If the US survives for another century, it will be because enough of us rebelled against the capture of our government by the forces of plutocracy, because right now the plutocrats rule, and our democracy is in freefall. Increasing inequality, unequal opportunity, decline of education, punishment of the poor, 42M uninsured, increasing insecurity for the poor, anti-scientific irrationality, corruption by the ultra-rich…
Plutocracy is not democracy, and can never be democracy. Plutocracy is rule by the rich, first and foremost, and it’s exclusively designed to increase their own wealth, which itself has no practical purpose. But democracy must support the people, the demos, not just the rich. If it does not, it’s not democracy.
Right now the plutocrats rule,
and our democracy is in freefall.
The significant difference between American plutocracy and African kleptocracy is that plutocrats build their own legal system of theft, whereas African kleptocrats simply put the money in their own bank accounts, using violence as necessary. In both cases, the fortunes of everyone but the richest people in the country are on a permanent downward slope. Some would say the slope in African kleptocracies has reached the bottom, and it can’t get worse.
It is clear that the interests of rich capitalists in increasing their own wealth are the driving force in Congress, and in the industries it supports. Consider the case of prescription medicines, and the mega-corporations of Big Pharma that make it. Affordable medicines for every American is a primary requirement of modern democracy. This should be the driving concern, not profit. No one should ever have to choose between meds and food so that some CEO can have his annual multi-million dollar bonus.
Some few years ago, Congress ignored the needs of the people and crafted changes that benefited not the 315-million of us who needed these benefits, but instead gifted the rich executives of Big Pharma with many billions, which came from the pockets of the rest of us. This is a clear betrayal of democracy in favor of the rich.
The interests of rich capitalists
in increasing their own wealth
is the driving force in Congress.
Large health care providers, even the VA, were not allowed to bargain for better prices, but were forced to accept the prices dictated by Big Pharma. It became illegal to buy drugs overseas, where they are usually a fraction of the cost at home, a trend that has worsened considerably since. We were locked into a system of drug companies that have no conscience by a Congress without conscience, neither of which cared a whit that their new laws would cause life-or-death quandries for millions of Americans. Nor does Big Pharma care today, having over time boosted the price of drugs at home so they now average 400%-500% of the cost of the same drugs overseas (see a NYT report here).
But the availability of medicine to whoever needs it is a fundamental issue of democracy, not a free market issue. The solution to this and certain other abusive corporate practices that harm everyone is to nationalize the industries where such abuses routinely occur. Big Pharma, which relies heavily on our tax money, should not be allowed to exercise raw greed, as they do, because it creates, literally, death. At the very least, they should function on a short leash. Mega-business and Republicans would hear of no such thing, of course, and have crafted clever laws that prevent the rest of us from obtaining justice.
As the party of the rich, it is Republicans who bear the major responsibility for the drugs debacle, but Democrats are not at all free of blame. Most members of Congress are millionaires, and all of them must spend a lot of money to be re-elected, which traps them in the pockets of the very rich. The predictable result is abusive laws that funnel money away from us into the pockets of people who have so much money they can’t spend it all, and sequester much of it someplace in the Caribbean islands.
A whole range of unsavory
threatens our wellbeing
for years to come.
A whole range of unsavory trends, almost exclusively Republican-sponsored, threatens our wellbeing for years to come. These include the outright purchase of laws designed by and for the rich, often through the malevolent auspices of ALEC and their Koch puppet masters. Republicans have mastered the gerrymander in states where they control the legislature and governor’s seat, creating strangely shaped voting districts where Republicans always win, and continue to game election laws to disenfranchise Democrats.
They continue to spout the fiction that their anti-democratic voting laws and voter roll purges prevent voter fraud. Like so many other Republican beliefs, these are belied by the actual facts: voter fraud is virtually nonexistent. The clear purpose of their maneuvers is to prevent poor Democrats from voting. They were recently successful at preventing some 72,000 African-Americans from voting in just one state, and Texas even managed to disenfranchise a former House Speaker, who had voted every year since 1944. None of these measures is being undertaken in states with Democratic governors. Not to mention that the beans have been spilled a number of times by Republicans who were so happy that their work would prevent Democrats from voting that they couldn’t keep it under their hat.
The truth of the matter is that Republicans support the plutocrats, not the people. The truth of the matter is that we will have to rescue our nation from the plutocrats, or we won’t have a democracy at all.