Let’s talk about “grass roots politics”. From my understanding, it is when the populace as as individuals decides which way they want politics to go, and shell out cash money to support their preferred causes. Supposedly, Obama was elected on a massive groundswell of little old ladies and long-haired students donating time and money to getting the guy elected.
Of course, nobody can CONDEMN the fact that citizens actually got somebody elected, because in our national mythos, that’s how it is supposed to work. Democracy, right? But I’ve been wondering for a long time now, if Obama got elected by all these citizens, then WHY OH WHY isn’t he doing more for them legislatively? Why do we have the student loan interest rate approaching 9%, an outrageously exorbitant surcharge on a person getting an education? Why is he talking about “chained CPI”, which will certainly hurt those little old ladies who oftentimes survive on Social Security?
I found out why! There’s this guy, Lawrence Lessig, who is a Harvard professor. He’s considered “liberal”, if by “liberal” it means he is anti-corruption and anti-dark-money. (Of course, it’s “light money” now, since the Supremes argued about it and 5 out of 9 of them made the monumentally misguided decision that because huge amounts of money come from corporations, who are “people”, ya know, and as “people” , are entitled to “free speech via tons of money”, then “tons of money equals free speech”.)
Anyway Lessig did a little looking-into the whole edifice of political money. Guess what he found out? All but a small proportion of political campaign contributions are made by “the tiniest fraction of the one percent.”
Allow me to repeat that. All but a small proportion of political campaign contributions are made by “the tiniest fraction of the one percent.”
If you happen to be a member of the one percent, you pull down – on average – over a million dollars a month: $1,318,200, to be exact. Your household net worth – that is, your house and all your stuff – $16,439,400. That is SIXTEEN MILLION dollars and change. And your non-home wealth – your bank account, your investments, your Learjet and your fourth home in the Swiss Alps, for example – $15,171,600. Fifteen million bucks and then some.
So, one out of 100 people in America are living at these stratospheric heights, like Mitt Romney. I suppose they think it’s normal, and I bet they don’t ever consider themselves “fucking rich beyond all reasonable belief”. They probably think they are “not too bad off”, or maybe “comfortable”.
Meanwhile, down here with the hogs are a bunch of the rest of us. The bottom 4 out of 10 Americans have an annual income of just $17,300. Meanwhile, they are in massive debt – their household net worth is negative $10,000, and their assets are negative $14,800.
FOUR out of TEN? I kind of see where all this Romney “you people are takers” is coming from. Four out of ten Americans in poverty is an awful reality, and there is no way that even half of these people are there because of bad habits, violent proclivities, or poor decision-making. They were PUT THERE by the economic policies of the United States of America. And the economic policies of the United States are WRITTEN by the one percent. What do you think ALEC is there for? Rich people pen all the policies that will benefit their class, pay Congresspeople to introduce, endorse, and vote for them, and presto! A country where people think there’s democracy, but there actually isn’t! What a tricksy turn to bring about! Create poor people and then make everybody hate them too!
But of course it takes loads and loads of payola to do it. Payola that isn’t supporting families or helping small business-owners to innovate, but going into the pockets of extremely rich people to make them even richer, and able to buy even more Congresspeople, and write even more laws that will benefit specifically them.
America. So much promise and so corrupted. Sad, sad, sad.