The Problem is huge: our Democratic Republic is effectively a Plutocratic Republic where ultimate authority and power is derived from Plutocrats, and the government itself is run by a Congressional Majority that was evaluated, chosen, nominated, promoted, and financially rewarded by Plutocrats for the Citizens to elect.
Plutocracy employs a light touch on most issues that are not central to its benefits and power. However, if a Member of Congress opposes their policy, Plutocracy selects a more compliant candidate and attempts to ensure that the opposing official fails at the next election. It becomes more entrenched and more intractable each year that Citizens fail their obligations of right and duty as demanded by the Declaration of Independence.
Neither the President nor the Supreme Court have the power to solve the Problem, and Congress is too beholden to plutocracy to solve it. Our checks and balances were not designed to address this Problem. Though the States theoretically have the power by repeated Amendments, it typically takes decades for just one Amendment that benefits the People – an order of magnitude slower than the few years in which Plutocracy can and does increase the Problem. Moreover, in the States, plutocratic power is increasing, making timely action important.
Plutocratic mischief can take only a few years. Nationwide Initiatives are commensurate in speed, a critical factor in repeatedly constraining Plutocracy and in defining the Solution’s form. Without Initiatives, Plutocracy’s speed, agility, and perseverance overcome the Peoples’ ponderous options.
In return for reelection with its personal self-esteem plus Plutocrats’ quid pro quo compensation exchange (often, in part or in whole, bribery), Congress has gradually and willingly ceded control of our Great Nation to Plutocrats. Congress has the authority to pass whatever authorizing laws it wants and repeal whatever legislation gets in its way—over time it has evaded whatever checks and balances the President and the Supreme Court may try to impose. Today, no one can stop Congress—it makes all the nation’s laws, sets all its own rules, and makes legal whatever it wishes.
Wealth itself is not the issue since it is central to our economic development and the motivation for capitalist achievement; it must be nurtured. The issue is the abuse of Plutocratic wealth for unlimited influence over our electoral system that creates a Plutocratic Republic. This wealth is often international, domiciled in foreign tax havens, typically representing 35-40 percent of total liquid net worth. Over a generation or two, this wealth (new money) leads to the privilege of an Aristocrat (old money), Plutocracy becomes Aristocracy, and we are virtually back to where we were before we fought the Revolutionary War!
The Framers anticipated some of this Problem, but did not anticipate that the growth and centralization of power in Congress could not be controlled. They believed that because the States created the Federal government, it followed that the Constitution “… enables…the State governments to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other.” (Madison, 1788), and that “We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” (Hamilton, 1788). Instead, the States have done very little to limit Congress—in fact, the States have not even once enforced their Article V Constitutional power to do so.
Plutocratic control extends throughout the media to consolidate and enhance their power. In 1983, 90 percent of US media was controlled by fifty companies; today, 90 percent is controlled by just five companies. A 2012 Gallup poll found that Americans’ distrust in media has increased significantly. Our Plutocratic Media corporations demand their First Amendment rights, but ignore they were granted those rights in order that the People should know the facts. Rather, this Media give us fear mongering propaganda of violent “if it bleeds, it leads” news, which subconsciously creates anxiety and fear so that the people can be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
A list of specific problem issues would be long and boring; but here are four examples:
- Waste, Inefficiency, and Debt – These pour the product of People’s lives down the drain. Thousands of the top positions in our government departments are now held by political appointees. Congress creates trillions of dollars in government overspending. Every penny of every dollar our government wastes will have to be accounted for eventually. In 2016, the national debt equates to $158,280 per working taxpayer. Our Government adds to the debt daily; we just pay the interest. Ultimately, it is our children who are being robbed and will pay the bill.
- Excessive Lobbying – For each member of Congress there is about $6 million of lobbying (over and above “campaign” contributions) and 22 registered lobbyists (OpenSecrets). If lobbying did not have a good return on investment, corporations would not do it. Moreover, many departing congresspersons and their staffers became revolving door lobbyists (OpenSecrets). Clearly, Congress nurtures Plutocracy far ahead of the People’s interests.
- Denying the People their Right to Choose Representation – This basic constitutional right has been obliterated by our current system. The huge costs of running a campaign combined with the megalithic influences of today’s media outlets have allowed Plutocratic money and special interest groups to high-jack our Congress. Moreover, both parties use widespread Gerrymandering to trash a large proportion of our votes to protect their re-election.
- Acting Against the People’s Interest – Would you trust a large pharmaceutical company to diagnose your medical condition? Would you trust a privatized, for-profit prison system to determine your innocence or guilt? Would you let armaments manufacturers decide if we go to war? Would you let global-warming polluters tell you that it will not affect you? Would you trust the manufacturer of pesticides to tell you if their products are safe for your children? Lobbying not only permits it, but encourages it.
Members of Congress are the People’s employees. If the employer makes it easy for their employees to accept bribes, who is at fault? Their employer! “If you put your politicians up for sale, as the US does … then someone will buy them – and it won’t be you; you can’t afford them.” (Juan Cole) It is the People’s responsibility, their right and duty, to wield their power and control their government. It’s up to you and me and all Citizens. If we fail to accept this responsibility, then there is no one to blame but ourselves – “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
The good news is you DO have a Solution and a way to implement it constitutionally, though it will take effort.