Daniele Archibugi chats about The Global Commonwealth of Citizens at Birkbeck University of London

Professor Archibugi discusses his reasons for writing The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy and his hopes for a future of change in the international climate. He spoke with Professor Rob Briner at Birkbeck University of London’s School of Management and Organizational Psychology.

Celebrating Margaret Mead at the American Museum of Natural History, November 13

Margaret Mead, possibly the best-known, and certainly one of the most controversial, anthropologists in 20th-century America worked at the American Museum of Natural History for 50 years. On Thursday, November 13, at 6:30pm in the Kaufmann Theater (first floor) Nancy Lutkehaus, Professor of Anthropology, University of Southern California, author of the just-released MARGARET MEAD: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN ICON, and Mead’s daughter and granddaughter, Mary Catherine Bateson and Sevanne Kassarjian present memories and images of this riveting woman. Introduced by Laurel Kendall, Curator, Division of Anthropology, AMNH. A book signing will follow. This event is co-presented with the Barnard Center for Research on Women and is supported, in part, by Sara Lee Schupf.

For complete line-up of films at the 32nd annual Margaret Mead Film Festival, visit www.amnh.org/mead.


Just how smart are American voters?

In a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Princeton professor and author of Unequal Democracy, Larry Bartels, comments on how the electorate as a whole may be wiser and more rational than any individual.

November 3, 2008

One of the bestselling books of the 2008 election season has been “Just How Stupid Are We?” by popular historian Rick Shenkman. It presents a familiar collection of bleak results
from opinion surveys documenting the many things most Americans don’t know about politics, government and history. “Public ignorance,” Shenkman concludes, is “the most obvious cause” of “the foolishness that marks so much of American politics.”

But is that really true? Does it matter whether voters can name the secretary of Defense or whether they know how long a U.S. Senate term is? The important question is not whether voters are ignorant but whether they make sensible choices despite being hazy about the details. (OK, really hazy.) If they do, that’s not stupid — it’s efficient.

Political scientists have been studying this subject for years, and they’ve found plenty of grounds for pessimism about voters’ rationality.

In the early 1950s, Paul Lazarsfeld and his colleagues at Columbia University concluded that electoral choices “are relatively invulnerable to direct argumentation” and “characterized more by faith than by conviction and by wishful expectation rather than careful prediction of consequences.” For example, voters consistently misperceived where candidates stood on important issues.

In 1960, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan described “the general impoverishment of political thought in a large proportion of the electorate.” Shifts in election outcomes, they concluded, were largely attributable to defections from long-standing partisan loyalties by relatively unsophisticated voters with little grasp of issues or ideology. A recent replication of their work found that things haven’t changed much.

The intervening decades have seen a variety of concerted attempts to overturn or evade the findings of the classic Columbia and Michigan studies, but without much success.

In the 1990s, political scientists took a different tack, acknowledging that, yes, voters were generally uninformed, but denying that the quality of their political decisions suffered much as a result. Voters, they argued, used “information shortcuts” to make rational electoral choices. These shortcuts included inferences from personal narratives, partisan stereotypes and endorsements.

In one of the most colorful examples of an information shortcut, political scientist Samuel Popkin suggested that Mexican American voters had good reason to be suspicious of President Ford in 1976 because he didn’t know how to eat a tamale — a shortcoming revealed when he made the mistake of trying to down one without first removing its cornhusk wrapper. According to Popkin, “Showing familiarity with a voter’s culture is an obvious and easy test of ability to relate to the problems and sensibilities of the ethnic group.”

Obvious and easy, yes — but was this a reliable test? Would Mexican American voters have been correct to infer that Ford was less sensitive to their concerns than his primary opponent, Ronald Reagan? I have no idea, and neither does Popkin.

In “Uninformed Votes,” a 1996 study examining presidential elections from 1972 to 1992, I took another approach, assessing how closely voters’ actual choices matched those they would have made had they been “fully informed.” I found that the actual choices fell about halfway between what they would have been if voters had been fully informed and what they would have been if made on the basis of a coin flip.

