Americans are brought up believing a fairy tale in which there is somehow democracy in their governance. But the late, great, Leonard Cohen exposed the system’s dirty little secret, “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded, everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.”
Even at the start of the nation, the first Chief Justice John Jay admitted the “democracy” hoax upon which the Supreme Court is built when he conceded, “The people who own the country ought to govern it.” Justices have ruled that way throughout the centuries following, with government serving a privileged ruling class.
The United States has the largest number of billionaires of any country, with 536. They live here because it is the best place to live for a greedy bastard. It was billionaire Leona Helmsley who let the cat out of the bag that “Only the little people pay taxes.”
Grand Prince Billy Gates has his “Foundation,” to ensure that he not even think about paying taxes. What inconvenience if he were to contribute anything for the massive government services he uses to increase his fortune.
It takes oceans of sweat and rivers of blood to make a billionaire. This is the dark secret of the pyramid scheme known as capitalism. Those “little people” who do the sweating and bleeding are not full partners in the sharing of the wealth they produce.
Many of us work from the time we are born to the time we die in order to satisfy the few who control nearly all of the capital.
Increasingly, everything we do benefits the super rich. If our child gets sick or injured, the wealthy may benefit from investments in health insurance, Big Pharma, and private hospitals. If we go to prison, they get paid for it, as many prisons are now privatized. If we die, they increasingly own the funeral parlors (although their corporations often retain the old family names).
The rich profit when we eat, clothe ourselves, enjoy shelter, pay taxes, watch a movie or work (taking the lion’s share of what we produce). They seem to know how far they can push us—that to charge us for breathing might encourage the erection of guillotines (but they have considered buying up all the drinking water).
Michael Parenti once pointed out that the top one-fourth of one percent own more than the entire bottom 99% in the USA.
An old friend once remarked to me “I can’t understand why they don’t have it all.” Well, of course they are not trying to take it all. The more lucid of them are aware they must leave a few crumbs to placate the riffraff.
The biggest scam within this biggest scam is that which euphemistically passes as “national defense.” It does not defend 99% of us, most of us would prefer not to have the wars or 800+ military bases located abroad. We are, however, required to pay for it all, since we are the “little people” so scorned by the likes of Mrs. Helmsley.
Stealth bombers, Minuteman missiles, and Trident submarines are not made for defense, they are made to profit wealthy investors. Most of the profit goes to the wealthiest investors. CEOs of the corporations that make them get 7-figure salaries at the taxpayer’s expense. These weapons are made to deliver nuclear warheads, and the current national push for war with Russia and China is to “justify” making similar profit machines. Americans are told nuclear weapons have something to do with “defense,” but when I asked retired Admiral Gene LaRocque if we had enough nuclear weapons for our defense he replied “You cannot defend someone with a nuclear weapon.”
LaRocque told me he entered the Navy in the 1930s and in those days sailors made much of their own equipment, including weapons. Since nobody profited, they didn’t make weapons they didn’t need. That system, of course, would be called “socialism” today and is no longer allowed. “Defense” is now for the purpose of enriching the rich as priority one.
And the troops are deployed around the world to protect the interests of the billionaires, including foreign billionaires who own stock in the corporations that finance our elections, and therefore have far more political sway in the USA than do average citizens. Our government works for transnational billionaires, not the American people.
The most important part of the scam of capitalism is absolute control of the mass media. No hole may be left unplugged. Every one of the corporate-paid journalists is kept on their knees, a tight liplock on the derrieres of the elite at all times, slobbering and smooching. Not one of the bastards so much as tugs at their leash for fear of a pink slip.
I cringe whenever I hear a corporate media talking head speak of “American democracy.” It is a propaganda term. Often, I am “corrected” by someone when I say this, told that, “No, we don’t have a democracy, we have a republic.”
But a republic is a form of government in which the population is represented, and the American people, aside from the very rich, are not represented, hence, we have a plutocracy.
It should be obvious to the public, who only need open their eyes. We must maintain the largest prison system on earth for American capitalism to function, even as we call it “The Land of the Free.” We are the only industrialized nation on earth where thousands die each year for a lack of medical care, because we don’t have a medical care system, but a system that rewards the rich when people get sick or injured.
Those who are both poor and mentally ill are often left to sleep in our streets, eating out of garbage cans similarly to a third-world existence in the richest nation on earth.
I have often called the system “plutocratic oligarchy,” because the plutocrats don’t usually run the government (President Trump, however, has pretty much set it up that way for his administration with a cabinet filled with fellow billionaires).
Normally, transnational corporations rent the Members of Congress and presidents by financing their election campaigns. These CEOs then, with allegiance to nothing beyond greed, decide who will run the country. But the CEOs in turn work for the wealthy, who own the lion’s share of the investments, so in a back-handed way the rich do always run things, however remotely.
Members of Congress, some of the most corrupt people on the planet, then line up with the corporate media talking heads and begin kissing butt for the money they will need to stay in office. Most of their time in office is spent begging for money, there is little time for much else. The servile bastards soon find out that the best way to do this is to sell out the American people, and those who best sell out the people get buried in campaign money.
Oxfam earlier this year pointed out eight billionaires own as much as the bottom half of humanity, that being 3.75 billion people. Because we have billionaires, we have millions starving to death unnecessarily. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, but a lot of it rots in warehouses while seeking a price that would please the billionaires.
The super rich want more money, at any cost, and obviously don’t care how many die from unsafe workplaces, unsafe products or a poisoned environment.
It was one of our wealthy slave-owning founders who described the elites who rule today. Thomas Jefferson said “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”
Jefferson always struck me as being the maverick among the ruling class who formed our plutocracy. He told a truth we don’t see in the mainstream press today, where all of this is covered up like the location of President Kennedy’s brain.
Jack Balkwill has been published from the little read Rectangle, magazine of the English Honor Society, to the (then) millions of readers USA Today and many progressive publications/web sites such as Z Magazine, In These Times, Counterpunch, This Can’t Be Happening, Intrepid Report, and Dissident Voice. He is author of “An Attack on the National Security State,” about peace activists in prison.