The signs are all around us. America is becoming a plutocracy. The rich get richer and have more influence over those who govern. That’s a nice way of seeing that politicians, judges and media are becoming like hookers. They are for sale, and the johns are billionaires like David Koch and Sheldon Adelson. Even the Supreme Court no longer looks out for the greater good. Its recent decisions make it easier for money to corrupt the political process. What does it mean for democracy? It is on its death bed, according to a study released by Princeton University.
Political science researchers and academicians Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page used data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002 to conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government–whether Republican or Democratic–-more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first.
If we stay on the present course, all of America–its institutions, its government agencies, its land, its telecommunication companies, its media outlets, its transportation modes, its very essence–will be controlled by a few wealthy elites, to whom we will all be beholden. What kind of a nation would you call that? Fascism.
Jack Ruby predicted this in 1964 when he was asked who was behind the JFK assassination and why it took place. He uttered the now frighteningly prescient words, “So that a whole new form of government will take over America.”