The ideal of rational voting behavior is further undermined by accumulating evidence that voters can be powerfully swayed by television ads just before an election. A major study of the 2000 presidential election suggested that George W. Bush’s razor-thin victory hinged on the fact that he had more money to spend on television ads in battleground states in the final weeks of the campaign.

Optimism about the democratic process has often been bolstered by appeals to the “miracle of aggregation” — an idea formalized in a mathematical demonstration by the social theorist Condorcet more than 200 years ago. He showed that a group trying to reach a decision by a majority vote (and in which each individual is making an independent judgment) is very likely to reach a correct decision even if each individual is only slightly more likely to reach the correct conclusion than he would simply by flipping a coin.

Applied to electoral politics, Condorcet’s logic suggests that the electorate as a whole may be much wiser than any individual voter. The only problem is that things may not work so happily. Real voters’ errors are quite unlikely to be random and statistically independent, as Condorcet’s logic requires. When thousands or millions of voters misconstrue the same relevant fact or are swayed by the same vivid campaign ad, no amount of aggregation will produce the requisite miracle — individual voters’ “errors” will not cancel out in the overall election outcome.

Voters’ strong tendency to reward incumbents for peace and prosperity and punish them for bad times looks at first glance like a promising mechanism of political accountability, because it does not require detailed knowledge of issues and policy platforms. As political scientist Morris Fiorina has noted, even uninformed citizens “typically have one comparatively hard bit of data: They know what life has been like during the incumbent’s administration.”

Unfortunately, “rational” rewarding and punishing of incumbents turns out to be much harder than it seems, as my Princeton colleague, Christopher Achen, and I have found. Voters often misperceive what life has been like during the incumbent’s administration. They are inordinately focused on the here and now, mostly ignoring how things have gone earlier in the incumbent’s term. And they have great difficulty judging which aspects of their own and the country’s well-being are the responsibility of elected leaders and which are
not.

This election year, an economic downturn turned into an economic crisis with the dramatic meltdown of major financial institutions. John McCain will be punished at the polls as a result. Whether the current economic distress is really President Bush’s fault, much less McCain’s, is largely beside the point.

Does all of this make voters stupid? No, just human. And thus — to borrow the title of another popular book by behavioral economist Dan Ariely — “predictably irrational.” That may be bad enough.

Russ Roberts chats with Reason TV

Economist Russ Roberts was interviewed for Reason TV about his new book The Price of Everything.  Check out the video.

Optimism in the Age of Global Warming Panic

David Archer, a leading climatologist and contributor to the blog RealClimate, offers solutions for reducing our impact on the Earth’s climate. In his book,The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate, he tackles the growing problem of the buildup of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere and what we can do about it.

According to Archer, there are many possible strategies for making significant cuts in CO2 emission, each of which are based on technology and methods that already exist. Each of the following examples could cut CO2 emission by a billion metric tons per year, and a portfolio of several of these changes could significantly slow the growth of atmospheric CO2.

  • Increase fuel efficiency for automobiles, from a business-as-usual 30 miles per gallon to a more efficient 60.
  • Alter building practices by using improved insulation and passive lighting to decrease energy use and CO2 emissions while saving money.
  • Capture, purify, and store CO2 in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Coal gasification (a thermo-chemical process) breaks down coal into its basic chemical elements and extracts energy more efficiently than traditional coal-fired plants. Gasification produces CO2 in a more pure form which is more suitable for capture and sequestration.
  • Increase wind power generation by fifty times today’s capacity. This requires investment in the infrastructure of the electrical grid to bring the power to market.
  • Practice no-till agriculture which causes carbon to build up in soils, thus removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Changes in irrigation techniques can also decrease emissions of methane to the atmosphere while saving fresh water.
  • By the end of the century, we’ll need new sources of carbon-free energy. One new source would be to build solar cells on the moon. Here, they would be unobstructed by clouds and blowing dust. Though it would take decades, technological developments, and hundreds of astronaut tours of duty to construct this power source, once construction got started, it could continue until it reached the required amount of energy.
  • Another carbon-free energy source is the creation of high-altitude windmills, flying like kites in the jet stream. Electrical power can be transmitted through wires in the tether. The power density is much higher at 30,000 feet elevation than it is down at the ground. High-altitude windmill power could also potentially scale up to generate the power we’re looking for.

