Our democracy is in grave danger. In fact, it may already be fatally wounded as a financial oligopoly increasingly dominates American politics and the economy. What’s most remarkable about this new form of oligarchy is that it has no face. There are no flesh and blood oligarchs, only unnamed investors. The big financial sharks can swim among our 401ks. They can flex their awesome power without getting fingered. They can set the entire direction of government activity without lobbying at all.
Here are 10 reasons to worry.
1. Money and Politics
Our democracy is supposedly rooted in the idea of one person, one vote. But the introduction of big money into politics distorts, and perhaps, destroys that ideal. Unlike most advanced democracies, we have failed to eliminate the destructive impacts of money on politics. The cost of our campaigns are rapidly rising. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision further accelerated this trend so that now there are virtually no limits on how much billionaires can spend on their preferred candidates.
Bankers too are getting into the act. One recent super PAC, “Friends of Traditional Banking” is seeking races where it can “target the industry’s enemies and support its friends in Congress.”
Of course the obvious result is that all candidates, regardless of party, spend most of their time begging for money, not legislating. You can’t get elected without kissing the oligarchs’ rings.