Thursday, February 20, 2014

You might live in a plutocracy if...(part 2 of 10)

You might live in a plutocracy if...

...your Congress permits the selling of addictive poison (cigarettes) that leads to the death of 480,000 Americans every year, but refuses to a create a WPA-style jobs program for the millions of Americans who can't find work--thereby satisfying the desires of the wealthy few, but not the needs of the many.

See, for example:

1. "Where there's smoke there's money: tobacco industry campaign contributions and U.S. Congressional voting" See how pro-tobacco votes are in line with campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.

2.  "Democracy and the Policy Preferences of the Wealthy" See Table 5 on page 57, showing research that indicates 53% of non-wealthy Americans agree with the proposition that "The federal government should provide jobs for everyone able and willing to work who cannot find a job in private employment," but only 8% of wealthy Americans agree.

3. "21st Century WPA Act" This bill died in committee because almost no one fought or showed support for it, not Democrats, not President Obama, and certainly not Republicans or Tea Partiers. Thus, the policy preference of the wealthy few ("no" to a public jobs program) crushed the policy preference of the non-wealthy majority ("yes" to a public jobs program, see #2 above). That's plutocracy.  

4. "GOP Senators Block Veterans Jobs Bill" Reporting how Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have created a public works program for unemployed veterans, and thus highlighting how not even the men & women who served us in uniform--and in many cases received serious injuries--can escape the wrath of plutocracy.

Above: Unfortunately, money has always played a dominant role in American government. But New Deal policymakers tried to address the malignancy of plutocracy by steering the country in a more democratic direction. For example, President Franklin Roosevelt said: "We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." And when New Deal policymakers saw millions of unemployed youth, they created the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, unfortunately, we are back to full-blown plutocracy, allowing austerity, white collar crime, and extreme income & wealth inequality to devastate the lives of millions of Americans. WPA poster image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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