“Democrats have presided over much less unemployment and much more robust income growth” says Larry Bartels

Why the economy fares much better under Democrats

On job and income growth, the record couldn’t be clearer.

John McCain is a maverick and Barack Obama is a postpartisan problem-solver. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at their economic plans. Both candidates’ proposals faithfully reflect the traditional economic priorities of their respective parties. That makes the track records of past Democratic and Republican administrations a very useful benchmark for assessing how the economy might perform under a President McCain or a President Obama. The bottom line: During the past 60 years, Democrats have presided over much less unemployment and much more robust income growth.

The $52.5 billion plan Senator McCain announced last week includes $36 billion in tax breaks for senior citizens withdrawing funds from retirement accounts and $10 billion for a reduction in the capital gains tax. Those are perks for investors, most of whom are relatively affluent. (McCain is also proposing a two-year suspension of taxes on unemployment benefits, but that’s a fraction of the plan’s cost.) He also favors broader tax cuts for businesses and wants to extend President Bush’s massive tax cuts indefinitely, even for people earning more than $250,000 per year.

McCain’s proposals reflect the traditional Republican emphasis on cutting taxes for businesses and wealthy people in hopes of stimulating investment – “trickle down” economics, as it came to be called during Ronald Reagan’s administration. But will proposals of this sort really “stop and reverse the rise of unemployment” and “create millions of new jobs” as McCain has claimed? The historical record suggests not.

President Bush’s multitrillion-dollar tax cuts, which were strongly tilted toward the rich, could not prevent (and may even have contributed to) significant job losses. On the other hand, when Bill Clinton raised taxes on affluent people to balance the federal budget (while significantly expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for working poor people), unemployment declined substantially. Under Clinton’s watch, 22 million jobs were created.

Prefer a broader historical comparison? In the past three decades, since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries oil price shocks of the mid-1970s and the Republican turn toward “supply side” economics, the average unemployment rate under Republican presidents has been 6.7 percent – substantially higher than the 5.5 percent average under Democratic presidents. (The official unemployment rate takes no account of people who have given up looking for work or taken substantial pay cuts to stay in the labor force.) Over an even broader time period, since the late 1940s, unemployment has averaged 4.8 percent under Democratic presidents but 6.3 percent – almost one-third higher – under Republican presidents.

Lower unemployment under Democratic presidents has contributed substantially to the real incomes of middle-class and working poor families. Job losses hurt everyone – not just those without work. In fact, every percentage point of unemployment has the effect of reducing middle-class income growth by about $300 per family per year. And the effects are long term, unlike the temporary boost in income from a stimulus check. Compounded over an eight-year period, a persistent one-point difference in unemployment is worth about $10,000 to a middle-class family. The dollar values are smaller for working poor families, but in relative terms their incomes are even more sensitive to unemployment. In contrast, income growth for affluent people is much more sensitive to inflation, which has been a perennial target of Republican economic policies.

Although McCain portrays Senator Obama as a “job killing” tax-and-spend liberal, the new $60 billion plan Obama unveiled last week also has a tax break as its centerpiece – a tax break specifically tailored to create jobs by offering employers a $3,000 tax credit for each new hire over the next two years. Obama’s proposal would also extend unemployment benefits by 13 weeks for those who remain jobless, as well as match McCain’s in suspending taxes on unemployment benefits.

Obama’s new proposal complements $115 billion in economic stimulus measures he had already announced, including $65 billion in direct rebates to taxpayers and $50 billion to help states jump-start spending on infrastructure projects. All of this is squarely in the tradition of Democratic presidents since John F. Kennedy, who have relied on public spending and tax breaks for working people to stimulate consumption and employment during economic downturns.

These and other policies have produced not only lower unemployment under Democratic presidents but also more economic output and income growth. In fact, over the past 60 years, the real incomes of middle-income families have grown about twice as fast under Democratic presidents as they have under Republican presidents. The partisan difference is even greater for working poor families, whose real incomes have grown six times as fast under Democratic presidents as they have under Republican presidents.

