Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The economic and social mobility story is perhaps America's most significant one. Thomas Sowell, again, is clearest about what the data reveal about it. Yet, election year rhetoric nourishes the much bleaker class-warfare story. One of my favorite catch-phrases about modern times is "the democratization of luxury." The political candidates and most of the voters must know that most of us have changed our consumption to what used to be considered high-end or luxury goods. The "family car" is no longer a standard reference because it is no longer relevant for most people. There are more cars per household in America than drivers per household (and also children per household). Likewise, a second home was once associated with great wealth but is becoming a standard in the upper reaches of the middle class. Because of the power of the trend, the second-home market may be the most important one for real estate investors and developers to be thinking about.

Can it be that people's every day experiences and the rhetoric that they abide in politics do not jibe? Is there a political cognitive dissonance? Does the "rational ignorance" insight from public choice theory say as much about the level of interest and due diligence by voters (and non-voters) than simply their odds of bothering to vote?