Monied Interest: Political Power to a few People

Unfortunately, this seems right to me:

This election is “another instance of the eternal recurrence of American politics, another iteration of the status quo. A country that’s rotting from the head, poisoned by alienation, plutocracy, and an aversion to thinking, careens from one idiocy to another, with the winning side celebrating its momentary triumph, and then it all goes sour in a few months.”

Then Henwood quotes from Friedrich Engels (in 1892):

“[A]lmost each particular section of the possessing class has its representatives in each of the two parties to a very large degree. …”

 

Similarly, Bob Herbert in the NYT today looks at a book by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson titled Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class; the authors argue that

“the economic struggles of the middle and working classes in the U.S. since the late-1970s were not primarily the result of globalization and technological changes but rather a long series of policy changes in government that overwhelmingly favored the very rich.”

From 2008 to 2009, the number of people earning more than $50 million annually increased fivefold. Last year, “investors and executives at the nation’s 38 largest companies earned a stunning total of $140 billion — a record.”

Herbert goes on:

“This unfortunate shift away from a long period of more widely shared prosperity unfolded steadily, year after year since the late-’70s, whether Democrats or Republicans controlled the levers of power in Washington. Winner-Take-All Politics explores the vexing question of how this could have happened in a democracy in which — in theory, at least — the enormous number of voters who are not rich would serve as a check on policies that curtailed their own economic opportunities while at the same time supercharging the benefits of the runaway rich.

“The answer becomes clearer when one recognizes, as the book stresses, that politics is largely about organized combat. It’s a form of warfare. ‘It’s a contest,’ said Professor Pierson, ‘between those who are organized, who can really monitor what government is doing in a very complicated world and bring pressure effectively to bear on politicians.” Over the past 30 years, “big business mobilized on an enormous scale to become much more active in Washington, cultivating politicians in both parties and fighting fiercely to achieve shared political goals. This occurred at the same time that organized labor, the most effective force fighting on behalf of the middle class and other working Americans, was caught in a devastating spiral of decline. …

“This hyperconcentration of wealth and income, and the overwhelming political clout it has put into the hands of the monied interests, has drastically eroded the capacity of government to respond to the needs of the middle class and others of modest income.”

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2 thoughts on “Monied Interest: Political Power to a few People

  1. If someone had a cure or could reduce un-necessary conflict, division, violence and return integrity and creative intelligence to human affairs, do you actually believe that it would be welcome news or at the very least something to look into? Would the powers that be, “the status quo”, not recognize this as their downfall and do everything in their power to prevent it’s
    recognition. Whats going on as you have perceived in your article, has been going on since the foundation of the world, and has accelerated since we’ve moved the survival of the fittest from the wilderness into the boardroom. Until we recognize our complicity whether through omission or direct action and begin to study, conscious and subconscious negative behaviour expect no change.
    God bless our future.

  2. Our Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and reluctant seer Leonard Cohen predicted this state of affairs in his 94 album ” The Future. He put these words into the mouth of Jesus Christ
    “I’ve seen the nations rise and fall
    Heard their stories heard them all
    But loves the only engine of survival”
    and these timely words
    And now the wheels of heaven stop
    You feel the Devil’s riding crop
    Get ready for the future it is murder
    Things are gonna slide, slide in all directions
    Won’t be nothing you can measure anymore
    The blizzard of the world has crossed the thresh hold
    And it’s overturned the order of the soul
    Better turn your lawn into a veggie garden
    God bless

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