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of what will happen when the next president takes office. However, given the striking fidelity of both presidential candidates to their parties’ traditional economic priorities, the profound impact of partisan politics on the economic fortunes of American families over more than half a century ought to weigh heavily in the minds of voters.

Larry M. Bartels directs the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics in Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is the author of “Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age.”

Barack Obama’s calls for Unity and Hope echo great speakers of the past: Lincoln, Kennedy and Walt Whitman

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I Sing the Candidate Electric

By Michael Robertson

Worshipping Walt: The Whitman Disciples

By now, the comparisons of Barack Obama to John F. Kennedy have become routine: the youth, the charisma, the idealism, the eloquence. But there is another great American small-d democrat with whom Obama shares even more resemblances: Walt Whitman.

The Walt Whitman most Americans are familiar with may not seem to have much in common with a youthful African-American politician. In the popular imagination Whitman is the Good Gray Poet, a benign figure with one of those big only-in-the-19th-century beards, author of the tamely patriotic verses “I Hear America Singing” and “O Captain! My Captain!”

But the real Walt Whitman was a deeply political poet with a radical agenda: to unite all Americans in loving comradeship, regardless of wealth or gender or race or sexuality. When Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855, the United States was on the verge of fracturing apart. In his poetic masterpiece “Song of Myself,” Whitman cast himself as a larger-than-life Great Unifier with the power to reconcile opposites. “I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise, / Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,” he wrote. At a time when the states were bitterly divided, he boasted that he was “one of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same, / A Southerner soon as a Northerner.”

Whitman had unlimited faith in the poet’s role in a democracy, believing that great poems could serve to bind the American nation. At the same time, he recognized the power of oratory. “O the orator’s joys!” he wrote in one poem:

To inflate the chest, to roll the thunder of the voice out from the ribs and throat,

To make people rage, weep, hate, desire, with yourself,

To lead America—to quell America with a great tongue.

Whitman himself had a weak, high-pitched voice, but he admired the great orators of his era—none more than Abraham Lincoln. He thrilled to Lincoln’s closing words in the First Inaugural Address, when the new President, as if echoing the poet, placed loving comradeship at the heart of American democracy. “We are not enemies, but friends,” Lincoln stressed to the Southerners in his audience. “Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” Whitman was inspired by the President’s belief, so close to his own, that the American people had within them untapped potential for forgiveness and transformation, that in a moment of crisis they could summon what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

Were he alive now, Whitman would be equally inspired by Barack Obama’s calls for unity and hope. After eight years of the politics of fear, of preemptive war and of a shallow conservatism based on aversion to change, Obama has dared to appeal to the better angels of our nature. In the same way that Whitman regarded every reader as a “camerado” who could travel with him the open road to a better future, that Lincoln believed the country could transcend divisions of North and South, and that Kennedy appealed to our desire for selfless service, Obama believes that Americans have the capacity to unite and change. He trusts that we can work together to overcome our differences and address our most urgent challenges: the United States’ dismal reputation abroad, which contributes to the spread of terrorism; environmental degradation that will require all of us to make radical changes in our everyday lives; economic injustices and racial divisions that undermine democracy.

It was only after his death that Lincoln was widely acknowledged as our greatest President, and it took decades for Whitman’s poetic pre-eminence to be established. But Barack Obama is already widely regarded as the most exciting presidential candidate since 1960. Come November, he may have the chance to carry on the legacy of Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy, to implement their common belief that the American people have within them a noble idealism and immense possibilities for transformative change.

Michael Robertson is professor of English at The College of New Jersey and author of Worshipping Walt: The Whitman Disciples.

Forget leaders. You should be in charge!

<br />Is it necessary to have people in power? Before elections, why do we put so much emphasis on which candidate will produce the most ‘change’? John Stossel examines this issue during an episode of ABC’s 20/20 from Friday, Oct 17. Russel Roberts, author of The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity, offered his comments on “Rinkonomics”.

20/20 Asks: Is It Unnecessary to Have People in Power?

By JOHN STOSSEL and ANDREW SULLIVAN

There’s tremendous excitement about this year’s election. Each candidate says his new administration would solve America’s problems, from cutting taxes and balancing the federal budget to guaranteeing health care and creating jobs. But can a president really do all those things?

