The Economic Elite vs. the People of the USA: Part VI
An overwhelming majority of the population has come to the realization that our government doesn’t effectively represent us anymore. It is just a matter of time before people start taking it upon themselves to begin organizing on a mass scale. Our survival instinct will soon overwhelm our conditioned passivity and erupt into a powerful countervailing force. However, the longer we hesitate and delay action, the harder it will be to obtain economic and political justice.
We cannot continue to stand by and watch our nation be raped and pillaged like this. We can no longer remain idle and passive while our families’ futures are destroyed as we are sentenced to a slow death.
It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.
We will obviously have many differences on how our country should be run, but we can all come together to dismantle the Economic Elite by making several pivotal political reforms. As long as the game is rigged in favor of the Economic Elite, we will all lose. So let’s find common ground and focus on several obvious battles that we need to win, and can win:
The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which all other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.* Electronic Voting: First and foremost, no private corporation should be able to tell us who has won an election without providing an auditable paper trail. Many Democrats felt that Bush stole the 2000 and 2004 elections, and many Republicans felt Obama stole the 2008 election. Of course people are going to feel that elections are stolen when you have a private corporation secretly counting the votes; it is the inevitable result when you can’t verify the election results. In the past few years companies that count the votes have been consolidating, and one company, ES&S, now secretly controls the majority of all our votes. As voting watchdog Brad Friedman stated, “With the ES&S takeover of Diebold/Premier, their nearest competitor, the privately-run election Goliath now has an un-overseeable lock on virtually every election in the United States of America.” It is common sense to say that this is way too much power to be put into one private corporation.
– Thomas Paine, Dissertation on the First Principles of Government
* Campaign Finance: The stunning ruling by the Supreme Court to allow unlimited political spending by the Economic Elite has made a bad situation even worse. We must level the playing field by enacting laws to prevent the overwhelming influence of big money interests in controlling politicians who are forced to pander to them for the ever-increasing need to raise more and more money to have any shot at winning public office. Statistics show how much the Economic Elite already dominate this process: over 90% of the time the candidate who simply spends more money on their campaign wins the election.
* The Two-Party Oligarchy: We must end the two-party system by funding and voting for alternative parties. It is absurd and completely outdated to only have two dominant political parties in a technologically advanced nation of 309 million people. The two-party paradigm is obsolete and creates a system easily manipulated, as the past decade proves with the co-option of the Democratic and Republican parties. We can give our money and support to whomever we like – Libertarians, Tea Party, Progressives, Greens, Independents and the many soon-to-be-created political groups. However, it is pivotal that we immediately cease support for both the Republican and Democratic parties. We understand that there are representatives from both parties who are fighting for our interests, but they are very few and easily marginalized by paid-off party leaders.
* Getting on the Ballot: Republicans and Democrats have created rules to make it increasingly difficult for opposing political parties to even get on the voting ballot. We must make this process easier and invite new parties onto the ticket.
* Debate Commission: The Democratic and Republican control over who is allowed to participate in the nationally televised debates gives the two parties an insurmountable advantage over any other parties. If you are not even allowed to participate in them, you have no shot at winning. Along with this, all candidates should be given a fair share of television coverage.
* Voter Registration: If you are a citizen, you should be automatically registered to vote.
Governmental Policy Formation* Secrecy, Transparency and Accountability: Government secrecy is at the root of most of our current societal and economic problems. When decisions are made in secrecy, corruption will most often be the result. By throwing light and investigation on the government policy process, we can easily expose the Economic Elite’s agenda and limit their influence. As part of this, all legislation and conference reports must be posted online prior to Congressional debate and vote.
* Lobbying: Along with campaign finance, political lobbying is another way the Economic Elite can easily manipulate our political process financially, in what amounts to legalized bribery. In 2009, a record amount of money was spent lobbying Congress, and now with the new Supreme Court ruling, lobbyists will have even more power to manipulate the political process with what amounts to buying the laws of our nation. Lobbying activities behind closed doors must cease entirely and equal time must be given, transparently, to all the parties directly affected by the law being written.
* Shutting the Revolving Door: No politician should be allowed to profit from government laws or policies which they have written or supported. The practice of leaving a major company to become a politician who then creates and/or supports laws that directly benefit the corporation he or she used to work for, or, conversely, politicians who leave public office to take a high-paying job for a company they have benefited, is a grotesque abuse and manipulation of the democratic process. The revolving door between politics and big business is worse than it has ever been and has corrupted the government like never before.
