best for them at that point in their life.

A Change of Opinion

Changing political views is not an issue in my opinion.  A certain party can go a direction you aren’t comfortable with.  Your viewpoint could evolve over time and family changes where you see the picture differently than you had in the past.  This is different from voting with your wallet.  This is voting with your head, or even your heart.  If you are born into a rich family, you may have been raised under the banners of one party or the other.  Once you strike it out on your own, you may realize that what worked for your family wasn’t what you feel is best.  It was simply all you knew.

Again, you are well within your rights to disagree with me – but I don’t believe that personal wealth should be the deciding factor on how you cast your vote.  I think it does a disservice to the millions of people in the world who don’t get a choice regardless of their income.

How much of an influence do you think income should have on election choices?

Scott

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