PROOF WE HAVE A FAKE DEMOCRACY
by John Spritzler
The URL of this article for sharing it is https://www.pdrboston.org/proof-we-have-a-fake-democracy
(and money, as we all know, is power, in our one-dollar-one-vote society. Read more about this began with the Founding Fathers here.)
Also very relevant: "U.S. Constitution: Help or Hindrance?"
Please read about Who Rules America, by an academic who has been writing about the ruling upper class for a long time.
The everyday experience of just living in the United States is, for most people, all the proof they need that we are living in a fake democracy. Click here to see a video of random people on the streets of Boston that confirms that most people already know we live in a fake democracy where the real power in society is held by the rich. But for those who want more proof, here are some additional pieces of evidence:
Item #1. This academic study reported in the journal Perspectives on Politics [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1537592714001595 ] published September 18, 2014, by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, (also described here and here and here) concludes with the following statements:
"Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism."
"When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it."
"Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organisations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened."
In other less academic wording, we have a fake democracy that is actually a dictatorship of the rich.
The first author, Martin Gilens, is professor of politics at Princeton University. The second author, Benjamin I. Page, is the Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making, Northwestern University.
Item #2. The White House counsel's office made it crystal clear to John Napier Tye, the section chief for Internet freedom in the State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from January 2011 to April 2014. In his column in the Washington Post, Tye writes:
In March I received a call from the White House counsel's office regarding a speech I had prepared for my boss at the State Department. The speech was about the impact that the disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance practices would have on U.S. Internet freedom policies. The draft stated that "if U.S. citizens disagree with congressional and executive branch determinations about the proper scope of signals intelligence activities, they have the opportunity to change the policy through our democratic process."
But the White House counsel's office told me that no, that wasn't true. I was instructed to amend the line, making a general reference to "our laws and policies," rather than our intelligence practices. I did.
Even after all the reforms President Obama has announced, some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, that there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them.
Item #3. Take a look at the video when you click here titled "Newscasters Agree: The Easter Bunny's Springless Steps ... and then ask yourself (after you stop laughing!), "Do we have a free press or a centrally controlled one?"
Item #4. In "Economic Inequality and Political Representation," an academic paper by Larry M. Bartels, Department of Politics and Woodrow Wilson School of Publicand International Affairs, Princeton University, the author presents research findings on the basis of which he concludes:
I examine the differential responsiveness of U.S. senators to the preferences of wealthy, middle-class, and poor constituents. My analysis includes broad summary measures of senators’ voting behavior as well as specific votes on the minimum wage, civil rights, government spending, and abortion. In almost every instance, senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes. Disparities in representation are especially pronounced for Republican senators, who were more than twice as responsive as Democratic senators to the ideological views of affluent constituents. These income-based disparities in representation appear to be unrelated to disparities in turnout and political knowledge and only weakly related to disparities in the extent of constituents’ contact with senators and their staffs.
Item #5. U.S. foreign policy is determined not by the aims and values of ordinary Americans but rather by people serving the interests of billionaires such as the Rockefellers, as detailed in this article.
Item #6. The political parties tell the public that they are trying to pass legislation that the public wants, but in reality these parties only pretend to pass such legislation, as revealed in great detail in Glenn Greenwald's article, "The Democratic Party’s deceitful game: They are willing to bravely support any progressive bill as long as there's no chance it can pass."
The same point is made by Dave Lindorff in his article, "Taking a Meaningless Progressive Stand in Congress: Congressional Democrats have an ‘inaction plan’."
Item #7. This video describes, based on the Princeton article in item #2, how the billionaire class controls the government. The solution it offers (a law limiting how the billionaires can spend money to influence the government), however, is not an adequate solution because it leaves the billionaires in possession of their billions of dollars and it leaves our society one in which money is power.
Item #9. At least $8.3 Trillion of public taxpayer-provided money is being used by people whom we (or even our elected representatives) do not know, for purposes that are a total secret, as one can read about here. Another $9 Trillion is unaccounted for in the Federal Reserve central bank system, as revealed in congressional testimony shown in the video here.
