Plutocracy and Wealth in the United States

A Display of Patriotism

Flying the American Flag
Flying the American Flag | Source

Washington, D.C.

A view of the Washington Monument from Arlington National Cemetery
A view of the Washington Monument from Arlington National Cemetery | Source

WHAT IS A PLUTOCRACY

As many may already know, a plutocracy is when the wealthy control and run the government. All one need do is look at the overwhelming percentage of millionaires who now occupy offices in the Senate and House of Representatives. There would obviously be many more millionaires reported if these same elected officials had to include the value of their homes. I’m reminded of the saying, “your chances are one in a million,” because these people are part of the 1% of Americans who are in the exclusive Millionaires Club. So this leads me to the question of whether or not there is a concerted effort of class warfare going on between the wealthy versus the rest of the population.

ARE THE POOR AND MIDDLE CLASSES EQUALLY REPRESENTED

How can the middle and poor classes have equal representation when their spokesperson isn’t walking in the shoes of their constituents? For instance, I have no idea what it would be like to live on food stamps, unemployment or welfare. While I may have empathy for these folks, I certainly don’t have a full comprehension or grasp of their living environment. The same holds true if my congressperson or senator is a millionaire. How can they relate to my economic situation? Furthermore, my $10.00, $15.00 or $25.00 political contributions don’t stand a chance when going head to head with super Pac money, corporations as people money or the financial influence lobbyists representing the special interests of the wealthy can wield. In other words, 99% of the citizens are left with mere scraps scattered to us like scavengers, just ravenous for some nourishment. Class warfare you may ask? There sure is class warfare going on. It is the 1% fighting against 99% in an ongoing attack to keep their treasures and the spoils of the gains they have made on the backs of the rest of the tax paying public.

A DOLLAR STORE PURCHASE VERSUS TAXES NOT PAID BY GENERAL ELECTRIC

A stellar example of plutocracy is what General Electric did in 2010. GE hired one (1) lobbyist for every three (3) members of Congress and the net result was a $3.2 billion tax refund. Of course, those who echo the talking points of the right will claim that tax breaks are necessary in order for a business to grow and hire new employees. Well, let’s see…if I went into our local “Dollar Store” and purchased just one (1) item, my sales slip would show I paid $1.08, taxes included. So, in essence, I spent more at the “Dollar Store” than Citigroup, ExxonMobil, Bank of America, Boeing, News Corporation, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and Verizon paid in federal income taxes, to name just a few. Does this sound like class warfare to you, because it sure does to me? Companies are raking in record profits on the blood, sweat and tears of the working class and still I wonder…where are the jobs? Why would millionaires (except those with a conscious and the ones who know the difference between right and wrong) vote for paying the same tax rate as a secretary? After all, their servants are in the same income bracket and they hold the offices of power within Washington. Surely these good wealthy lackeys of the Koch brothers will not bite the hand that feeds them.

THE KOCH BROTHERS ARE THE EPITOME OF A PLUTOCRACY AT WORK

Speaking of the Koch brothers and plutocracy here is another little tidbit I will throw your way. Even though the right wing loves to vilify higher education and teachers, an interesting footnote to it all is how much those good old Koch brothers have donated to universities. They have notoriously contributed millions upon millions of dollars to universities with a couple of stipulations. First of all the patriotic Koch boys get to have a say in what conservative speakers will be hired by the universities and secondly and most importantly, these honest Americans have a voice in the selection of professors and the approval of publications used on college campuses. We are on a slippery slope with David and Charles Koch and the filthy money they throw around like the sewage that spews from their polluted plants. These two (2) billionaire brothers have done cataclysmic damage in undermining our political scenery. The greedy accept obscene amounts of payoff dollars foisted upon them and are all too eager to have a piece of the financial pie the Koch’s serve after the smorgasbord of extremist, backward thinking ideology has been laid out on the buffet table of bought and sold politicians. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that is a meal I find nauseating and one which needs to be regurgitated into the laps of wrong thinking zealots.

WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY

Much to the chagrin of many, we do not live in a democracy; rather we live in a plutocracy. Our founding fathers and authors of the Constitution were, in fact, aristocrats of their time and the aristocracy of the lawmakers and the ruling class has continued. The scales of political fairness and equality are tipped in astronomical proportion favoring the dominance of the rich. The majority of citizens have been disenfranchised in fair elections and the representation process. Influence peddling and obnoxious amounts of money thrown at Washington have turned our whole political system into nothing more than buying and selling goods and services in an open market. The patriotism of plutocrats has the rest of us becoming a commodity and that harsh reality hurts.

