Economic Inequality in America: Transfer of Wealth- Part 5
How Corporations Control the Government
The founding fathers intended for the system of government within the United States to resemble a democracy and a republic, where an active citizenry engages in intellectual social and political discussion, and debate about important issues, while the larger and more complex issues are decided by elected representatives that speak on behalf of the majority of the American population. In a free society- in a democracy, governed of the people, by the people, and for the people- power and control of the government rest in the people’s hands, in particular, in the poor and middle classes hands, which represent a majority of the voting population.
American citizens voice their opinions about the contentious issues affecting the country, while their elected political representatives vote in Congress and the Senate to align with their elector’s wishes. This form of direct democracy ensures that the people, not the government or a wealthy corporate class, decide the direction of the country in accordance with what a majority of the people choose, not with what a small minority of financial contributors with a vested interest in dictating public policy and owning public officials demands. In a republic, in a democracy, in American Democracy, the general population of people represents the sole reason and fundamental power at the heart of the nation.
But for the last 50 years, the United States government- bloated from too much power, control, money, ego, and quest for world dominance- has stolen American Democracy from the people and sold it to the highest corporate bidder. The poor and middle-class population continues to play an illusory shadow role in general elections, pretending that their votes count, but ultimately, corporations decide which politician wins before the election occurs; they decide which laws are passed; which industries Americans subsidize; and which corporate bailouts taxpayers fund.
In the current form of government, money always wins; and when a majority of the poor and middle-class voting population lacks the funds to engage in political debate to decide the outcome of elections, their ideas and beliefs take second priority to the corporations with the greatest share of the money. American Democracy and the Republic that the United States was found upon now resembles a distant and naive idea and a clever marketing ploy to rally the population every two years to vote for a politician already beholden to their financial contributors and not to their voters.
The type of government that runs for the benefit of corporations, by corporations, is known as a Corporatocracy: Where the economic and political system is controlled by corporate interests. This type of corporate domination and control over the political system arises from weak national political parties that lack conviction and concrete ideas; from politicians focus on identity politics to distract and divide the population from the real issues that affect every citizen, not just the ideological, social issues that the radical fringe parties subscribe to; the infiltration of the government by corporate lobbyists, who spend billions of dollars a year to write and rewrite the laws that impact the entire population. The federal government and the corporations that fund it, share a symbiotic, parasitic relationship; and as one grows in size and power, so does the other, like a cancerous growth that spreads across a tobacco infested body.
The primary effect of corporatism is the consolidation of power and wealth in politicians and in corporations, which leads to: A decrease in wealth and power in the average citizen; an increase in the size of both politicians and corporations power and control over the population; a decrease in middle-class entrepreneurs and small businesses; and lower likelihood of economic mobility, as politicians protection of major corporations makes it difficult for those with less financial resources to compete with larger corporations.
Economic inequality is not a result of free-market capitalism, but rather, of corporatism, which is the antitheses to a free market economy; characterized by semi-monopolistic organizations such as, financial institutions, big pharmaceutical companies, the military-industrial complex, fossil fuel industry, private prison industry, mainstream media corporations, telecommunications, and other major, multinational corporations that use private lobbyists to purchase influence in the government in order to write federal laws that favor business interests at the expense of public and planetary health.
Corporatism as the dominant political and economic ideology in society encourages corporations to join with one, or both, political parties to block and discourage the natural process of a free market economy in order to protect their own resources and assets from smaller competition, or from laws and regulations that may cut into the corporations bottom line.
Republicans and conservatives favor the free market and rail against government benefits for the poor and middle class, such as education, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, nutrition programs and other social expenditures that lift the lower class population up, sometimes out of poverty.
The individuals in the corporate class complain of government handouts, outcries of free-stuff, expanding the welfare state; yet upon closer examination, republicans in the corporate class are the greatest beneficiaries of hand-outs and free stuff, with their manipulation of politicians who change the laws that give corporations taxpayer-funded bailouts, like the $9 trillion bailout of the banking industry after they crashed the global economy; and with subsidies to dying industries, like the fossil fuel industry; and other instances of corporate socialism that, if directed towards the poor and middle class, would be considered radically left-wing and borderline communist.
Subsidies, handouts, and bailouts for corporations are treated as sound economic policy; but the same for the poor and middle-class is considered big government intervention and an invasion of a corporation’s rights to seek profit. There is nothing wrong with being or getting rich, however, accepting financial assistance from the government is viewed by many on the republican-conservative side as socialism, but only when that assistance goes towards the poor and middle-class. When the government intervenes to protect the profits of corporations, the pro-business side considers this action as an agreement, a pact, a bond between two mutually benefiting parties, the politicians that write the laws and receive campaign donations to influence decisions in the future, and the corporation that receives the benefits in the policy. Major corporations and the American government are like two rotating supermassive black holes that cannot escape from each other’s gravitational pull, and continue to suck up everything in their path, growing in size and in power.
Under the current system of government in the United States, money equals access equals power; if money is not surrounding an important issue that a majority of the population supports, then members of Congress will focus their attention on less popular public policy issues that a majority of corporate lobbyists, with the greatest amount of political bribes, donates to make their voices heard. It is the presence of these corporate lobbyists, spokespersons that speak on behalf of major corporations that infiltrate and infect the government and buy off politicians in order to prevent certain laws or regulations, intended to protect the public and the planet from reckless corporate actions, that causes the systemic corruption at the root of Americas social and political issues.
