Monday, June 24, 2024

All Hail Your New Oligarchy Overlords

Accelerated in large part by the truly execrable Citizens United decision, America is quickly sliding into an oligarchy.  Sadly, this is no longer hyperbole: we’ve always known many politicians were nothing more than puppets for the rich, they simply don’t try to disguise this fact anymore.

Exhibit A, your honor, is the (Dis)Honorable Ed Garner (R-Useful Idiot).  There is no more an egregious example of how Garner is a bought-and-paid-for errand boy for the Stephens and Walton families (and employees) than Garner’s atrocious HB 1002.  After all, about the last thing cutting the capital gains tax is going to do is create jobs, Garner’s self-alleged motivation.

But let’s take a quick step back.  Here’s a visual aid of where economic equity stands today (courtesy of Mother Jones):

Obviously, if you’re Ed Garner, you think to yourself, “Hey, the Stephens and Waltons need tax cuts!”  The obvious point would be, if tax cuts for the rich were such an effective job creation device, then the 2000s should’ve been the apex of employment.  Of course, that’s not what happened, and the country plunged into a Wall Street greed driven recession.  As taxes on the rich get cut, and unemployment skyrockets, both of which have caused revenues to plummet, the answer has been austerity.

“Heroes” like Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor, step up to the plate and try to destroy unions for completely make-believe reasons.  Like Ed Garner, Scott Walker owes his success to the uber wealthy, in this case, the Koch Brothers.  Citizen United means the Kochs don’t even have to hide the hard or soft money donations, and, like the willing lapdog that he is, Walker immediately obeyed his masters and went after the unions.  Because — see above — the wealthy don’t quite have enough.

The problem is going to continue to get worse.  As states struggle to meet budgets, and the idea of austerity only applies to the middle and lower classes (austerity for thee but not for me), their (read: our) ability to influence elections away from the Kochs and Stephens becomes even more difficult as we are forced to live paycheck to paycheck and the rich are even more rich.

In other words, America is quickly turning into an oligarchy, one in which disinformation spewers (Ed Garner, Fox News, Koch Brothers, etc.) are able to influence news and elections at the expense of the non-wealthy.  If the Kochs can buy an election in Wisconsin, they sure as hell can in any state they desire.  With puppets such as Garner and Walker obediently following their Masters’ commands, further skewing the services (Planned Parenthood), needs (LIHEAP), education, and even the news itself, the other 90% of us pay the greatest cost.

This is class warfare, nothing less.  If something doesn’t change radically and quickly, America will no longer be a democracy: we’ll be an oligarchy, beholden to the wealthiest Americans solely for their selfish interests, not unlike the Gilded Age of not so yore.  The Ed Garners of the world want it that way.

Update: Think I’m kidding about this oligarchy thing?  Think it’s too much?  No, it’s not.

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