A.P. Civics Notes: Chapter 16
1. During the 1980s, people who were supposed to hate deficits voted
to create more, and those who wanted tax loopholes voted to close
them, but in the 1990s, tax increased (like normal).
i. Most of these actions, however strange, were caused by public
Economic realities like the general health of the nation, the level and
distribution of taxes, and the amount and kind of gov’t spending
, or how the gov’t wants to work
the American economy and pay for its spending.
3. The public generally cares about what happens to it, individually, but
it also cares about collective results as well, and thus forces
politicians to meet both ends.
i. Economic conditions often influence the success of
incumbents, and voters are often worried about their own
pocketbooks, voting Democratic if they’re worried about
unemployment and Republican if they’re concerned about
inflation and voting against the incumbent if they’re own
families’ finances had gotten worse and vice versa.
On the other hand, voters sometimes vote against incumbents
finances have gone down, or if the economy has
iii. In both the U.S. and Europe, voters nevertheless seem to
respond more to the condition of the national economy than to
their own personal finances because they feel that the national
economy is inter-connected, and what happens to other people
could happen to them.
Since the 19
century, the American gov’t has used money to affect
elections, whether by giving money to faithful patrons or by
benefits every election year.
i. The gov’t often cannot reduce employment, cut inflation, lower
interest rates, and increase incomes just to win elections
because it does not know how to do one w/o ruining the other.
ii. Politicians must make careful, long-term choices about
economic policy, since it is very hard to stimulate the economy
with a snap.
a. While all politicians like to have the best economic
conditions, reality makes them choose which problems
to tackle first (i.e. Democrats go after unemployment