When publicly elected politicians speak on behalf of privately operated corporations, while ignoring the majority of American citizens, then public trust in federal institutions, and in politician’s fitness for governing, diminishes. While American taxpayers spend over $1.18 billion to fund the House of Representatives and $860 million to fund the Senate each year, corporate lobbyists spend over $2.6 billion every year to bribe politicians. When money is the motive, corporations win, politicians get rich, and the general population loses fundamental rights and, in return, receive a lower quality of life at the hands of a corrupt system governed by self-righteous, ignorant, and greedy politicians.
Money and bribery within the political system and in the hands of politicians stands as a ruthless concoction of greed and ignorance that blinds the eyes and corrupts the minds of elected officials with large enough egos, and enough greed, to infect their logical and rational behavior. Politicians are addicted to money but are unwilling to acknowledge their addiction because it is a part of their livelihood and their identity, and to accept the notion that their addiction to money corrupts their minds and beliefs, is to reject the very foundation of their purpose as a politician, which is to represent and protect the interests of their voters, of the people, of American citizens.
The political system itself is systemically corrupted by these elected officials that are put in charge of running the country but forced to spend a majority of their time soliciting donations from corporations with a vested interest in the outcomes of elections and the content of federal laws and regulations. The dependence of politicians on their voters, on the people, transforms into the dependence of politicians on corporations; and as the government’s protection and assistance to the people weakens with the corrupting influence of money, the government’s protection of the corporations that they rely on strengthens. One public voice softens, the corporate voice grows in strength.
For many human beings, especially flippant and ignorant politicians, as well as amoral, profit-driven corporations, self-preservation is a powerful biological mechanism that allows the most politically, economically, and socially ideological to abandon their views and turn towards that organization or government agency which they despise most for protection, i.e., when a politician goes against their voters demands to a support a law that their biggest financial contributors support in order to increase their campaign funds and prolong their time as a politician; or when an established corporation hires lobbyists to influence government policies that may interfere with or decrease their share of the market; also, when these corporations rely on the government and on corporate socialism by turning towards taxpayer-funded bailouts and subsidies to correct their market failures.
When the United States government invades and infringes upon the rights and wellbeing of the public in order to protect the profits of organizations that inject the most money into the political system, for the sole benefit of politicians, and to increase the size of government to prolong its existence and dominance over the population, then the general public loses faith in democratic principles; public integrity and virtue erodes; trust in the federal government and in the institutions at the foundation of the United States falters; and the population turns towards nationalism, tribalism, xenophobia, to racism, and also to hatred, fear, resentment, not always directed at the corporations and the politicians that cause the problems for the country, but rather, towards those nearest them on the social ladder.
For some poor republicans, this typically means hatred and anger directed towards minorities and immigrants; and for some poor democrats, this means anger and disbelief at what they view as ignorance in the poor, sometimes racist, white population. Both sides recognize the corruption and the failure of the government in protecting and guaranteeing their American rights, but instead of directing their anger at the corporations and the politicians that corrupt democracy, at the federal government, which appears too complex and systemically corrupt to fix, they blame their neighbor and hope to take from them what they have earned.
Before the massive transfer of the public’s wealth into corporate profits started in the early 1970s, major corporations played a small role dictating federal policies; but from that time forward corporations did not just play a small role in government, they became the government itself, with the increase in the number of lobbyists to bribe politicians and influence the laws of the legislative branch of government; by loading the Supreme Court with pro-corporate judges that stand against the public’s rights to favor the rights of big-business (i.e. Citizens United decision) to control the judicial branch of government; and now, with Trump elected as President- the epitome of the American corporate-business executive and pretend corporate dictator of his personal fantasy- corporations now control all three branches of government.
The question for the United States then becomes: What is in the best interest for the nation as a corporation? And are the interests of Corporation America the same as the interests of America as a country of unique and individual citizens? If money and profit represent the priority for Corporation America, then the rights and privileges of ordinary citizens may interfere with that goal. The leaders of Corporation America may be willing to ignore the lower class population if the people’s interests contradict corporate interests.
Other Forms of Big Corporate-Government Control Over the Population
- Plutocracy: A plutocracy is a society that is ruled or controlled by people of great wealth or income. The first known use of the term in English dates from 1631. Unlike systems such as democracy, capitalism, socialism or anarchism, plutocracy is not rooted in an established political philosophy.
- Oligarchy: Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate standing, religious or political, military control.
- Kleptocracy: Kleptocracy is a government with corrupt leaders that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political powers. Typically, this system involves the embezzlement (theft) of funds at the expense of the wider population.
Corporatism: Protecting Capitalism from the Capitalists
American corporations represent the greatest threat to American capitalism. The rise of corporatism stands as the antithesis of free-market capitalism, freedom of innovation, enterprise, and competition. It is characterized by old, established corporations acting as monopolies that combine with the power and influence of politicians and the federal government to actively discourage and block the natural flow and direction of a free economy, also known as Corporate Communism. This results in the consolidation of economic power and wealth in a corporate class that hoards profits in capital away from the regular consumer poor and middle-class economy; and also results in the crumbling of entrepreneurial growth, deterioration of small businesses, and a decrease in lower-class economic mobility.
Established corporations with the power, wealth, connections, influence, and control, fear and despise the free market and will do everything in their power to attack the capitalist ethic and the system that has allowed them to gain all of their wealth. Corporations corrupt the free market and infect politicians with bribes through their lobbyists and look towards government protection and assistance to secure their profits, and to block potential competition from threatening their market share. Rather than break the law, corporations use their financial and political influence to change the law itself for their own benefit, to the detriment of society, to entrepreneurs, small business and American Democracy at large, as the trust and foundation of the country is destroyed in order to instill a political and ideological system that that neglects what a majority of the population supports. Part 6