Have you ever felt like your opinion doesn’t matter? That your elected official does not represent you or your district? That your ideas have no impact on public policy?
If you're among the bottom 90% of income earners in America, you may be justified in feeling this way, a new study led by Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) finds.
The study analyzed over 20 years worth of data to answer the following question: Does the government represent the people?
What they found is that the number of American voters for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.
“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” - Princeton University Study.
But there’s a twist…this statistic only holds true to the opinion of the bottom 90% of income earners in America. Big spenders, business interests, and lobbyists with a sizable budget can still influence public policy.
In short, money talks:
In the last 5 years alone, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion influencing our government with lobbying and campaign contributions. Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment.
It’s a vicious cycle of legalized corruption. As the cost of winning elections explodes, politicians of both political parties become ever more dependent on the tiny slice of the population who can bankroll their campaigns. - Represent.Us