Despite what you may have heard in the last month or so, income stagnation for working and middle class Americans, and massive income gains for the richest of the rich over the last 30+ years, is the true legacy of Ronald Reagan’s time as President. It’s called plutocracy – government by the wealthy – a word everyone should get familiar with if they aren’t already.
In a recent article in Mother Jones Kevin Drum, Plutocracy Now: What Wisconsin Is Really About, tells us the two crucial things we must understand about American politics today.
The first is this: Income inequality has grown dramatically since the mid-’70s—far more in the US than in most advanced countries—and the gap is only partly related to college grads outperforming high-school grads. Rather, the bulk of our growing inequality has been a product of skyrocketing incomes among the richest 1 percent and—even more dramatically—among the top 0.1 percent. It has, in other words, been CEOs and Wall Street traders at the very tippy-top who are hoovering up vast sums of money from everyone, even those who by ordinary standards are pretty well off.
Second, American politicians don’t care much about voters with moderate incomes. Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels studied the voting behavior of US senators in the early ’90s and discovered that they respond far more to the desires of high-income groups than to anyone else. By itself, that’s not a surprise. He also found that Republicans don’t respond at all to the desires of voters with modest incomes. Maybe that’s not a surprise, either. But this should be: Bartels found that Democratic senators don’t respond to the desires of these voters, either. At all.
While Reagan may have started it both parties are now mostly controlled by the rich, and rich corporate interests. As shown in the post below unions, public employees, and their pensions have nothing to do with the budget crises we are facing in our states. This crisis was caused by the “gigantic criminal fraud scheme” run on us by Wall Street.
Everyone also must look at these stunning graphics on just how unequal, and un-Democratic, our country has become, It’s the Inequality, Stupid. And don’t think this same thing has not happened in Texas.
In Texas we are ruled by very wealthy plutocrats (Dewhurst, Straus, Perry, Ogden) and Texas became even more plutocratic after the last election. The way our state Senators and Representatives are paid the only people who can afford to hold office are those who are independently wealthy. It’s a very plutocratic governing system we have here in Texas.
We, working and middle class Americans and Texans are the only ones who can change this.