Understanding how the Plutocrats maintain control
Capitalists hate any sort of cost. It represents money that has somehow escaped their coffers. So when any behemoth corporation hands out thousands of pink slips on a Friday, Wall Street cheers and the market goes up. –from “Waltzing at the Doomsday Ball” by Joe Bageant who also said that “Capitalism is dead but we are still waltzing with the corpse.”
In order to understand how the upper 1% remain control, you must first recognize the class system in the USA. The following is a model of the USA class system that was created by William Thompson and Joseph Hickey in 2005. Because of our current economy, this chart is somewhat dated. For example, I would guesstimate that the upper middle class today is between 9 to 11% and not 15%. Subsequently, all classes below upper middle class have larger percentages ranging in increases from 1 to 5 percentage points. However, the model is still close enough to provide the big picture of how the plutocrats maintain control.
In the rarified air of the 1%. We have plutocrat billionaires like David and Charles Koch whose personal annual incomes are measured in the billions. News pundits like Lawrence O’Donnell, who are barely clinging to this top rung, earn $2 million + [Keith Olbermann was earning $7 million before he was sacked.] All of those who control and the “stars” such as Glenn Beck who deliver mainstream media belong to the upper 1%. And no, we do not have a “liberal” media. This is a myth that the upper 1% perpetuate. Of all the main stream media pundits (over 100 of them) who broadcast through the six major channels there are exactly three who could even be called liberal: Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell. If you throw in the two comedians: Jon Stewart and Colbert, we have a grand total of five liberals on mainstream media delivering that side of the political story to the American people. And they are tightly controlled by the network CEOs–most of whom are all hardcore right wingers who contribute thousands of dollars to the coffers of Republican candidates.
Examples of those in the upper middle class include physicians who today earn on average $180,000 a year and other degreed professionals. Like those in the upper 1%, most of the people in this strata have thousands of dollars invested in Wall Street. They, with the upper 1%, recovered in 2009 and today are making more money than ever while the rest of the USA continues to suffer horribly in the newspeak “jobless recovery.”
The trick is that most of the gofers for the 1% come from the upper middle class. They are more than happy to cheerlead for the rich and they do. In fact, some of those from the upper 1% get out and stump for the rich causes of dismantling our government as well. No finer example than Betsy DeVos and her devoted campaign to dismantle our public school system.
So these 15% work those from the lower middle class and working class, using various propaganda techniques, to convince them that it is their best interests to vote for “freedom” and “liberty.” Of course the “freedom and Liberty” being promoted is limited to rich, but that part of the story is not told.
You may wonder why they don’t bother with the lower class, the poor, the elderly? First of all, they don’t need them to win. That’s why people like Alan Simpson abuse people from this strata with impunity. These people don’t count to the rich. They literally don’t count. That is why the rich can advocate eliminating Social Security–they are not going to get the votes of these people anyway.
Any winning strategy for progressives must take all these factors into consideration along with the understanding that at the upper class and the upper/upper middle class levels, these people have more in common with each other than than do with the rest of us–Unfortunately the upper/upper middle class includes most of our elected officials in Washington and all of those who deliver the nightly “news”. It’s an uphill battle but we can win if we persevere because those of us who belong to to the same club outnumber the plutocrats at least 1000 to 1.