Thursday, February 24, 2011

Plutocracy Now!

Mother Jones has an easy to understand set of charts illustrating the widening gap between the rich and the rest of us, "It's the Inequality, Stupid."

The average income for the bottom 90% of Americans is a staggeringly low $31,244. People in the top 1% average $1,137,000. The truly rich are a fraction of that one-percent. The top one-hundredth of a percent average $27 million a year.

Wealth is where the real concentration of money happens: the richest 10% own two-thirds of all wealth in this country. The poorest half of the population own only 2% of all wealth.

Plutocracy means rule by the wealthy, and that is a much better descriptor of our country than "democracy," or rule by the people.

The prank phone call recently made to Governor Walker of Wisconsin by Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beast clearly illustrates the subservience a politician shows to a rich donor. Walker believed that the caller was David Koch, the billionaire Kansan businessman and major contributor to conservative causes, including the Tea Party and Walker's own gubernatorial campaign. Walker may not have said anything in the phone call that was different from what he says in public, as he defensively claims, but the truly telling aspect of the phone call was not what he said but how he said it. The man posting as Koch barely says anything, and Walker acts like a schoolboy reciting his lessons before the school master. It was clear from who was the boss in that call--it was the money man.

No mere citizen has that kind of power. Only a wealthy man or representative of a powerful organization has that kind of access and power. For the vast majority of us, our pitiful electoral vote once every two years pales in comparison to the power of the dollar-votes the Koch brothers, and those other one-percenters, wield every day of every year.

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