Or as Matthew Yglesias puts it, "90 percent of life is just showing up, and the 99 percent don't." A new study finds that 41 percent of the very wealthy say they attended a political meeting in 2008; only 9 percent of all Americans did the same.
The median American household is economically struggling in a variety of ways, but isn't so cash strapped as to be incapable of offering a political donation or two. Indeed, the American middle class is pretty passionate about donating to church groups and other charities. If more of that energy were directed into the political process, politicians would pay more attention. But as things stand, the wealthy are more highly engaged across the whole range of activities and so the political process is heavily tilted in favor of their preferences.
What's troubling about the Occupy movement is that for all the bellyaching - much of it quite justified - there's little enthusiasm to orchestrate real change. The usual argument is that the system cannot be changed through traditional routes, but that sounds like a convenient non-starter. Just curious: Of all the Occupy participants out there, has anyone thought about running for public office?