quarta-feira, 12 de novembro de 2014

Democracy For The Ruling Class

"the gravity-defying increase in the wealth of the tiny few has made it almost impossible to ignore how economic inequality spills over into political inequality.

The number of billionaires in the U.S. has risen from 13 in 1982 to over 400 today. To understand what this means, you first have to understand just how much a billion dollars is.

The typical family in the U.S. — forget most of the rest of the world — has about $75,000 in net worth. A billion dollars is 13,000 times more than that. If that typical all-American family were to line up its wealth in 75,000 individual dollar bills, lined end to end, it would extend 7.2 miles. Not bad, right? If ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed up and did the same thing, his $25 billion in wealth would stretch all the way to the moon...and back...five times.

Down on Earth, that kind of money can buy incredible political influence. Since a billionaire has at least 13,000 times more money than most of us, he can throw around $13,000 the way we would spend a dollar. A hundred bucks for us is $1.3 million for him, which can easily buy the support of both candidates in most congressional races. Or he could just spend the equivalent for us of $10 on $130,000-a-year salaries to buy talented people to promote his agenda via think tanks, lobbying firms and bogus grassroots organizations.

A billion dollars, in other words, bestows god-like powers to transform the political landscape, and the rise in the number of billionaires has created a new race of supermen--from Koch to Gates--who make a mockery out of quaint democratic notions like "one person, one vote."

Danny Katch

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