Society Work

Who is high income anyway?

Replied to Who Is High Income, Anyway? Social Comparison, Subjective Group Identification, and Preferences over Progressive Taxation by Asli Cansunar (

Why are high-income and low-income earners not significantly polarized in their support for progressive income taxation? This article posits that the affluent fail to recognize that they belong to the high-income income group and this misperception affects their preferences over progressive taxation.

International Social Survey Programmes Social Inequality survey of 2009 reveals that almost 60% of American respondents with yearly household incomes higher than $110,000 support progressive taxation, whereas 63% of American respondents with annual incomes lower than $25,000 support progressivity.

One possible explanation is that people care about things other than material self-interest. Several inuential contri­butions to the comparative politics literature have taken up the challenge of amending the utility function of the canonical model of redistribution. In particular, they incorporate an­other source of utility other than posttax and transfer income in the individuals utility function. These studies posit that peoples decisions, along with material self-interest, are af­fected by altruism (Dimick, Rueda, and Stegmueller 2016), religion (Stegmueller 2013), beliefs about what is fair (Alesina and Angeletos 2005), group loyalty (Shayo 2009), and distaste for inequality (Lü and Scheve 2016).

I would like to go with the “we’re not all self-serving dicks” theories.

Why do a signicant share of high-income respondents underestimate their rank? Why do the afuent think they belong to the middle class?

You have to adjust self-perceptions based on cost of living — my house may be worth a ridiculous amount on paper, but let me tell you, it is a piece of shit where they cut every corner they could. I am not exactly living like a queen, with my crumbling grout 1988-forest-green-tiled bathroom and honey-oak-veneer-cabinet kitchen with a coil stove and twenty year old fridge. Yes, I am rich in the global perspective, and even in the American perspective, but I still think of myself as middle class. Couldn’t I afford to remodel my kitchen if I was actually rich? (I suspect no one else middle class can either, they’re just willing to take out loans that I’m not.) But, I know I am better off than many, and want to pay my fair share.

But more to the point, I think she’s disregarding that class is not solely determined by income. Anyone who is a worker, not an owner or manager, is not truly upper class. Class is about control and influence as much as wealth. This is why well-off people may still think of themselves as middle class: the social connotations.


Following politics on social media

Replied to Most people on Twitter don’t live in political echo chambers — but mostly because they don’t care enough to bother building one (Nieman Lab)

“The elite discussion on the platform is important, but it is not necessarily observed directly by the masses.”

Of those 2,600-plus “elites,” the vast majority are journalists, pundits, or news organizations…

If you’re not following at least one of those accounts, your Twitter use is likely bereft of news, not just political news.

🤔 They clearly don’t follow a lot of artists, writers, activists or academics if they think you see no news or politics without expressly following news accounts. I saw just one person I follow on the list but would not characterize my feed as apolitical 😂 Authors have been extremely vocal about reproductive rights and politically motivated book bans. Queer and disabled people call out problems constantly.

In our case, 59.6% of a random sample of users (856,853 of 1,437,774) were insufficiently politically interested to follow the accounts of the president, key senators, or major news media organizations.

I’m not sure you can draw the conclusion someone isn’t interested in politics because they don’t follow national level politicians or large news organizations on social media. For example, I’m more interested in local, county, and state level happenings than national policies totally beyond my influence, so I follow local policy advocates to learn about housing issues and bike infrastructure in my community. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who’s turned my attention and energy away from the national level, to my community.

Another facet is feeling unrepresented by politics at a national level. The national Democratic party is filled with old, out of touch, ineffective and spineless naifs who will fiddle us into fascism while conservatives chortle. I have little patience for moderate Democrats who are afraid to piss off racists, sexists, fascists, and homophobes. I’d wager many other progressives are likewise fed up.

I also think it’s not unreasonable that people might choose to use social media for entertainment and get their news and politics elsewhere.

Moreover, while they call this finding bleak, I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing to be disconnected from the ugliness of political spin. Frankly I consider politicians to be a terrible source for political information. The two major parties have become so antagonistic, it seems that every single thing the other side does must be condemned, even if it’s helping supply infant formula during a shortage 🤦‍♀️ (That certainly dragged the idiot politicians and pundits who have never talked to a mother in their life out of the woodwork 👀 I don’t have kids and I know that not all babies latch! Among the many other reasons “just breastfeed” isn’t a valid response.) The news often becomes an elitist form of entertainment that doesn’t necessarily inform action, but spurs hopelessness or anxiety.

Somehow it’s this minority of people that do follow politicians and news organizations who are driving the vast majority of the nasty political discourse on Twitter? If so, they’re doing enough damage to our political division as it is. We hardly need to feed more people with The Discourse of the day.

Activism Romance

Genre fiction is political

Replied to When Will Novels Fix Society Already? by Lincoln Michel (Counter Craft)

Fiction can help us understand our world, but that doesn’t mean novels can solve our problems.

I think genre fiction is the place to look. Romancelandia raised $190k for voting rights in February, $45k for abortion rights in May — authors donating their books and services to raise money for freedoms, fans bidding those up because it’s for a good cause 😊 Sci-fi casts visions of the future, good and bad. Romance books are quietly showing worlds of hope and change — and romance has a huge audience compared to literary books. (Still small compared to TV but 🤷‍♀️) These are stories where women have choices and their choices matter, where people of all genders and relationships between all genders are celebrated. (Sure, both romance and sci-fi have their conservative contingents, but the broader fanbase seems to be progressive.) I think change can start in a small but dedicated group and spread outwards.

Resources and Reference Society

Republican divisions

Bookmarked The Republican coalition (Pew Research Center – U.S. Politics & Policy)

The Republican-aligned groups in the political typology are united by shared preferences for a smaller role for the federal government, a strong U.S. military and a rejection of the view that the country needs to do a great deal more to address racial inequities. But when it comes to several other issue areas – particularly views of economic fairness, immigration and foreign policy – there are stark differences between several groups under the GOP umbrella.

  • Faith and flag conservatives (23%)
  • Committed conservatives (15%)
  • Populist right (23%)
  • Ambivalent right (18%)
  • Stressed sideliners (15%)
Resources and Reference

Voting Guide Outside of Seattle

Bookmarked Progressive Voters Guide (

Get the facts before you vote!

I always appreciate the Stranger’s funny and informative candidate reviews, but they only do Seattle and broader King County, not local elections on the Eastside where I am — and it has become apparent to me just how important local politics are over the past seven years working in local government.

This voter’s guide covers suburban politicians too. Also Washington Bikes does endorsements for local politics 🚲 If I’m a single-issue voter on anything, it’d be affordable housing, but bike infrastructure is a close second! Fortunately, politicians who support one usually support the other 😉