Exclusive - Martin Gilens & Benjamin Page Extended Interview Pt. 3

  • Aired:  04/30/14
  •  | Views: 17,768

Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page discuss the results of their research, which indicate that middle-class and lower-class Americans have little to no political influence. (5:28)

[ LAUGHTER ]DO YOU HAVE FAITH IN THAT -- YOU

SPEAK IN SORT OF HYPOTHETICALTERMS.

THERE'S NOTHING ON THE HORIZONTHAT CLOSELY RESEMBLES THAT

OTHER THAN THE TEA PARTY THATI'M AWARE OF.

>> WELL, IN A SMALL WAY OURLITTLE STUDY. I MEAN, HERE WE

ARE A COUPLE OFWONKY PROFESSORS.

>> Jon: STOP IT. STOP IT.

HERE IS WHAT I SEE. SEXUALCHARISMA. THAT'S WHAT I SEE.

I DON'T SEE WONKY PROFESSORS.I SEE POWER.

>> OK OK.

HARRY POTTER HAS NOTHING ON YOUTWO.

[ LAUGHTER ]>> ALL RIGHT.

BUT IT'S STILL TRUE, A LITTLEACADEMIC ARTICLE AND THERE WAS A

WHOLE BUNCH OF FUSS ON THEINTERNET.

THAT ONLY HAPPENS BECAUSE ITHITS A NERVE.

>> Jon: NO QUESTION.

>> AND THERE ARE A LOT OFPEOPLE WHO WERE UPSET.

>> Jon: WHAT DO YOU THINK OFTHE BRANDING OF YOUR ARTICLE AS

THE UNITED STATES IS ALREADY ANOLIGARCHY.

THAT WAS THE GENERALBRANDING OF THIS.

>> YEAH, UNFORTUNATELY SOMEBODYGOT A BIT CARRIED AWAY WITH

THAT. >> Jon: ON THE INTERNET?

THE OLIGARCHY GUY ACTUALLY ISJEFF WINTERS. HE'S VERY

GOOD AT THAT, BUT THAT'S, THAT'SREALLY NOT US.

>> NO, WE THINK THERE'S AMUCH BROADER GROUP OF PEOPLE.

IT'S NOT A COUPLE DOZENBILLIONAIRES.

>> BUT ALSO WE DON'T KNOW. WEDON'T KNOW. IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT

WE KNOW YOU CAN BREAK POLICYOUTCOMES BY KNOW ABOUT THE TOP

10% OR 20%. IT'S A PRETTY BROADGROUP.

ON OLIGARCHY COULD BE LIKE1/10 OF 1% OF POPULATION.

>> Jon: RIGHT, YOU'RE TALKINGMORE LIKE A RUSSIA SITUATION.

>> YEAH. AND IT'S, IT'S --

DID I SAY YEAH?

[LAUGHTER]>> Jon: I THINK YOU SAID YEAH

AND I THINK YOU MIGHT HAVEMUTTERED AN ANTI-PUTIN SLOGAN

UNDER YOUR BREATH. IT WASN'T ME.

>> WE HAD A RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCYTHAT GOT VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE

OLIGARCHY THING, SAYING OH YEAHMAYBE WE'RE NOT SO BAD. THE

UNITED STATES IS JUST THE SAME.THAT'S NOT WHAT WE'RE SAYING.

>>BUT, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANTTO MAKE THE POINT THAT

THERE'S NO LIKE LINEABOVE WHICH PEOPLE HAVE

INFLUENCE AND BELOWWHICH THEY DON'T.

AMONG PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TOINFLUENCE THE GOVERNMENT, THE

MORE MONEY YOU HAVE, THE MOREINFLUENCE YOU HAVE. AND

WHAT OUR WORK SHOWS IS THAT ASYOU GET DOWN TOWARDS THE MIDDLE

CLASS YOU JUST DON'T SEEANY INFLUENCE LEFT.

>> Jon: DOES THE DECISIONSRECENTLY OF THE SUPREME COURT IN

TERMS OF CITIZENS UNITED ANDMCCUTCHEON

AMPLIFY AND EXACERBATE THATPROBLEM

TO THE POINT THAT IT COULD SPURON THIS TYPE OF LARGER BACKLASH?

>> YOU KNOW, IT'S CLEARLY MOVINGIN THE WRONG DIRECTION BUT I

DON'T THINK IT WILL HAVE AS BIGOF AN IMPACT AS PEOPLE SEEM TO

THINK. AND THE COURT HASN'TRULED OUT OTHER AVENUES OF

REFORM IN CAMPAIGN FINANCE. SO,LIKE HERE IN NEW YORK CITY

YOU HAVE A SYSTEM WHERE SMALLDONATIONS ARE MULTIPLIED. RIGHT?

