I believe democracy continues to erode in the U.S. under the influence of hugely moneyed corporate interests. It is useful to keep in mind that corporate America never really gave up what I believe is its post-Great Depression campaign against New Deal policies, or its anti-regulation, anti-union, anti-social welfare (and since the ‘80s, anti-environmental) message. Through the 1970s — the Great Depression still in mind — some balance of power existed between labor and capital. That is, in 1929 the top 1 percent of U.S. households held close to 50 percent of the nation’s wealth; by the mid-1970s their share was down to 20 percent and the U.S. enjoyed a robust middle class. Now the top 1 percent own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the rich keep getting richer.
Today, I believe corporate America preaches the gospel of neo-liberalism through such conservative think tanks as the Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, the Cato Institute, and the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC. The campaign to enrich the rich and hollow out the middle class has been gratifyingly successful and continues on with help from the Supreme Court’s decisions gutting campaign finance laws.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.