I can’t decide on whether a certain political effect exists or is imaginary.
Imagine state subsidized housing for the poor. It obviously has many effects, makes the poor better off, pleases socialists, reduces inequality, and reduces homelessness. But does it do this:
Upset those on middle income.
I figure that people above the poor threshold who are in private rented accommodation, or paying a mortgage, will resent the subsidy being given to the poor for housing that they are having to pay for in full. In the UK this would equate to ‘why are we subsiding housing benefit so that people who are unemployed can live in better housing than those who work?’
Please note, I’m not asking if this viewpoint is accurate or morally correct, just if it is a common view. i believe that it is, but I may just be skewed towards people I know / articles I read.
Directly, subsidized housing probably provides as much solace as aggravation to those just above the drop. I’d call it a wash. However, when a player raises taxes (and/or suffer indirect effects), then he’ll piss off somebody. If you’ve modeled things with fidelity, then you may leave it to the down-stream effects to do the down-stream pissing-off.
In addition, there’s more than one way to subsidize a house. One is to hand out credits so the poor can go buy (or rent) anywhere. Another (very popular with politicians who want their names on buildings) is to construct giant housing projects that concentrate thousands of feckless ne’er-do-wells and their oft-abused children all in one place, and nobody has any pride of ownership or sense of responsibility.
Therefore, while “the projects” have a lower political cost, they foster massive amounts of crime and suffer budget-busting amounts of vandalism. They’re so bad that all but the most extreme left-wing politicians in the US have abandoned the policy (but let your players live and learn for themselves, especially with unadvertised effects, so-called “unintended consequences” they can only see after a few years).
Take a walk in a US government housing project, say Cabrini Green in Chicago some time. Forget that, don’t, I actually LIKE you, and you’d likely be shot.
There are cons to everything. The pros of State housing tend to be idealized, and the cons often dominate the reality, least here in the US. Set up a State-funded underclass, then cynically milk them for political support. I suppose that’s a possible strategy in a game, too. So saying the con is “upsetting the middle class” might be true, but it upsets many not just because of perceived inequality, but because it is also in some cases demonstrably a wrong choice as it incentivizes undesirable behaviors.
If a project goes up, and your middleclass neighborhood becomes a war zone, you’ll be rightfully upset.
Yeah that’s an interesting point, in that I guess it can create ‘ghettos’ based on income, and cause a resultant localized crime problem. I’ll have to look at all my variables and situations and work out if that side of things can be modeled. of course if you spend a lot on social housing, that may not be an issue, so maybe there is room for both effects at different ends of the spectrum.
In CIV V I often go for the money and then simply “buy” units and buildings as needed, and when I get tired at the end I just “buy” the city states votes for World Leader…
The equivalent in Democracy 3 would be going for max GDP and then “buy” happiness / votes / throw money at issues as a shortcut to getting every problem out of the way and every voter happy.
I think there should be more detrimental effects on different voter groups for every policy. I can see that there are policies for which it is hard to come up with a negative effect… (- what is the negative effect of public libraries? What is negative about the Monorail system? What is negative about Recycling?). Still: as it is now I pretty much tend to go for the same tactics in every play-through: first go for security, technology, productivity. Then after GDP has grown and voters are somewhat happy start canceling welfare and optimize taxes, and at the end, when society and budgets are stable: go for health and environmental issues by throwing money at them.
From a gaming POV this seems boring (once you figured it out) but effective. But how could it be different? What are in reality policies that don’t need much money (or political capital), but have a large effect? And are there really policies which have no negative effect beside their cost?
Here in Germany there seemed to be a consensus for the “Energiewende” after Fukushima. But now that we boosted renewable energies from about 4% to more than 20% of our electrical energy needs we get to see the costs: electricity in Germany is already the most expensive in all of Europe and still rising, industries threaten to leave Germany. Because of how the costs are distributed in large the poor pay for the profits of what in D3 would be called an “investment scheme” (the most costly form “photovoltaics” was subsidised most to create an equal playing field: with the effect, that we pay much more for renewable energy than we would have, if the subsidies would have gone into windfarms only…).
In D3 biofuels could also anger the poor, because the price of food goes up (- land is not used for food production), environmentalists may have liked it in the beginning, but now found out about huge monocultures and the problems that come with it.
Investing in Hybrid-cars could work out bad also: for Lithium you are dependent on 2 or 3 foreign countries (China, South America), and there might not even be enough of it to have a significant effect etc.