Publius Speaks

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WE ARE NOW A “PLUTOCRACY”

YOU DON’T GET IT, if you don’t realize that our Federal Government can no longer be fairly characterized as a “representative democracy”.  After this last election, we now have what can only be characterized as a “Plutocracy“: control of government by the wealthy.  The Presidency has long been controlled by millionaires, the Supreme Court is made up mostly of millionaires and now our Legislative branch is in the hands of the wealthy; they have seized legislative power.  Probably over 50% of the new 112th Congress will be millionaires (counting all their assets, not just what they must disclose), members of  the 1% in this country who can claim that distinction.  Everything the new Congress does will be based to a significant degree on that fact.

And YOU thought you were voting for change?  That’s exactly what you’ll get: the small CHANGE that’s left over after they take their cut!  The first act of the new Congress will be to try to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy on a permanent basis; the second act will be to take away what little the middle class can count on by cutting discretionary programs, including the new health care reform benefits; the third act will be an attempt to privatize Social Security and Medicare; the final act will be to get rid of all regulations that restrict or control large corporations, and you will again be the fall guy who pays for their excesses. 

In this last election,large percentages of Independents and Seniors helped make this situation happen by voting against their own best interests.  Now, we can all sit back and watch our resources slowly dwindle as the Plutocrats funnel government tax cuts, incentives and contracts to their wealthy partners.  At the same time, we’ll be left to enjoy inflation, stagnation, and health care denigration as our own assets become the fodder for the Plutocratic “revolution”.  The old depression era slogan may become ours again: “Brother, can you spare a dime?”

And to think Independents and Seniors largely voted for these Plutocrats because you thought they would “reform” our government by taking it back for “US”.  How wrong can you be?  They took it back all right, but not for the 98% of us who are below - way below in most cases - the income level of $250,000 per year.  As you pay your taxes this year, think about numerous large houses of gigantic proportions, of luxury cars, of yachts, of lavish parties, of trips abroad, of luxurious clothes and sparkling diamonds, housekeepers and gardeners and much, much more.  Not yours -- theirs!  You will be sending your tax dollars to the care of these Plutocrats who will surely spend it in the pursuit of all these accoutrements.  (Oh sure, there are some who are relatively good public servants touting their concern for the middle classes, but why do we still have homelessness, poverty, inadequate care for returning soldiers, inadequate public schools, home foreclosures, high unemployment, health care costs that bankrupt many, right along with the highest profits and largest bonuses for the big corporations, insurance companies, wall street brokers?  Because those “good” public servants still know on which side their bread is buttered!). 

Finally, don’t be misled by the (largely) Republican cover story that the tax cuts for the 2% should be made permanent because this number includes small business owners and job creators!  As Pearlstein of the Washington Post put it:  “This is simply hogwash, as a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office concluded.  For starters, the job-creating prowess of small business is largely a political myth - particularly so in the recent downturn in which small businesses have accounted for a disproportionate share of the job losses.  More significantly, any firm that has taxable profits of over $1 million is unlikely to be a struggling small business so starved for cash that a modest increase in tax rates would prevent or discourage it from hiring a profit-producing new employee.”  And the same goes for the “job creators” -- the millionaires who run larger firms: they are not going to resist hiring and job creation if it adds to their bottom line!  Besides, a substantial number of the 1% of millionaires and billionaires are no longer in the job-creating sector: they make their millions through investments (like Warren Buffett0. 

So, stop being bamboozled by rhetoric.  The wealthy are in charge.  The voters put them there and now will have to pay for their own voter folly!  Our government has been taken back; BUT not by the average citizen.  It is now totally in the hands of millionaires - Plutocrats - who have little in-depth regard for the needs of the vast 98% of us.  Old Ben Franklin must be spinning in his grave: he thought we could have a representative democracy of shopkeepers and farmers and printers, and artisans and deep thinkers.  Because of our lack of vigilance, and our reluctance to change the current election system, we have created a plutocratic monster that no longer resembles Ben’s dream.  Pray to God we haven’t lost it forever!