THE FACT THAT THE RICH IN THE U.S.—BY AND LARGE—SEEM TO CARE SO LITTLE FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE (IF ONLY FOR SELFISH REASONS) IS NO MINOR PROBLEM.
IT IS ALMOST AS IF THE POOR ARE RESENTED—OR FEARED! Perhaps there is reason to fear them. Sooner or later, the mistreated have a tendency to hit back. tThey normally fail—but it can get damnably unpleasant!).
The following piece came from DEMOS (motto: AN EQUAL SAY AND AN EQUAL CHANCE FOR ALL).
This is what Demos are about:
Demos is a public policy organization working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy.
Our name means “the people.” It is the root word of democracy, and it reminds us that in America, the true source of our greatness is the diversity of our people. Our nation’s highest challenge is to create a democracy that truly empowers people of all backgrounds, so that we all have a say in setting the policies that shape opportunity and provide for our common future. To help America meet that challenge, Demos is working to reduce both political and economic inequality, deploying original research, advocacy, litigation, and strategic communications to create the America the people deserve.
I have no objection to anybody being rich—more power to them if it is due to their own efforts and they haven’t done too much damage in the process (rarely the case as far as both qualifications are concerned)—although I have reservations about excessive inherited wealth, and do believe in the concept of equal opportunity for all.
That is so far from the reality in the U.S. that I cannot but give a wry smile. The whole basis of the U.S. these days is the privileged few, the well rewarded minions—and a target market to be kept confused, disoriented—but delivering whatever the movers and shakers want.
However, I’m not in favor of throwing out capitalism—or close. It is a flawed system well suited to the imperfections of human nature, but needs to be kept well reined in. Unfettered capitalism is a disaster. The current American Business Model is both a disaster and a distortion.
Who ever said innovation was dead in America! The ABM is now a regular cocktail of commercial bad practices—with competition carefully distilled out.
The fact that the current American Business Model is deeply flawed has more to do with the fact that it is not really a free-market economy any more. It has evolved into a form of financialized crony capitalism which is blatantly rigged to favor the rich. It is also heavily socialized through endless tax breaks, grants, subsidies, and other government assistance. The full scale of this is neither generally known nor adequately understood.
That’s what tends to happen when there is too much money in politics, bought politicians (they go together, you know)—and a truly frightening number of the less fortunate just don’t vote.
Those with money grab—because they always want more—and the poor are too busy surviving to do much about it. And, it should go without saying that they are both manipulated and demoralized,And just to make sure, their opportunities to vote are as heavily curtailed as the movers and shakers can manage. The totality, which includes mass incarceration, is pretty damn brutal. It’s a technique known as ‘subjugation.’
Works a treat! The Romans found it worked pretty well—but, to be fair to them they never pretended to run a democracy.
Clearly, the movers and shakers do not believe in democracy—and they certainly don’t practice it. The U.S. is currently a plutocracy whose main achievement is gridlock—and a vast, wasteful and hugely destructive military establishment, whose main purpose seems to generate its own wars. It is the definitive self-perpetuating, self-licking, military ice-cream cone. It is pretty good at that.
I doubt very much that European natures are any nicer than the Americans versions, but Europeans seem have learned—after their second World War (they were slow to take a hint) and sundry dictatorships (supported by the U.S. in some cases in the interests of deterring communism), that it might be good idea to treat each other with moderate decency since the alternatives had been practiced and found wanting. And memories of the guillotine tended to linger on in the folk memory. The peasants just might revolt again—and it hadn’t gone so well for the movers and shakers the last time.
And so, the European Union, and Worker Rights and all sorts of other structures and practices evolved—and were found to work. Everyone got richer. The EU (mostly) flourished. Good grief! Who knew!
Unfortunately, the fuhrers of the American Business Model learned virtually nothing from this—even though most operated subsidiaries in Europe with great success—so decided to declare war on American labor in the early 70s—and have been at it ever since with all the firepower they could muster (which was and remains considerable since they either own or control practically everything).
It has been a multi-decade long example of vindictive idiocy—which has nearly destroyed the unions, wreaked havoc on the Middle Class, and significantly increased capital’s share of corporate profits—at an incalculable cost to the economy as a whole—and to the great benefit of some less than friendly nations. But, the ultra-rich are unquestionably the victors.
In fact, it may be the one war that Americans can claim to have won outright since WW II—though, unfortunately, it has been of the civil variety. Still, it has given a lot of very rich people great satisfaction, in a self-righteous sort of way—and one can make the case that it has scored rather well on the misery index too in terms of inflicting pain on their foes.
Just a pity one can’t use targeted killing by drones with Hellfires against trade unionists and Democrats—well, so far, anyway. But, if those SOBs get out of hand, all bets are off. We have the technology—and we will certainly use it.
The movers and shakers seem to be addicted to violence of some sort or other, and to positively excel at subjugations—but democracy is definitely not their thing.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be America’s thing either any more.
A sad fate for a great experiment.
The 2014 elections saw the lowest voter turnout rates on record. Even starker, however, are voting disparities by class, race, and age. Fifty-two percent of those earning above $150,000 voted, compared to only 1 in 4 of those earning less than $10,000, due in no small part to restrictive and exclusionary voting laws.
Our new report, Why Voting Matters, uncovers how these turnout gaps reflect not only differences in power and privilege, but also striking differences in policy views and ideology. Simply put, gaps in voter turnout result in policy that is biased towards the wealthy.
At the core of this problem, we see that people in under-voting groups—lower-income voters and voters of color—tend to favor more progressive economic policies than affluent voters, particularly affluent white voters.
To fix this, we need to make it easier to vote. That means passing reforms like same-day registration and automatic voter registration, and renewing our commitment to existing laws like the National Voter Registration Act. It also means addressing voter suppression and deliberate attempts to keep people from casting a ballot.
These solutions can fundamentally transform our election system and give voice to millions of Americans, making our democracy more representative and more progressive in the process.