Election 2012-The Impact on Philately

It is doubtful any philatelist would change his vote based on what either of the two candidates in the November election could do for stamp collecting. And it is doubtful that the policies touted by either candidate would have much short term impact. But the candidates do have starkly different visions on tax policy and how they view the distribution of societal wealth. And such policy differences will have a definite impact on philately. For the last thirty years the middle class in America has fallen behind in terms of real disposable income compared to the upper middle and (especially) the upper class. This has been one of the long term reasons for the decline of philately in America. Large numbers of collectors require a large middle class and the days of the greatest number of serious collectors, at least as measured by the number of APS members, was the 1970s, the last decade that middle class disposable incomes were rising as fast as the upper class. A larger, stronger middle class ensures the health of our hobby at all levels both by the demand of more collectors for stamps and by keeping the hobby in public consciousness at all times. In countries without much of a middle class, as is true of most of South and Central America, philately is unimportant. Though each Latin American country has several wealthy indigenous collectors, the stamps of these countries sell for very low prices compared to countries where collecting is more widespread throughout a large middle class. Neither of the two Presidential candidates have complete control over how incomes will play out in America. But their tax plans show very different visions on the role of the middle class in America. A strong middle class has not only been one of the greatest results of capitalism but it  is also what has made philately the hobby that is today.

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