Item #10. The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government, by David Talbot, shows in great detail how the wealthiest people in the United States make the government do their bidding, regardless of what ordinary people want it to do.
Item #12. Video: Kevin Shipp, CIA Officer Exposes the Shadow Government
Item #13. The government won't tell us where $21 Trillion of our tax money is or how it was spent. Click here to read a Forbes Magazine article reporting on this.
Item #13. A Rand Corp. working paper (you can download the PDF file of it at https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WRA516-1.html ) determined that from 1975 to 2018 $47 Trillion was taken away from the bottom 90% of Americans and given to the top 10% of Americans. Here are the exact words of the paper:
"The three decades following the Second World War saw a period of economic growth that was shared across the income distribution, but inequality in taxable income has increased substantially over the last four decades. This work seeks to quantify the scale of income gap created by rising inequality compared to a counterfactual in which growth was shared more broadly. We introduce a time-period and income-level agnostic measure of inequality that relates income growth to economic growth. This new metric can be applied over long stretches of time, applied to subgroups of interest, and easily calculated. We document the cumulative effect of four decades of income growth below the growth of per capita gross national income and estimate that aggregate income for the population below the 90th percentile over this time period would have been $2.5 trillion (67 percent) higher in 2018 had income growth since 1975 remained as equitable as it was in the first two post-War decades. From 1975 to 2018, the difference between the aggregate taxable income for those below the 90th percentile and the equitable growth counterfactual totals $47 trillion."
A 2020 Time Magazine article about this Rand Corp. paper makes excellent points about how this enormous theft by the rich from the rest of us has adversely affected us. For example, it notes:
"At every income level up to the 90th percentile, wage earners are now being paid a fraction of what they would have had inequality held constant. For example, at the median individual income of $36,000, workers are being shortchanged by $21,000 a year—$28,000 when using the CPI—an amount equivalent to an additional $10.10 to $13.50 an hour.
"But according to Price and Edwards, this actually understates the impact of rising inequality on low- and middle-income workers, because much of the gains at the bottom of the distribution were largely “driven by an increase in hours not an increase in wages.”
"To adjust for this, along with changing patterns of workforce participation, the researchers repeat their analysis for full-year, full-time, prime-aged workers (age 25 to 54). These results are even more stark: “Unlike the growth patterns in the 1950s and 60s,” write Price and Edwards, “the majority of full-time workers did not share in the economic growth of the last forty years.”
Data Source: RAND; Graphics: Mary Traverse for Civic Ventures
"On average, extreme inequality is costing the median income full-time worker about $42,000 a year. Adjusted for inflation using the CPI, the numbers are even worse: half of all full-time workers (those at or below the median income of $50,000 a year) now earn less than half what they would have had incomes across the distribution continued to keep pace with economic growth. And that’s per worker, not per household.
"At both the 25th and 50th percentiles, households comprised of a married couple with one full-time worker earned thousands of dollars less in 2018 dollars than a comparable household in 1975—and $50,000 and $66,000 less respectively than if inequality had held constant—a predicament compounded by the rising costs of maintaining a dignified middle-class life. According to Oren Cass, executive director of the conservative think tank American Compass, the median male worker needed 30 weeks of income in 1985 to pay for housing, healthcare, transportation, and education for his family. By 2018, that “Cost of Thriving Index” had increased to 53 weeks (more weeks than in an actual year).
"But the counterfactual reveals an even starker picture: In 2018, the combined income of married households with two full-time workers was barely more than what the income of a single-earner household would have earned had inequality held constant. Two-income families are now working twice the hours to maintain a shrinking share of the pie, while struggling to pay housing, healthcare, education, childcare, and transportations costs that have grown at two to three times the rate of inflation."
Some people ask, "When did we lose our democracy?" The truth is, we never had it. Read about the Founding Fathers here.