The United States is known as the “World’s Oldest Democracy.” But is it really?
As citizens of this country, we vote for various individuals to represent us in our government. However, we have to ask ourselves who is really in charge. In 2010, the Supreme Court decided that anyone can spend as much money as they see fit on elections. This is a very controversial decision that has sparked a lot of outcry from the public. The problem is that most people can’t afford to donate more than a maximum of $100.00 to elect politicians. This vastly tilts the scale in favor of the wealthy who can and will spend millions of dollars on campaigns. Although this money is spent on both parties, it is the Republicans who bring in the lion’s share of the donations. President Obama’s campaign brought in more money that Mitt Romney’s, but the various Political Action Committees (PACs) and Super PACS spent more on Republicans than on Democrats in 2012.
In the Wisconsin Recall election against Scott Walker, estimates have reached as high as $120,000,000.00 being spent on the election. Most estimates also show that Walker outspent Barrett by anywhere from 5 to 1, all the way up to 8 to 1. The fact that these donations can be kept secret makes it very difficult to accurately estimate the true cost, and nearly impossible to track where they came from.
As a society, we need to be asking ourselves why the wealthy and the corporations are spending so much money on these politicians. The Koch brothers alone claim to have spent $400,000,000.00 in 2012. Who, in your life, can afford that?
The answer is that since the rise of Reaganomics in the early 1980’s, we have not seen the money “trickle down” the way that Reagan promised; instead we have seen it flood to the top.
What’s worse is that in order to get your hands on this money, you almost have to inherit it, just to have the funding to be competitive against such wealth. This is creating the rise of a capitalistic-monarchy in our country.
Just as the kingdoms of Europe were of “royal blood”, so has our economic system caused the decline in the status-fluidity of the United States. Conservatives love to talk about the free-market, the American Dream, and that anyone can make it in this country. In reality, this is no longer the case.
Take the Koch brothers for instance. Charles and David love to tell people that they used their skills and the free market to create a collective worth of nearly $70,000,000,000.00. The truth is that it was their father who was able to create that wealth, and he didn’t do it in the era of Ronald Reagan. Instead, Koch built his fortune in the 1920’s through the 1940’s. Yes, it was under the New Deal that Koch was able to create his empire (which was located in Soviet Russia).
Koch left his company, now known as Koch Industries, to his sons. They have grown the empire into an oil conglomerate that has reached outside the petroleum industry and continues to swallow other companies.
This is the other side of the capitalistic-monarchy coin-- not only do these companies tend to be owned and operated through generations of family and friends, but they swallow up smaller companies and any competition that they can acquire. Similar to the way that kings used to conquer other countries by overtaking their armies, today corporations overtake each other by conquering each other’s markets, forcing smaller companies to sell out.
Many large corporations are actually a collection of what used to be much smaller companies. The Republicans call these capitalistic-monarchs “job creators.” In actuality, they are only “job controllers.” As these monarchs expand their corporate kingdoms, jobs are actually lost. When “ABC” corporation buys the smaller competition, they may keep some of the staff, but others are let go. Most of the time they don’t need the accounting department, the middle managers, or the purchasing department, since much of this is done on the corporate level. Furthermore, the job market now has less competition for wages, allowing these corporations to pay as they see fit.
It is these corporate-monarchs who are buying off our politicians and supporting candidates such as John Raese, who famously said, “I made my money the old-fashioned way. I inherited it.” Hear the clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS4A5aR8hPA
Our founders left Europe to start a new land where we all have the opportunity to achieve success. It is time that we put a stop to the capitalistic-monarchy that is stealing our jobs, our government, and our livelihood. In order for this to happen, we need to educate each other. European countries have a strong labor movement because their middle class realizes that they are middle class and they vote accordingly. In America, too many people believe that they are just “temporarily not millionaires, but one day they will get there.” It is good to aspire, to hope, and to dream; however, we need to realize that we have to vote for our own best interest in order to achieve such an economic stature. It was FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society that created an age of prosperity. Reaganomics has failed us on many levels, but the worst thing it did was give us false hope.