Must-Read: Mark Thoma: Why the Working Class Is Choosing Trump and Sanders: “the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities…

…in response to Mitt Romney’s claim during his presidential campaign that many recipients of government help are undeserving found that 91 cents of every dollar spent on entitlement programs goes to ‘the elderly (people 65 and over), the seriously disabled, and members of working households… and [7 of the remaining 9 to] medical care, unemployment insurance benefits (which individuals must have a significant work history to receive), Social Security survivor benefits for the children and spouses of deceased workers, and Social Security benefits for retirees between ages 62 and 64.’… Middle-class households are 60 percent of the US population…. Redistribution… is from the top 20 percent of households to the bottom 20 percent. Too many people have been misled into believing that their problems are the result of a non-existent ‘moocher class.’ Those at the top, those who have benefitted the most from our economic system, have pushed this myth in a successful attempt to reduce their tax burden….

The working class is not asking for income to trickle down to them, and they have been misled about the amount that trickles away from them. All they want is a fair share of what they’ve earned and the opportunity to improve their lives if they work hard and play by the rules. They want the security of knowing they aren’t a pink slip away from living on the streets, that they can find another job easily if they are laid off and, if not, help will be there for them. Working class households want to know that their kids can go to a decent college without being saddled with burdensome debt and that quality=affordable health care is available if they need it. They want to look forward to a better economic future instead of the same struggles they’ve had for years and years, and they want to have confidence that their children will do better than they did. They don’t feel like they are getting any of this…. The two sets of voters–those for Sanders and those for Trump–see different causes and different solutions to the struggles they face, but the goal in both cases is the same… an economy that works for them and a political system that responds to their needs…