“Washington gridlock helps the super-rich stay rich, and get richer,” says Thomas Volscho, a sociologist at the City University of New York and one of the authors of the study. “And the richer they get, the more the gridlock actually helps them.”
The researchers looked back over 70 years of data, and found that the more dysfunctional Washington is, the bigger the share of the pie the top one percent tends to grab. And most importantly, they also found that when economic inequality is high, the kind of polarization and gridlock that have been the hallmark of Washington since Barack Obama’s election make legislative efforts to change course all-but-impossible.
So the apparatus of government is designed to reinforce the status quo, especially when that status quo already favours the 1 per cent. Who knew?