Sunday, February 03, 2008

Representing the same monied elite

The presidential candidates are slugging it out, and most Americans have begun to think about next November. But is this yearlong drama an exercise in democracy, or merely a cruel hoax being played on a clueless electorate.

There are several ways to measure whether our system of choosing leaders has anything to do with the will of the people. Let's take three issues that large majorities of our citizens are in favor of. One is universal healthcare, with support of over 68 percent of the electorate. A second is ending the Iraq war, with 65 percent in agreement. A third is the almost universal desire that corporations have less power in Washington, a Harris Poll response by 84 percent.

None of the front running candidates for president, however, give more than lip service to these issues. Could it be that the corporations have simply bought off the candidates, and with the help of the media used the two party system to actually frustrate the will of the people?

And the result of a crippled democracy? Since 1978, 70 percent of the rise in average family income went to the top 1 percent. In fact, those at the top, the CEO's and their cronies have gotten filthy rich while the vast majority have struggled getting their kids a college education or healthcare. What party created the tax breaks to make this all happen (cutting corporate, capital gains, dividend and estate taxes)? Why it was both parties, representing the same monied elite!

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