Everything … literally everything … in the United States is a business. Healthcare is a business. Prescription drugs are a business. Education is a business. These things are all venues of profit for the already-wealthy, carefully guarded by members of Congress who are beholden to those with the money. This, my friends, is capitalism run amok. Today’s Congress is afraid to take a single step forward for the people without consulting with the owners of the fossil fuel, pharmaceutical, technology industries and others. Environmental regulations? Not if they’re going to cut into the profits of corporate America! Affordable or universal healthcare? You’re kidding, right? Affordable insulin and other life-saving medications? Not a chance. Free college? Who do you think you are?
This is, in part, the result of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission (FEC) back in 2010 that gave carte blanche to corporations to spend obscene amounts of money to literally buy a politician’s vote on issues important to them. It is also, in part, due to the fact that so many of our legislators are themselves among the millionaires who have various interests that are better served by laws that favour the wealthy.
Plutocracy is a government controlled exclusively by the wealthy, either directly or indirectly. A plutocracy allows, either openly or by circumstance, only the wealthy to rule. This can then result in policies exclusively designed to assist the wealthy, which is reflected in its name—the Greek words “ploutos” and “kratos” translate to wealthy and power or ruling, respectively, in English.
Plutocracy doesn’t have to be a purposeful, overt format for government. Instead, it can be created through the allowance of access to certain programs and educational resources only to the wealthy, thereby making it so that the wealthy hold more sway. The concern of inadvertently creating a plutocracy is that the regulatory focus will be narrow and concentrated on the goals of the wealthy, creating even more income and asset-based inequality.
Plutocracy more often arises informally and is implicitly embodied in constitutional, legal, or regulatory measures that create barriers to participation in politics and political life that can be met only through the possession or expenditure of significant wealth.- https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/plutocracy.asp
Why do you think the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 has not been increased since 2009? Inflation has increased on average by 2.26% per year since 2009, for a total of 33.74% by 2022. The purchasing power of that $7.25 today is approximately $5.35, and still Congress refuses to pass legislation to raise it. Worse yet, the federal minimum wage for restaurant servers and other ‘tipped’ employees is $2.13, the assumption being that they will earn enough in tips to make up the $5.12 difference. Can you imagine covering your monthly bills on just $7.25 per hour, or less than $1,000 per month after taxes? Heck, that wouldn’t even pay our rent, let alone utilities, car payment, and food!
Guns … Nobody in their right mind actually thinks it’s a good thing that we have more guns than people in the U.S. But … the gun manufacturers and their lobby, the NRA, put lots of money into the pockets of our members of Congress to ensure that there will be few, if any, restrictions on gun ownership.
Healthcare … take a look at this map of the countries (in blue) that currently provide universal health care to ALL residents …
Why isn’t the United States one of the ones that cares about the health and well-being of its citizens? Because of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries who would stand to lose some bit of their profits. They donate to politicians in exchange for the politicians striking down any ideas of establishing a universal healthcare system.
And yet, while prices rise, people struggle to buy food, pay their rent & utilities, and often go without medical care, corporate profits are zooming!
The wealth disparity today is greater than ever before … I think you can see why. Far too many members of Congress have pledged to their corporate donors that they will protect them against such things as an increase in federal minimum wages, universal healthcare, strict gun regulations, and even environmental regulations. In 2018, the fossil fuel industry spent $84 million on congressional campaigns to help anti-environmentalists win seats. Their profits today matter more than the lives of our grandchildren tomorrow.
So, what do We the People do? Well, first and foremost we VOTE! Research the candidates, their own wealth and who their donors are, then vote those who are beholden to the fossil fuel, agriculture, insurance, gun manufacturers and other industries OUT of office! We have literally become a plutocracy, a government largely controlled by the wealthiest 1% of the nation. But we DO still have the right to vote, even though more and more states are trying their level best to restrict our votes, especially those of the poor and minorities. You’ve heard the term, “Use it or lose it”? That applies here … if we shrug our shoulders and say, “Meh, what’s one vote gonna do?”, then we may not get a chance next time around.
Yes, our government is now, by definition, a plutocracy, but we can turn that around … maybe. If we vote wisely in 2024, if we let our elected officials know loud and clear that we are sick of being trampled by the causes of the wealthy, then maybe we can make a difference. If we don’t try, we’ll never know if we could have changed the course of the future.