More Thoughts on Progressive Populism
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 12:36:06 PM EST
Last night I wrote about how the election in Oregon, where the state's notoriously anti-tax voters broke with 80 years of history by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, suggested that there is a wave of populism sweeping the nation. The populist sentiment, I wrote, isn't always expressed in the same way. In Oregon, the populism took a progressive slant, asking everyone to pay their fair share, while in Massachusetts the populism took a different slant, opposing the coronation of a new Senator. Nonetheless, the trend seems clear.
Kevin Looper, who is running the campaign to ratify the ballot measures, said that "when we started doing focus groups, it was amazing to hear voters demanding to know where the banks were on these measures. Because they wanted to be on the opposite side."
While the political class in Oregon clearly heard the message, adopting a new populist tone asking everyone to pay their fair share in taxes -- note that national polling from last year showed that 60 percent believed "upper-income people" are paying too little, rather than their fair share, in federal taxes, with 67 percent saying the same about corporations -- it remains to be seen is the Beltway elite will get the message too.