At this year’s conventions, supporters from both parties seemed to think so. At the Republican National Convention, voters for John McCain were confident that their candidate would “get things done in Washington” and “bring peace and stability to the United States.” Supporters for Barack Obama said that he would “give us back our freedom, our trust” and that “workers’ lives will improve and all of our kids and grandkids will have a better life.”

“We actually think that some people can do magic,” said David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. “It’s like we believe that when one man is chosen to be president, suddenly he rises above all the rest of us.”

‘Government Should Do More’

For one, Oprah Winfrey seems to have that kind of opinion of Obama. At an Obama rally, her introduction sounded almost biblical. “He is the one,” she said in December. “He is the one.”

Said Cato’s Boaz: “They think politicians can do anything. They think politicians can give us health care, give us better lives, give us better jobs. Politicians can’t do most of that stuff.”

Take energy independence. Every president since Richard Nixon (1969 to 1974) has promised to move us toward independence from foreign energy sources. Nixon promised it would happen by 1980, President Ford by 1985. But the country is no closer to energy independence today.

Still, Obama says he would end oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela in 10 years and McCain promises “strategic independence” by 2025.

Politicians say what they think people want to hear and people want to believe them, observers say.

“It’s kind of an instinctive reaction: Government should do more on health care,” Boaz said. “Government should do more for the elderly. Government should do more for children. But a president can’t fix all the problems in your life.”

Indeed, most of life works best when people are in charge.

Rinkonomics: the Skating Rink Analogy

Consider a skating rink. Imagine telling someone who’d never been to a skating rink that people strap blades to their feet and all of them — old people, young people, good skaters, bad skaters — speed around on slippery ice. They’d say, “No, you can’t do that! It would be a catastrophe! You need to plan this! Someone needs to be in charge!”

But as economist Daniel Klein notes in his essay “Rinkonomics,” skating rinks work harmoniously without planning. It’s something economists call spontaneous order. Skaters look out for themselves. They’re each left to do their own thing and, surprisingly, they rarely crash.

Nature is full of spontaneous order: schools of fish moving together, a productive ant colony where every ant does its own thing, a flock of birds darting through the air moving as a single unit.

“We don’t notice there are many things in our lives that work beautifully and smoothly as if they were organized but without an organizer,” said George Mason University economist Russ Roberts, author of the new book “The Price of Everything.”

The Planners vs. the Individuals

Humans require some predictable and understandable rules, like the rules children learn in kindergarten: Don’t hit other people, don’t take their stuff and don’t break promises. But most of life is governed by spontaneous order. People choose their jobs, hobbies, lovers, recreation and most of the best things in life, not the government.

The order that comes spontaneously works much better than the order that comes when a central authority plans, because the planners can never account for or predict the great myriad individual needs and interests.

The old Soviet Union is an example of what happens when government tries to plan the economy: The planner doesn’t plan for enough of the right things, which results in shortages. Many Soviets waited in lines for hours of every day.

When we tried to “govern” the skating rink by shouting orders with a bullhorn, things got worse. Skaters hated it. Some fell down. I suppose a politician would say we failed at “leading” the rink because we’re not smart enough, or don’t know enough about skating. We asked Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano to take the bullhorn. He didn’t do any better.

Skaters at the rink hated our direction. “It kind of ruins the fun of it,” one woman said. “I don’t wanna do it then if someone’s telling you what to do.”

The moral: Intuition leads us to think that complex problems require centrally planned solutions, but political decision-making is rarely the answer. Life works best when we govern ourselves.

20/20′s Tori Ueltschi contributed to this report.

Larry Bartels on how much voters care whether their candidates are ‘knowledgeable’

Larry Bartels, author of Unequal Democracy:The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age writing for the Huffington Post about the upcoming presidential elections:

C Students Welcome

Clips of Sarah Palin’s interviews with Katie Couric have generated lots of buzz about whether Palin is sufficiently well-informed about national and international affairs to be an effective vice president. Palin fans will be tuning in to tomorrow night’s vice presidential debate eager to see her allay those doubts, while skeptics will be viewing in much the same spirit as the people who watch NASCAR races hoping to witness a crash.

