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Is Washington Out Of Touch?

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"Is Washington Out Of Touch?"

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Chris Hayes says DC politicians are too demographically insulated from the jobs crisis:

This manifests itself in our politics in two ways. For one, it just so happens that policy-makers, pundits and politicians are drawn from the classes that are in recovery, and they live in an area where new sushi restaurants are opening all the time. For even the best-intentioned and most conscientious staffers and aides this has, I think, a subconscious effect. Think of it this way: two office buildings are operating side by side in Chicago’s Loop in the middle of a brutally cold January day, when the heat in both buildings gives out. The manager of one building has an on-site office, so he finds himself plunged into cold; the other building is managed remotely, from a warm office whose heat is functioning. If you had to bet, you’d guess that the manager experiencing the cold himself would have a bit more urgency in restoring the heat. The same holds for the economy. The people running the country are not viscerally experiencing the depredations of this ghastly economic winter, and they lack what might be called the “fierce urgency of now” in getting the heat turned back on.

I’ve flirted with this argument myself, but I’m having trouble finding evidence that it’s true. Are Republican governors of high-unemployment states calling for federal stimulus but finding that their co-partisans in Washington disagree? Is the bumper crop of new freshman legislators less tainted by this Beltway illness? I don’t really see it. I’m happy to agree that DC politicians are massively underrating the need for additional fiscal and monetary stimulus, but as best I can tell so are non-DC politicians and, indeed, so are the voters.

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