VOTE OUT PLUTOCRACY AND VOTE IN DEMOCRACY

For the love of money, I have no idea why there is a segment of the populace that buys into the credo bought and paid for by the affluent fat cats. Seriously…talk about being sold a bill of goods. I’m reminded of the Latin phrase, “caveat emptor.” Let the buyer beware is a commerce principle and our politicians have eagerly purchased the philosophy of a few, lock, stock, and barrel. Subsequently, the majority have been offered no warranties on the manifestos which have been procured. Now is the time for the masses to stand up, be counted, vote and exclaim at the top of our lungs, “We’re not going to take it anymore!”

WRITTEN BY: DENNIS L. PAGE

Patriotism on Display

Patriotic wheel barrel planters I built
Patriotic wheel barrel planters I built | Source

Air Force One Crew Member Hat

Purchased in Alexandria, Virginia and yet it was made in China!
Purchased in Alexandria, Virginia and yet it was made in China! | Source

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Comments 27 comments

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 4 years ago from Midwest

I couldn't agree more with you and your example of paying more taxes on one item at the dollar store is brilliant and illustrates the issue well in such a simple way. Corporations do not deserve bailouts and tax loopholes. They need to pay just as the rest of us have to.

The whole "citizens united" ruling makes my stomach turn as well. Any semblance of "freedom" we have went away with the passage of that monstrosity. Unfortunately, I don't think enough people care to push back hard enough at this point, which saddens me.


mrshadyside1 profile image

mrshadyside1 4 years ago from Georgia

Very good hub!I agree with you totally.The ironic twist to this is that the 1% feel entitled and genetically superior to the rest of the population,but the failure of our economic system comes from their"superior"control.The grossly juvenile way that they have broken the American economy and landed this country in debt to it's adversaries is the measure of their ability to lead and govern.When faced with their own failure the first response is to scramble to compensate for the undisciplined greed by waging war.They have just enough intelligence to determine that in our history war was always followed by economic growth so we have war.This is a very dangerous situation we find ourselves in today as the American public has become disgusted with the direction our society has taken.These men are nothing if not hungry for power and are blinded by self grandeur delusions of righteousness.We see the fear growing within these cowardly elitists' agendas by the build up of laws and regulations that attempt to subdue the American public.Our government is far more afraid of the 99% than they are of any foreign terror group,this is why they spend more time and effort spying on us than they do on our enemies.The dept.of Homeland Security has built a huge military style army with a ridiculous number of light and heavily armored vehicles as well as a large drone force and a tactical swat style army.The IRS has started removing citizens rights if they owe any back taxes by revoking passports and making it illegal to buy firearms by persons who have had their passports revoked.Also the IRS now has it's own swat style armed forces.Where is the logic behind this if they do not intend to use this new found power?They are attempting to re-write the Constitution to fit within their tiny minds.The sad thing about all of this is that many people that see themselves as affluent and wealthy and a part of this group,are just pawns or sheep to this 1% and will be treated as such in time.

Again I have to say great writing.This Hub is packed with truth and charged with emotion.This is just what we all should be saying out loud as a united society.


Davesworld profile image

Davesworld 4 years ago from Cottage Grove, MN 55016

Interesting, isn't it, that the ultr wealthy tend to be liberal Democrats. I wrote about that a while back and it appears to be true. Think Warren Buffett, George Soros, both worth more than the Koch brothers and both outspoken liberals.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Wunderful hub.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ ChristinS - Thank you for stopping by and leaving your fantastic comment. I agree with you that the tax loopholes and corporate bailouts need to cease immediately. Although, I do think it was a wise decision to bailout the auto industry because of all of the jobs that were saved and now that industry is on the rebound and paying back their debt.

One thing I find oddly amusing and sad at the same time is how people scream they do not want justices legislating from the bench. However, when the most active Supreme Court in modern history decides corporations are people, these same folks herald their decision.

This country is in serious trouble and it is the ultra wealthy, corporations, Wall Street and the oil and gas companies that have put us there. We need to stand united against those who are tearing us down.

