Poisonous plutocracy pushes economic inequality
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 5, 2008, 00:16
The biggest political issue receiving no
attention by the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates is the
powerful plutocracy that has captured the government to produce rising economic
Both major parties have enabled, promoted and supported this
Upper Class plutocracy. Myriad federal policies make the rich super-rich and
the powerful dominant in both good and bad economic times. Meanwhile, despite
elections, the middle class sinks into one big Lower Class as the plutocracy
ensures that national prosperity is unshared.
Why no attention? Why no explicit reference to a plutocracy
that makes a mockery of American democracy? Simple answer: because both major
parties and their candidates are subservient to numerous corporate and other
special interests that use their money and influence to ensure that their
elitist priorities prevail. Make no mistake. Barack Obama with all his slick
rhetoric is just as much a supporter and benefactor of this Upper Class
plutocracy as John McCain.
Everyone that is not in the Upper Class who votes for either
of these presidential candidates is voting against their own interests. They
have been hoodwinked, conned, brainwashed and manipulated by campaign
propaganda. They elect people for the visible government while they remain
oblivious to the secret government -- the powerful pulling the strings behind
the stage. Money makes more money, financing more political influence.
One of the biggest delusions of Americans is that if they
retain their constitutional rights that they still live in a country with a
working democracy. Wrong. American democracy is delusional because the
two-party plutocracy makes citizens economic slaves. This represses political
dissent. It is 21st century tyranny. Two-party presidential candidates, unlike
our nation�s Founders, lack courage to fight and revolt against domestic
tyranny. Placebo voting distracts citizens from the political necessity of
fighting the plutocracy.
Economic data show the plutocracy�s assault on American
society. Consider these examples.
The top 20 percent of households earned more, after taxes,
than the remaining 80 percent in 2005, while the topmost 1 percent took home
more than the bottom 40 percent.
No American state has seen the gap between rich and poor
widen faster than Connecticut. From 1987 through 2006, the top fifth of the
state�s households saw their incomes increase by 44.8 percent, after inflation.
Incomes for the bottom fifth fell 17.4 percent. On the other coast, just three
of every 1,000 Californians in 2005 reported at least $1 million in income. But
they got $213 of every $1,000 Californians earned in 2005 income. The state�s
top 1 percent -- average income $1.6 million -- pay 7.1 percent of their
incomes in income, sales, property, and gas taxes. The poorest fifth of
California households pay 11.7 percent.
Real hourly wages for most workers have risen only 1 percent
since 1979, even as those workers' productivity has increased by 60 percent.
Higher efficiency has rewarded business executives, owners and investors, but
not workers. What's more, American workers now work more hours per year than
their counterparts in virtually every other advanced economy, even Japan, and
without universal health care.
A typical hedge fund manager makes 31 times more in one hour
than the typical American family makes in a year. In 2007, the top 50 hedge
fund income-earners collected $29 billion -- an average of $581 million each.
John Paulson took home $3.7 billion from his hedge fund labors. These figures
do not count profits from selling shares in their companies. Importantly, hedge
fund players contributed nine times more to the Senate Democratic fundraising
arm than they gave to Senate Republicans in 2007.
In 2009, Americans who make over $1 million a year will save
an average $32,000 from the Bush tax cuts on capital gains and dividends. The
average American household will save $20.
Between 1986 and 2005, the income of America�s top 1 percent
of taxpayers jumped from 11.3 to 21.2 percent of the national total. Their
federal income taxes dropped from 33.13 percent of total personal income in
1986 to 23.13 percent in 2005. From 2001 to 2008, the net worth of the
wealthiest 1 percent grew from $186 billion to $816 billion.
Economic inequality and injustice reflect a political
disaster, even with regular elections. It has resulted from government
decisions on tax cuts, spending, trade agreements, deregulatory measures, labor
unions, corporate handouts, and regulatory enforcement. All crafted to benefit
the rich and powerful and leave the rest of us behind. It has happened under
Democratic and Republican presidencies and congresses. Bipartisan domestic tyranny
propels greed driven plutocracy.
What do we desperately need? A national discussion and
referendum on inequality-pumping plutocracy, which neither of the major
presidential candidates shows any interest in having. Certainly not Barack
Obama with his vacuous talk of change (but not about the political system) and
John McCain�s incredulous talk of reform.
And it is delusional to think that populist global Internet
connectivity producing what is called personal sovereignty threatens
plutocracy. Networking among the rich and powerful strengthens the global
plutocracy, placing it above national sovereignty. More than produce an army of
revolutionaries to overturn the system, the Internet has fragmented every
imaginable movement. Individuals indulge themselves with their own or social
websites or fall victim to conventional politicians. Technology and media owned
and controlled by plutocrats serves them while it shackles and deceives the
Only one presidential candidate sees our core national problem
and the need for revolutionary thinking and action to correct the system: Ralph
Nader who said recently, "We need a Jeffersonian revolution."
Plutocrats should heed these wise words of John F. Kennedy: "Those who
make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution
inevitable." With all the guns and pain Americans have, the ruling class
should worry and start reforms. To start, let third party and independent
candidates into televised presidential debates. If the stage can be filled with
a bunch of primary season candidates, why not more than two in the general
For electoral dissent, stop being a presidential romantic;
use your vote to fight the plutocracy. Reject the Democratic and Republican
presidential candidates. Put an end to serial disappointments. Time is running
out. Talk is cheap. Action is crucial. Violent revolution is an option.
Joel S. Hirschhorn through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.
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