Information Platforms* Media Concentration: Having a few large multinational corporations dominating the overwhelming majority of our news and information system will never lead to an informed citizenry. Only ten multinational corporations dominate our mainstream media system. These companies are run by 118 individuals who actively work to propagate Economic Elite rule. The people who run these media companies also sit on other corporate boards that often represent a major conflict of interest. Having only 118 people in ten companies dominating a system that creates public opinion for 309 million people is absurd. We must break up this information cartel and support a more diverse and vibrant independent press that fosters real investigative journalism.
* Net Neutrality: The free and open architecture of the Internet is vital to our success. Without an open Internet our most powerful medium for research and communication, and key organizing tool, will be lost. The Internet must be protected from growing forces that seek to control it by limiting our access to information and our ability to communicate on a mass scale.
Healthcare* Medical Costs: We have disagreements on how to best provide healthcare, but we all agree that whatever the method, the result needs to be lower costs. We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world and we now pay twice as much as other nations. Other than creating huge salaries for health industry-related executives, there isn’t any reason why we should be forced to pay such outrageous sums of money for second-rate care. No American should die due to lack of money, or have to face bankruptcy in order to get life-sustaining treatments.
* Food and Water Supply: Our food and water supply systems have become a major health hazard. The amount of harmful chemicals found in both our food and water have reached record levels and is causing alarming levels of sickness in a growing number of people.
Real Economic Competition* Most Americans Believe in Competition: If a person works hard, is productive and good at what they do, most everyone believes that they should make more than a person who sits around looking for handouts. However, just as in sports, to maintain a competitive environment you have to have rules in place that prevent people from having an unfair advantage. For those who believe in competition, in capitalism and free markets, you have to acknowledge that what we have now is not a free market based on fair competition. It is a rigged market, where larger institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have an unfair advantage. We cannot allow them to be beyond the law, manipulate the market and then receive taxpayer funds to increase profits and risk-taking while smaller companies, outside of Economic Elite circles, have to play by a much stricter set of rules.
You can’t have free market capitalism when you have government policies favoring companies that have more political clout than others. What we have is socialism for the rich and trickle down economics for the rest of us. We have a market systemically designed to funnel money into the pockets of the richest. If the past few years have proved anything, they have proved that our economy is much more like a pyramid scheme than a free market, where the more money you have, the more money you make. So whatever your economic beliefs and theories might be, let’s all come together to admit that our “free market” is an illusion. We need to make the economic playing field fair so we that can have real competition.
* Redistribution of Wealth: Due to the rigging of our economic and political system, vast sums of wealth have been hoarded by the Economic Elite over the past 40 years. This money must be redistributed to the 99% of Americans who have been robbed and exploited. There will be much heated debate over how this money should be distributed, but we all need to agree that we must first hold the Economic Elite accountable and our wealth must be seized from them.
* Investigations and Prosecutions: The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has the power to reveal the inner workings of the financial coup. We must apply intense public pressure and scrutiny to force the Commission into conducting a real investigation. Another urgent priority needs to be a much wider-ranging look at war profiteering. There has been some investigation, but not nearly enough and hardly any prosecution. These are just two of the many investigations that need to be launched. As long as we keep letting the Economic Elite get away with outright theft in broad daylight, we will never be able to restore a nation of law.
There are obviously other vital issues that need to be addressed, but these are the core common-ground issues that we must urgently rally around and support. Unless we organize and take decisive action on all these issues, we will all suffer the consequences of our collective inaction. Any politician who does not urgently move on these issues must be voted out of office and replaced by people who will aggressively fight on these fronts.
These are the core issues that keep the Economic Elite in power. As famed military strategist Carl von Clauswitz wrote in his study “On War,” it is pivotal to strike at this core structure, at “the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends.”
To those Americans who feel powerless to change things, I say that your feelings are only a result of your induced delusion. You have become so propagandized that you do not even understand the significant position that you are in. We are not peasants trapped in a Third World existence. We are still a mass of people who have the power to change the course of history. The Economic Elite realize this, which is why they are attacking us with an increased intensity.
Why We Must Take Mass Organized Action Now:
The Devastation Ahead
Market Watch recently ran an article entitled, “Death of American Capitalism: The 10 final scenes.” The article references Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s long-time investment partner, stating: “Munger is warning us ‘It’s Over’ for America. Yes, ‘o-v-e-r,’ America’s in decline, at the end-of-days, coming to ‘financial ruin,’ says Munger.”