But do voters really care how much Palin doesn’t seem to know? After all, similar concerns were raised about George W. Bush. Does anyone remember how many world leaders he couldn’t name in 2000? Nonetheless, Bush managed to get elected and reelected–and he was at the top of the ticket, not the understudy. While voters naturally prefer knowledgeable candidates to ignorant ones, it is not something they seem to care a lot about.

Surveys conducted by the National Election Study team in each presidential year since 1980 have asked prospective voters to rate the presidential candidates on a variety of specific traits. In 2000, for example, survey respondents were asked how well the phrases “moral,” “really cares about people like you,” “knowledgeable,” and “provides strong leadership” described Bush and Al Gore. The biggest difference in perceptions of the two candidates was that people saw Bush as considerably less “knowledgeable” than Gore — by 11 points on a 100-point scale. (They also saw Bush as less empathetic, but most considered him a stronger leader.)

How much did that matter? My analysis suggests that an undecided voter who saw Bush as 11 points less “knowledgeable” than Gore was only about 1.3% less likely to vote for Bush as a result. Comparable differences on the other trait dimensions were three to five times as consequential. Clearly, voters in 2000 were much more concerned about electing someone who was strong, empathetic, and moral, with “knowledgeable” a distant fourth. And they weren’t just giving the genial anti-intellectual Bush a pass — much the same pattern has held in other recent elections.

2008-10-02-chart.jpg

These estimates of the impact of trait perceptions allow for the fact that each party’s loyalists are very likely to see their own candidate as superior in every way. For example, very conservative Republicans in 2000 saw Bush as being about 20 points more knowledgeable than Gore on the 100-point scale, while very liberal Democrats saw Gore as being about 40 points more knowledgeable. Those differences suggest that, regardless of what Governor Palin actually says tomorrow night, fans and skeptics will both find plenty of ammunition to support their preconceptions. But the people who matter — the voters whose minds are still not made up — will mostly not care whether Palin can rattle off the names of Supreme Court cases or world leaders. If she comes across as strong and empathetic, that may be enough.

Larry M. Bartels directs the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics in Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is the author of Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age.

Former President Bill Clinton picks Unequal Democracy as top bailout-related book

Former New Yorker editor Tina Brown has launched the news & commentary site, The Daily Beast, earlier this week. The page, The Buzz Board: Smart People Recommend, features insiders’ picks on the news of the day. According to the site, Bill Clinton included Unequal Democracy in a short list of 3 bailout-related books.

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Bill Clinton also sat down with Fox News’s On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on Sept 23, and mentioned Unequal Democracy.

Excerpt from the interview:

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, you mentioned the campaign, so that’s a door opening, as far as I see it. I might sneak into it. I know that you support Senator Obama.

CLINTON: I do.

VAN SUSTEREN: And — but let me ask you about Senator McCain. Would he be bad for the country?

CLINTON: Well, I don’t think we should talk like that. As you know, I’ve made it — my admiration for him quite clear. I like him. I admire him. I’m particularly grateful to him because he made it — he and Senator Bob Kerrey and Senator Chuck Robb and Senator John Kerry and a few others made it possible for me to normalize relations with Vietnam, which was a big deal for Americans and for our country’s psychological wellbeing and for our longterm position in Asia. And he’s done a lot of other good things.

I think on the two major issues facing Americans today — how we’re going to bring this economy back and make it — the benefits broadly shared again and create jobs again, and how are we going to restore America’s standing the world — I think Senator Obama and Senator Biden have better – - markedly better positions, and I think it’d be better for our country.

I think that, in general, Democrats produce more broadly shared prosperity. There’s a new book out called,
Unequal Democracy,” by a professor at Princeton named Larry Bartels, who hadn’t voted since 1984 because he doesn’t want it to cloud his judgments. And he voted for President Reagan in 1984, but he says that if the Democrats had held the White House the last eight years, the median family income would be 6 percent higher today than it is, that, basically, we just produce more broadly shared prosperity.

I don’t think there’s any question, if you look at the Obama energy plan, the education plan, and especially there’s stark, stark differences in the health care plan, that those things would be better for America.

Here’s the video, the action happens around the last third of the clip.