SO THEY ARE WORTH SEVEN TIMES ASMUCH. AND THAT GIVES LIKE MUCH

BROADER RANGE OF THE PUBLICABILITY TO, YOU KNOW --

>> Jon: RIGHT. BUT ONCE YOUHAVE REDEFINED WHAT CORRUPTION

MEANS WHICH SEEMS TOBE WHAT THE COURT

IS DEALING WITH. YOU KNOW,

IN THEIR MINDS CORRUPTION ISONLY THE GIANT BAG OF MONEY WITH

DOLLARS ON IT HANDED TO GUY.

IT'S PURELY THAT KIND OF, YOUKNOW, YOU WILL DO THIS FOR ME

FOR THIS MONEY CORRUPTION.

ONCE YOU REDEFINE IT THAT WAY,THERE WILL BE CONSTITUTIONAL

CHALLENGES TO ALL THOSE LIMITS.

>> THERE MAY BE. THERE MAY BE.

>> NO, BUT THE AVENUE THAT

SEEMS MOST PROMISING IS NOT TOTRY TO RESTRICT MONEY FROM

PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SPENDIT, BUT TO TRY TO CREATE AVENUES

FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T NOW HAVERESOURCES AND GIVE THEM WAYS TO

INFLUENCE THE POLITICAL SYSTEM.SO JOHN SARBANES HAS A BILL IN

THE HOUSE THAT WOULDGIVE EVERY CITIZEN A $50

REFUNDABLE TAX CREDITTHAT COULD BE

DIRECTED TOWARDS ANY CANDIDATEIN A FEDERAL ELECTION.

SO THAT GIVES PEOPLE EVEN WHOHAVE VERY LITTLE MONEY

THE ABILITY TO CONTRIBUTE ANDCOUNTERBALANCE LARGE DONORS.

>> Jon: YEAH THAT FEELS LIKE ONEOF THOSE THINGS WHERE THEY'RE

LIKE HEY, LET'S COME UP WITH ABILL TO GET US MORE CAMPAIGN

MONEY. AND THE RICH GUYS WILL BELIKE ALL RIGHT I'LL DOUBLE

THAT. THAT SOUNDS MORE LIKE YOUWOULD INFLATE A

CAMPAIGN BUBBLE AND THIS WOULDBE PURELY AN ARMS RACE.

>> BUT, I THINK THAT'SMISTAKEN --

>> Jon: OH, NO. [LAUGHTER]

>>BECAUSE THEY'RE DECLININGRETURNS TO MONEY. IN OTHER

WORDS, WHEN YOU GO FROM SPENDING$1 MILLION TO $2 MILLION TO $3

MILLION AT SOME POINT IT MAKESLESS DIFFERENCE. SO IF THE OTHER

SIDE -- >> Jon: WHICH POINT?

>> AT EACH POINT IT MAKES LESSDIFFERENCE THAN IT DID BEFORE.

>>Jon: RIGHT.>> THE EXTRA MILLION. SO IF YOU

OH, COME ON THIS IS -->> Jon: NO, NO I GET THAT --

>> THIS IS ACTUALLY TRUE.

>> Jon: IT'S JUST HARD TOIMAGINE, YOU HAVE ALL THE

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES WHOFLEW TO LAS VEGAS TO SIT

IN FRONT OF SHELDON ADELSONWHO'S JUST SOME GUY WHO RUNS A

CASINO BUT HE THROWS A BUTT LOADOF MONEY AT THESE CANDIDATES --

>> THIS IS TRUE. THIS IS TRUE.

>> Jon: LOOK AT HOW IS THAT NOTDEFINED AS CORRUPTION?

>> BUT RIGHT, I THINK MONEY'SRIGHT THAT IF YOU MAKE SURE THAT

AVERAGE PEOPLE CAN MAKECONTRIBUTIONS THAT'S GOING TO

MAKE ENOUGH DIFFERENCE SO ITMAY NOT TOTALLY EVEN THE RACE,

BUT IT HELPS A LOT.

>> Jon: WHAT ABOUT THIS? THERICH PEOPLE GET TO PUT AS MUCH

MONEY AS THEY WANT TO GET IN BUTPOOR PEOPLE GET TWO VOTES.

[LAUGHTER][CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, I JUST FIXED THE PROBLEM.

MARTIN GILEN AND BENJAMIN PAGE,GUYS THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

COMING BY AND I SHOULD PROBABLYLET THE AUDIENCE KNOW THERE WILL

BE A POP QUIZ.

STAY IN YOUR SEATS.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK AFTER THIS.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

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