Thank you again for dropping by.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I don't know what happened, my comment was cut short. I must have clicked post? What I wanted to add, the difference between the ( Liberals ) and the Kotch brothers, people like Buffett and soros have a heart and want to share and rebuild from the unholy war, started by Busch. I have no doubt we will see millions vote for the first time. Women and the young see where the country is going and they donot want to RIDE THAT TRAIN.


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

You've gotten this important issue exactly right as far as I'm concerned. I'm surprised that more of the population isn't outraged at what has happened. I wish that there was more attention being paid to campaign finance reform, overthrowing citizens united, and getting rid of lobbyists altogether. Great and inspirational hub, voted up, useful and interesting.


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

Dennis..You and i think so much alike it's scary! If WE get it - why don't the rest of the 99% that are slowly being ground down to nothing? How does anyone have faith in the 'democratic process' - including our election process? We're so worried about the rest of the world having 'fair' elections - when our own are rigged and fixed from the get-go! These pac's and superpacs are INSANE, as are any 'lifetime' appointments, as both simply breed corruption and greed. Greed is the key word - a'greed'? I watched a show the other night on Hitler's reign of terror from the moment he stepped into power in 1933...watched as he slowly but surely closed loopholes, created new laws to suit his needs, and narrowed perameters. My recent experience at the border truly made homeland 'security' look like homeland 'terrorism'. They spend 15 man hours and 10 men to rake me over the coals - including yelling at me, badgering me with 2 or more questioning me at the same time - and fist pounding on tables. They were simply mean, rude, and omg powerful!! Who ya gonna call?? Sigh..maybe ghostbusters could help? Add in the TSA assaulting us while they smuggle drugs and get their jollies feeling us up, and the gov't wanting to be able to listen to ANY phone conversation with no actual cause? We are in HUGE trouble, D! I don't know what to do - if there is anything left for us - the 99% - to do! Our job is to obey the rules and pay the taxes - and shut the fuck up!! BTW - really nice wheelbarrows..


Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

So we're back to the age of Emperors and Kings - the thing our ancestors ran away from when they came to the New World...


Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

I think the real issue with any of the systems mankind has designed to date - be it capitalism, communism, monarchies, feudalism, etc (funnily enough, socialism is the exception), is that in all of these systems, ego games are played.

The ego game is when some want to be better than others. They want to rule the roost, have the admiration of their peers, impress everybody around them with their superiority, etc. These kind of people will do anything and everything to attain that goal, and while it is being played, invariably, the masses are put in an 'inferior' position.

Today, the excesses of capitalism (what Robert Reich calls super-capitalism) has, once more, returned us to a 'game of thrones.'

Until people design a system whereby it is impossible for some to reach a place where they can look down their snotty noses at other people, human beings will continue to live in political cycles that will, invariably, reach a point where some live at the expense of others.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Voted up and tweeted. I recently looked at interest rates posted at my local bank, a small savings and loan I've been with forever, due to the humanity factor. (They've merged with another bank) The interest on new passbook savings accounts is ZERO. Back in the day, not long ago as well as in the late 19th century, interest rates on passbooks was 2 - 3%. There was a small way for people to earn a tidbit on their paltry savings. Now it's zilch. Seems like just another way to screw the little guy. It's a dangerous slope. The concentration of too much in the hands of too few usually leads to trouble.


picklesandrufus profile image

picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

SO agree with this hub. Don't know how we will ever change it without campaign finance reform. As it stands now, only the rich even stand a chance to win elections. If more and more people see how dangerous our political system has become, maybe we all will just say NO!


Sooner28 4 years ago

The Supremely Stupid Court opened the way for the plutocracy to become worse. It's amazing what the conservative position has morphed into.

