02 September 2022

Thoughts about the "ruling class" in the United States

"Let’s be clear. The most important economic and political issues facing this country are the extraordinary levels of income and wealth inequality, the rapidly growing concentration of ownership, the long-term decline of the American middle class and the evolution of this country into oligarchy.

We know how important these issues are because our ruling class works overtime to prevent them from being seriously discussed. They are barely mentioned in the halls of Congress, where most members are dependent on the campaign contributions of the wealthy and their Super Pacs. They are not much discussed in the corporate media, in which a handful of conglomerates determine what we see, hear and discuss...

We now have more income and wealth inequality than at any time in the last hundred years. In the year 2022, three multibillionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of American society – 160 million Americans. Today, 45% of all new income goes to the top 1%, and CEOs of large corporations make a record-breaking 350 times what their workers earn.

Meanwhile, as the very rich become much richer, working families continue to struggle. Unbelievably, despite huge increases in worker productivity, wages (accounting for real inflation) are lower today than they were almost 50 years ago. When I was a kid growing up, most families were able to be supported by one breadwinner. Now an overwhelming majority of households need two paychecks to survive.

Since 1975, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in America that has gone in exactly the wrong direction. Over the past 47 years, according to the Rand Corporation, $50tn in wealth has been redistributed from the bottom 90% of American society to the top 1%, primarily because a growing percentage of corporate profits has been flowing into the stock portfolios of the wealthy and the powerful.

During this terrible pandemic, when thousands of essential workers died doing their jobs, some 700 billionaires in America became nearly $2tn richer. Today, while the working class falls further behind, multibillionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are off taking joyrides on rocket ships to outer space, buying $500m super-yachts and living in mansions with 25 bathrooms...

We remain the only major country without paid family and medical leave.

In terms of higher education, we should remember that 50 years ago tuition was free or virtually free in major public universities throughout the country...

It’s not just income and wealth inequality that is plaguing our nation. It is the maldistribution of economic and political power...

Today we have more concentration of ownership than at any time in the modern history of this country. In sector after sector a handful of giant corporations control what is produced and how much we pay for it. Unbelievably, just three Wall Street firms (Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street) control assets of over $20tn and are the major stockholders in 96% of S&P 500 companies. In terms of media, some eight multinational media conglomerates control what we see, hear and read...

In terms of political power, the situation is the same. A small number of billionaires and CEOs, through their Super Pacs, dark money and campaign contributions, play a huge role in determining who gets elected and who gets defeated. There are now an increasing number of campaigns in which Super Pacs actually spend more money on campaigns than the candidates, who become the puppets to their big money puppeteers. In the 2022 Democratic primaries, billionaires spent tens of millions trying to defeat progressive candidates who were standing up for working families."
I copied almost the entire essay.  Written by a Bernie Sanders, a man who doesn't consider "socialism" to be a dirty word, and the man who could have been the Democratic candidate for President in 2016 instead of Hilary Clinton - and he might have beaten Donald Trump by appealing to the working people of this country.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting. Sometimes I think Senator Sanders is the only sane man in America.

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  2. Without pointing any fingers, I think it's fair to say that the situation is supported and encouraged by a vast number of Americans who suffer the worst consequences. You know who you are.

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    Replies
    1. I, too, would be interested to know who they are...

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    2. Who they are: Every poor, working poor and working class American who thinks a man like Donald Trump represents their interests better than a man like Bernie Sanders.

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  3. This transition happened by convincing the working class to abandon what’s-good-for-us in favor of what’s-in-it-for-me. The decline of labor unions, closing trade high schools, telling kids go to college or parents social standing tanks, and vote the party knowing nothing about the candidates.
    When the second parent entered the labor force to afford the extras to keep up with the Jones, the CEOs and their puppet politicians saw a chance to wring more profits. People complained but paid the increased costs, and soon it took two incomes just to make ends meet.
    It won’t change until lazy people get off their butts and actually participate in democracy. Even then it won’t be easy but it can be done.
    xoxoxoBruce

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  4. Let's not badmouth billionaires. It's actually quite easy to become one.... You just have to make $100,000 a day for the next 27 years or so. Of course, if you're already one, you can SPEND that much a day for the next 27 years or so.

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  5. I don't mind other people having more than I do; I mind other people having nothing.

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  6. "What's The Matter With Kansas" is the book that sort of explains all this.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What's_the_Matter_with_Kansas%3F_(book)

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    Replies
    1. And: "What's the Matter with What's the Matter with Kansas?"

      http://www.vanneman.umd.edu/socy789b/Bartels06.pdf

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    2. I'm far more convinced Democrats failed to hold the white working class than that Republicans succeeded in taking them. Race and gender obsessed identity politics. The crack cocaine of the left. Addictive and deadly. No greater gift was ever given to the ruling class.

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