Report: America is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy
Professors from both Princeton University and Northwestern University have co-authored a study asserting that the so-called “class war” is over – and the working class lost, big-time.
The paper, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens,” penned by Professor Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern, is set for publication in the fall edition of the journal Perspectives on Politics. The academics assert that over the last three decades, and particularly during the Great Recession, the middle class has shrunk significantly, while corporation and economic elites have recovered very well -and are continuing to thrive.
Further, when it comes to influence wielded by the average voter on American policy: virtually zero, the professors point out. Sometimes, the government acts in ways that are consistent with the view held by the majority, but only when the very well-connected or wealthy support those views.
Our Miami consumer rights attorneys know that while politicians might never concede this shift, or at least not anytime soon, this study is not the only place such an assertion is being made.
Recently, veteran journalist Bill Moyers went on record criticizing both political parties for the “protection racket” that has been formed to shield the ultra-rich from paying their share of taxes and wield undue influence over major political decisions.
Moyers cited the fact that the one percent of the wealthiest Americans pay a much smaller percentage of taxes than the average blue collar workers. You can thank lax tax laws that were designed by legislators – whose campaigns and other interests are supplemented and supported by these groups.
The fact that corporate interests have trumped those of the masses goes a long way toward explaining why banks and mortgage servicers have endured very little in the way of meaningful sanctions following the housing market implosion that left so many average and low-income Americans in deep trouble. It’s the reason why those firms have been able to successfully paint a picture that the glut of foreclosures is the fault of individual Americans who were greedy and bought more house than they could afford, when in reality, banking policies encouraged these actions – often without buyers being fully aware.
In the most recent research, the professors and numerous research assistants culled data from a large, diverse group of policy cases: Some 1,800 instances between 1981 and 2002, in which national surveys asked the public whether they favored or opposed certain proposed policy changes.
What they found was that while U.S. policy making doesn’t always indicate that the average American loses out, as preferences of ordinary citizens do sometimes line up with those of economic elite, these are coincidental victories. Overall, the populace got what it wanted only about 30 percent of the time. Even in cases where there were large, pro-change majorities – with 80 percent or more favoring a change – the change was only implemented 43 percent of the time.
This may on the surface seem to be simply a reflection of the fact that Congress doesn’t work well. But the fact is, it depends on who is pressing Congress for action. When it came to the desires of the economic elites, corporate sponsors and special interest groups, desired changes were implemented well over 60 percent of the time.
It’s important to keep these figures in mind as you go to fight a bank or mortgage servicer in your foreclosure case. These cases can absolutely be won on matters of law, but it’s critical to have someone on your side who knows the law – and your rights – well enough to effectively do battle.
If you’re battling foreclosure or debt issues in Miami, contact Jacobs Legal for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 305-358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.