As a result of the Economic Elite’s attack on us, the inequality of wealth between the economic top one percent and the remaining 99% of the population is the highest it has ever been in our nation’s history. The Robber Barons of the Gilded Age have now been overtaken as America’s most depraved and despotic class.
As this attack continues, social safety nets and important public functions that are already reaching a breaking point will collapse under the weight of prolonged decline. With the national deficit now at an all-time high, economists are expecting major cutbacks in vital government programs and tax increases “that aren’t even imaginable.” President Obama has recently put together a “Deficit Commission” and is prepared to make “painful choices.” Many state economies are already running high deficits and preparing for deep cuts in Medicaid and retirement pensions. Major cuts in Social Security payments are also a real possibility.
On top of the 160 banks that have already failed in the past year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has listed another 702 banks as being in danger of failing. These banks “collectively hold more than $400 billion in assets” and the FDIC is already operating at “a deficit of nearly $21 billion as of Dec. 31, or more than double the previous quarter.”
With 30 million Americans now unemployed and underemployed, over the next few months five million people will lose the unemployment benefits which they have been surviving off of. Unemployment benefits in 27 states have already gone into the red. In total 40 state programs are expected to go broke. Even the most optimistic economists believe high unemployment rates will continue for the foreseeable future.
Millions more will be added to the five million families who have already been kicked out of their homes, as the number of foreclosures is expected to reach 13 million within the next few years. Food and homeless shelters are already overwhelmed, and there will be millions more in need of these life-sustaining services. 50 million Americans are currently in need of food stamps for survival and approximately 20,000 new people are added to this total every day.
Despite all the healthcare reform talk, the bill still being discussed will do little to reduce costs and extend coverage to those who urgently need it, as insurance rates continue to rise. The number of Americans without health insurance continues to skyrocket to now well over 50 million, with 45,000 preventable US citizen deaths occurring per year. Due to economic hardship, the number of people suffering from psychological depression has hit an all-time high, as suicide rates keep rising.
With a prison population of 2.3 million people, we now have more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world. Our per capita rate of 700 people imprisoned per 100,000 citizens is higher than the darkest days of the Soviet Union. On top of this, the prison industry is expecting major growth over the next few years, as a “new prison opens every week somewhere in America” and Obama commits more tax dollars for the federal Bureau of Prisons.
All told, the death and destruction wrought by this economic crisis is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every single week! And the attacks continue unabated, with no significant measures taken to defend against them and hold those responsible accountable.
With almost 200 million Americans now living paycheck to paycheck, and over 50 million already living in poverty, people are quickly running out of options. The clock is ticking loudly for them, and time delayed is time closer to death.
At the same time, Americans are arming themselves at an alarming rate. The demand for guns and ammunition has hit a record high, and the gun industry cannot produce enough bullets to keep up with orders. In the past year, 100 new armed militia groups have been formed, as militia members have doubled in numbers. Federal authorities are gravely concerned about the “uptick in militia activities.” One federal authority recently said, “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”
The recent suicide-bomber who hit the IRS building in Texas will be the first of many violent acts if we don’t demonstrate that justice and the rule of law can be restored in a non-violent manner. Suicide-bombers have already reeked havoc in many countries across the globe. As the last act of revenge and desperation, people throughout the world have increasingly resorted to this method of violence and terror.
Fate has placed us in our nation’s most pivotal moment. If we do not take it upon ourselves to lead in decisive non-violent mass action, our country will soon be torn apart by violence and destruction.
In our nation’s history, the stakes have never been higher. It is vital that we recognize the urgent gravity of the situation. What happens over the next few years will determine the fate of our very way of life, of our families’ very existence. We have been attacked, and we are now at war. This is the unfortunate reality of our current crisis.
Our enemy is extraordinarily powerful. However, we are 99% of the US population, and they are only 1%. If we fight, we win!
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.
– Frederick Douglass
All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency is great and unendurable. And oppression and robbery are organized, I say; let us not have such a machine any longer. I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize.
– Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
We have no choice left…. A concealed yes drives us that is stronger than all our no’s. Our strength itself will no longer endure us in the old decaying soil. We venture away, we venture ourselves! We know of a new world.GET INVOLVED: We are going to begin outreach to organizations that are working on the core common ground issues mentioned in this report. If you plan to take action on any of these issues or would like to be involved in this effort, please sign up here.
– Friedrich Nietzsche