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Your Opinion: We are becoming an oligarchy

Your Opinion: We are becoming an oligarchy

November 14th, 2011 by Tony Smith, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

I read on conservative David Frum's blog that some libertarians at AEI now agree with liberal economist Paul Krugman that America is becoming ruled by oligarchs. The definition of an oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy.

On Nov. 3 in the New York Times Krugman wrote, "We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only."

Krugman notes that we like to think of ourselves as a middleclass country. But that is at odds with reality. The lower 80 percent of Americans receive less than half of America's total income. Some conservatives say, well so many people are not paying taxes that is an unfair situation for the wealthy. This is very much a circular argument. Allow people to work and earn more and they will pay more in taxes. Actually, it is mostly Social Darwinism. The rich supposedly deserve what they get and the rest of us are inadequate. That's what we hear from conservatives in letters here repeatedly. So, I assume that's what they hear from Rush and Fox.

As Frum notes the folks at AEI are not alarmed that a small group of individuals are capturing all the gains from American productivity. In fact, he says they feel it is inevitable. But won't this generate a backlash from citizens as they realize that the American dream is being stolen? Nah, is the answer. As wealth flows to the few at the top so does the power to keep it.

Although Frum really never discusses it, this is the situation that has led to the Occupy Wall Street protests. The protest is over a rigged system in which a few gain almost everything and the rest of us are fodder for their needs.

Our national news media are owned and run by the one percent (billionaires). They pay television anchors millions of dollars in salary even on cable. These people mostly mock the rest of us. But I read this means I am just envious of success. Actually, I just want what Theodore Roosevelt called a square deal. And yes, this means there is a real threat to you and I inside of America.