Democracy’s Fatal Flaw

Money = power. That’s it. That’s democracy’s fatal flaw. The corollary is, No money = no power, and that’s the more significant and disturbing observation. Money is grossly over-represented in government; the poor and powerless are not represented at all.

This is not what is supposed to happen in a democracy. Every person is supposed to have an equal chance, and equal representation in government. What actually happens is that those with the most money control the political process. When they do, they find ways to institute laws and regulations that channel money from the poor and middle class to themselves. This is anti-democratic. It is the path toward totalitarianism.

It is the path we are on now, aided and abetted by the Republican party.

Money = power. That’s democracy’s fatal flaw.

Conservative Republicans promise that, once the mega-rich have enough money, they will make everyone else affluent too. All of their national budget proposals are built around reducing taxes on the mega-rich and giving them more money. This is stupendously wrong, a conceit that is apparently shared by everyone on Wall Street and every rich person who wants more money.

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed national budget, approved by the House and supported by the presumed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, would do nothing to redress this gross imbalance. Ryan promises to balance the budget and come up with millions of jobs out of thin air. So does Romney. There is nothing to support these suppositions. Neither of them can even explain where all this money is supposed to come from. The money could only come from the poor and middle class. In fact, Romney wants to raise taxes on the bottom 20%. The jobs he promises are a fantasy. This self-serving fable of the rich has never worked, and recent decades of declining fortunes for everyone but the rich underlines that fact.

No money = no power.

In the short run it will continue to be a battle between liberals who seek democratic balance, and conservatives who seek infinitely increasing power and wealth for the rich at everyone else’s cost.

In the long run, a completely new system of economic organization is necessary if democracy’s fatal flaw is not to destroy it entirely, if we are to have any shred of democracy left. Fortunately, the bare bones of such a system are beginning to appear. It will be a long time before the full-fledged system becomes visible.


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