Is America A Plutocracy?

by James Glaser
July 16, 2002

Plutocracy -- Government by the wealthy; a ruling class of wealthy people

I would like to say no, but any sort of look at Washington will tell you different. Our current administration is pretty much made up of wealthy corporate executives, both friends of the President and his father. Almost the second coming of the first Bush Administration in some areas.

Wealthy, what is wealthy? Up here in Northern Minnesota, those that have their farm or home paid for are about close as we get to wealthy. There are a few local business men that we think are wealthy, but none of them have that extra ten thousand dollars that George Bush wanted, to get a picture taken with him as he toured Minnesota, one day this week.

Vice President Dick Cheney was reported to make 37 million dollars his last year before running for office. So up here he would be real wealthy. Most of those in the Senate have a few million. Paul Wellstone, our Senior Senator's best paying job ever is his job as a Senator, so he would not be wealthy.

Many of the people that work for our government in Washington, would, just with their government jobs, be wealthy with that pay up here. It does depend on where you live when we determine wealth. We have clean water, no crime, peace and quiet, and good soil with few pollutants. So I guess we are wealthy too. No amount of money could buy those things in a lot of places in America.

It is a stretch to believe that those in Washington can have any understanding of what life for those at the other end of the economy is like. Millions of Americans are just one pay check away from the "wolf." Something like 40 million Americans have no health insurance.

Think about this. If you work for a city, county, state, or the federal government you have a 99% chance of having really good family health coverage, but don't even think about universal health care. That is because those in government have no way of even understanding what it is like not to have coverage. Also there is some really big money involved and that big money is not about to let everyone in a a total group plan.

Even in America to have "haves" you must also have "have nots." If every one had money then the rich would not have the power that they have. Wealth has nothing to do with effort in America. In our system a person can work his butt off and just get by, others do little, but because of circumstances that maybe they had nothing to do with, they are very successful.

Your dad is President, Senator, Congressman, Judge, or maybe just a big shot, you get the breaks. In a real war you won't have to go. People can and do make their way from the lower levels to the top, all the time in America. That is what America is all about, but don't kid yourself for one minute that we are on a level playing field.

America is the same as any country now and in the past. Those with money run the show. That goes for Government and business. Those with money tend to look out for their kids and their friends kids first. That isn't wrong, but the way it is. Our President is a real prime example of this. Nothing against him, but if his father wasn't President, his dad's friends didn't pony up money, George would be a MBA in middle management.

America's system works, but wealthy run the show, however they don't have a "lock box" on that wealth. As long as some Americans can crawl their way to the top the system will stay in place. Yes we have that Plutocracy, when it comes to running America. Unlike other countries America still has that small door that some can enter to get to the top. Sure hope they don't lock it.

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