Chris Hedges has a great article about the future of the human species. http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8808-when-civili... Self-destruction could be inherent in our make up, since we are too dense to ever change.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@mrshadeyside - Thank you for your detailed response to my hub. I think too many Americans have been sent down the river on barges, while we watch the 1% go up the river in their yachts. The only class warfare being waged is that of the extremely wealthy against the other 99%.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@Davesworld - I appreciate you taking the time to read and reply to my article. While I understand your comment about Buffet and Soros, I think we also can't overlook the billionaires on the right who are pushing their own conservative/GOP agendas. 1. Richard DeVos, founder of Amway and past president of the Council for National Policy. 2. Sheldon Adelson a Las Vegas tycoon. 3. Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay. 4. Donald Trump 5. Rupert Murdoch. 6. Koch brothers 7. T. Boone Pickens. 8. The Walton family that has over $90 billion to split between them.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ always exploring - It was so nice for you to drop in and leave a reply. You are so right regarding the moral compass of Buffet and Soros versus the narrow mindedness of the Koch brothers. The November election is definitely going to be a nail biter. I only hope that women and minorities turn out in droves to vote.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@mperrottet - I appreciate you reading and commenting on my hub. I too wonder why people don't pay more attention to what is going on in the political arena and how they are being duped into believing nonsense mantras, half truths and just plain old lies.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Hello Ms. L. Thank you for your detailed reply. As you can tell, I'm playing catch up on my responses to the comments that have been made. What you went through at the border is a clear example of bureaucratic over zealousness gone awry. The right claim to want smaller government and still we are inundated with TSA staff tripping over one another at the airports and searching little kids and grandmothers. Fear is a powerful tool to use when pushing a skewed agenda.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Sophia A. - Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a detailed reply to my hub. You have pretty much written a synopsis for me with great key words of ego, super-capitalism, superiority, emperors and kings. I too enjoy the wisdom of Robert Reich. I honestly don't understand why there are factions that cannot accept a "live and let live" way of life without trying to massage and manipulate a system of governance.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Dolores Monet - Thank you for the vote and the tweet...it is much appreciated. I gave up on traditional banking years ago and now only use our credit union. The little people don't have much of a fighting chance anymore. The only thing we can do is vote, speak up, write letters and have our voices heard.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ picklesandrufus - I'm so glad you dropped in and left a comment. What I don't understand is how the right always claim they do not want judges legislating from the bench and yet our Republican controlled Supreme Court has done exactly that by legislating corporations as people. We are really in a messed up time and the money machines keep churning out dollars to promote a narrow minded agenda.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Sooner28 - Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. The Supreme Court really did tip the scale of justice when it comes to fair and equal elections. I certainly hope we don't self destruct, but the way things have been going makes me wonder. What the wealthy fail to realize is although there are many of them, there still isn't enough to support our economy with the purchase of cars, homes, furniture, goods and services. If there isn't money in the hands of the middle class to purchase items, eventually we will be in epic fail mode.


Ginger Ruffles 4 years ago

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."

It seems to me that we've brought a lot of problems on ourselves with voter apathy. We could start by not voting people into office that are going to continue to subzidize the rich so blatantly. Who has been voting consistently to keep these subsidies in place? Republican's. Vote them all out that you can in 2012 people.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you for dropping in and leaving a comment. It does seem as though the playing field is askew just a tad. Now we have the Governor of Florida trying to disenfranchise 180,000 voters. Wow, talk about rigging the elections. Personally, I refer to the GOP as the Greed Over People party.


Ginger Ruffles 4 years ago

Good acronym! Doesn't surprise me about Florida. Rick Scott is a Koch whore and they seem to come up with the most outrageous stuff. We need to get them & ALEC members out of office.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

I like your acronym for the GOP--"Greed Over People"-- and will probably "borrow" it in future.

What so many people do not understand is that telling a large percentage of voters, particularly in the solid Republican states, that they're figuratively shooting themselves in the foot economically is wasted breath because ALL they pay attention to are those two social issues that dominate their thoughts: abortion rights and gay rights.

All other facts and discussion are totally ignored, even though these people claim to believe Romney when he promises to "fix" the economy. If they do believe him, it's only because he and Ryan constantly tell their base they will do away with those two social issues, and that's the only promise the faithful cling to. Then they get on Facebook among their similarly-thinking "friends" and "LIKE" Romney/Ryan because they're white, slick-talking and appeal to the Religious Right's intolerance for those two social issues that dominate from the GOP.

I no longer have any belief in the "unbiased justice" of the U.S. Supreme Court since the partisan legislation that now allows corporation to function (and donate) as "individuals." That is the most stupid piece of legislation to ever come down the pike, and its only purpose was to allow members Congress to continue being bought by special interests!

I love this country but despair for it as money seems to be the ruling force.

Great hub. Voted Up++++

Jaye


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ JayeWisdom - Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article. So many people want to impose their will onto the masses. What ever happened to separation of church and state? Just yesterday someone shot through the window of an Obama campaign office in Colorado, even though there were workers inside. Ignorance breeds hatred and when that happens it is easy to control them with catch phrases and innuendos.

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