The economic elites, or as FDR put it, economic royalists, are now looking out their Wall Street windows at Americans gathering in their neighborhood. Americans who are not only waking up to the fact they were ripped off, but are assembling and drawing attention to it. Attention from the ever so reluctant corporate media, which we all know would rather cover a dozen Tea Cultists than thousands who speak for the majority. The elites are probably getting a little nervous. Nothing worries a thief like having his victim near his lair.
I still hold little hope for reform, with only a bit of lip service from politicians. Corporatism’s choked hold on our democracy is nearly complete. I hope I’m wrong.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are also giving Americans a glimpse of what democracy looks like. Unlike the corporate manufactured Tea Cult, this group is representing the vast majority of Americans who have been swindled by Wall Street and their political puppets.
It’s a good lesson for our youth. Once upon a time the majority of Americans wanted to end a pointless bloody war of aggression in Vietnam. They marched and made their wishes visible to the powers waging that war.
Now the voices of democracy protest a class war waged on 99% of Americans.
One of my favorite signs carried there reads, “It’s only “class warfare” when we fight back!” And its way past time the people fought back.
Since Reagan. Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II shifted our government rightward over the past thirty years, we’ve see the results of the “trickle down economy” they lied about. The rich have been getting very richer. Turns out it was all a “trickle up” scam.
Gradually at first, and then suddenly in September of ’08, the working class and manufacturing base of America suffered their greatest loss since the Great Republican Depression. That was also triggered by the crash of a de-regulated market back in 1929.
The lessons of de-regulation needed to be learned all over again. The problem this time is we have non-stop corporate media giving Republicans face time to insist regulation, government and taxes are to blame for everything. The Wall Street Banksters are rewarding them for that service by contributing more to their election campaigns.
We now live under the greatest income inequality any alleged democracy has seen. The top one percent takes in about a quarter of the nation’s income, and they control even a larger share of the total wealth. This gives them more political clout than a democracy can survive.
And thanks to the vast Right Wing echo chamber of FOX(R) and extremist talk radio, they have loyal legions of indoctrinated members from the very class they’ve been screwing. Their cultists are rabidly defending the elites from the “tyranny” of paying a dime more in taxes, as if they can’t afford it. Talk about a great con. The duped minions are demanding they themselves pay more of their share to cover the debt and bills, all while receiving fewer public services. Astounding.
The elites all but own the politicians as well. Few speak out against Wall Street. Why? Thanks to the corporatist Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Big Money has a lock on our elections and government. As former Senator Durban said, “They own the place”.
If someone still wonders what the protests on Wall Street are about, Former Florida Representative Alan Grayson put it eloquently.
Grayson and PJ O'Rourke were on Bill Maher last Friday. The Occupy Wall Street movement came up and the following exchange took place between O'Rourke and Grayson.
Grayson: Let me tell what they're talking about. They're complaining about the fact the Wall Street wrecked the economy three years ago and nobody's held responsible for that. Not a single person has been indicted or convicted for destroying twenty percent of our national net worth accumulated over two centuries. They're upset about the fact that they have iron control over economic policies of this country and that one party is a wholly owned subsidiary of wall street and the other party caters to them as well, that's the truth of the matter as you said before. And…
O'Rourke: Get the man a bongo drum, they've found their spokesman!
Grayson: If I…
O'Rourke: Get your shoes off, get a bongo drum, forget where to go to the bathroom and it's yours.
Grayson: If I am the spokesman for all the people who think we should not have twenty four million people in this country who can't find a full time job. Who should not have fifty million people who can't see a doctor when they're sick. That we shouldn't have forty seven million people of this country who need government help to feed themselves. We shouldn't have fifteen million families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of home, OK, I'll be that spokesman.
For more on the cancer of wealth concentration in hands of the few, see “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% at Vanity Fair.
It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall.
We might still have a choice between democracy or corporatocracy. But we better make it soon. We know democracy’s adversaries are unrelenting, and they are winning.
Electing more Alan Graysons and fewer Bachmanns and Ryans would be a good start.