Saturday, December 3, 2016

U.S.No Longer A Democracy But An Oligarchy- Gee,Yuh Think?

Image result for brane space, political elite
"The first truth is that liberty is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than that of their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

It seems it took a bit of time for the economic cognoscenti at Princeton to catch up to my much earlier conclusion (20 years ago in my tract -now a book-  'The Elements of the Corporatocracy') posted to Usenet groups alt.politics, alt.politics-economics and alt.conspiracy.jfk etc. that the U.S. had ceased to be a democracy.

observed  the U.S. has already evolved from a democracy (or to be technical, a Republic that operates using democratic machinery) to a Corporatocracy which represents a government - corporate nexus by which corporate power is able to purchase legislative leverage and overtime contaminate the wheels of government itself.  Thus, the corporate sphere uses the power of its wealth and influence (especially in the media and via lobbying) to control a nation's political and economic destiny.

In the most glaring form, people can examine the laws that have been passed and then ask how these laws benefit them or whether in fact they hide an agenda. Thus, The National Defense Authorization Act falls into the negative category. Obama assured us he wouldn't invoke any or all of the extensive powers it conferred (enabling a potentially dictatorial executive) but that doesn't console us if someone less honorable or judicious were to become commander-in chief. Someone like the authoritarian Hitler wannabe Donald J. Trump - if he should survive the  election recounts. (His threat against freedom of speech ought to be  wakeup call to all, as well as his multiple appointments of billionaires, i.e. to Dept. of Commerce and Treasury Secretary. So much for the man "of the people")

The basic structure of our corporatocracy is like this:

Corporation - > Congress Critter -> [corporate welfare in laws]
!----------------- -----------------------(tax breaks etc.) -------!

This loop assures the governance of the nation is sold to the highest bidders. Obviously if our legislators accept money from corporations to get elected, they are obligated to those corporations afterwards. That means that these obligations have to made good, most often in passing laws that favor the corporations over the average citizen.

The Princeton study, in an article  “Testing Theories of American Politics.” by Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I. Page, has now revealed the U.S. to be an oligarchy. This is defined as a society wherein elite wealthy interests control all the levers of power and ordinary citizens exert minimal impact on policy issues that affect their lives. In the case of oligarchy it is more the influence of hyper wealthy individuals, like the Koch brothers, who determine the political and economic landscape.

In the words of the Princeton profs:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

The professors came to this conclusion after reviewing answers to 1,779 survey questions asked between 1981 and 2002 on public policy issues. They broke the responses down by income level, and then determined how often certain income levels and organized interest groups saw their policy preferences enacted.

They conclude:

Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

Eric Zuess, writing in Counterpunch, isn't surprised by the survey's results.

"American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it's pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation's "news" media)," he writes. "The US, in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic' countries. We weren't formerly, but we clearly are now."

Now with Trump hiring more and more billionaires into his administration the situation will be compounded and we'll likely become a full fascist corporate state unless he's somehow stopped in his march to the Oval Office. The best chance is perhaps the ongoing recounts which numerous Trump super PACS are now fighting tooth and nail, panicked as they are- and should be.

As Paul Krugman put it in a recent column, the working class who voted for him on the basis he'd improve their lives will now learn how wrong they were. They will soon face a "nasty, brutish, short life" as their Medicare and  Obamacare choices are withdrawn or winnowed to the point they're almost useless.

If we are lucky, the recounts will ultimately succeed and we won't decline into a further mess a la Trump and renegade pseudo patriots.

See also:  "The Voters Rejected Trump":


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