Friday, April 25, 2014

The Hungry Oligarchs

If you’re not scared of the hungry oligarchs yet, you haven’t been paying attention.

According to a study scheduled for release later this year, it’s the economic elites and well-connected business people who are running the country and us average voters don’t really count for much.

Worse yet, even when we organize into citizens and public interest groups, “we have much less influence than corporations or and business-oriented groups,” a Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University, one of the study’s authors. Page and his co-author, Marten Gilens, a politics professor at Princeton University are hinting that our democracy may have morphed into an oligarchy without us even noticing. 

If recent efforts to enact background checks for potential gun buyers is any example, things are only going to get worse.  "The Supreme Court's recent decisions, which have removed most legal limits on big financial contributions to politics, are likely to increase the political clout of wealthy individuals and leave average citizens with even less influence than they have now," said Page. "I find this very troubling. The Court's view that political donations constitute 'speech' protected by the First Amendment opens the door to money-driven politics and a distortion of democracy."

Which brings to mind an old saying, “money talks and bullsshit walks.”  In the case of our devolving democracy, however, money may talk and our votes may walk; straight into oblivion. 

Walter Lide

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