Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture
Jon Hellevig posted on January 16th at The Saker, “Capitalism in America: How a Dismal Decimal is Robbing Americans Blind” the most extensive and up-to-date compendium anywhere, of data on economic inequality in America, and one fact especially stands out from it: “Today Top 1% are losers compared with Top 0.1% – the Dismal Decimal – who are where the music plays. Top 0.1% now holds as much wealth as Bottom 90% combined.” These top 0.1% people also donate the lions’ share of the money that finances political ads and organizations for their candidates and against the candidates who are financed instead by the other Party’s billionaires. Any candidate who isn’t backed by the billionaires of any Party is a rarity and (except for the independent Bernie Sanders, who is truly an exception) has no realistic chance of winning or keeping a seat in Congress.
That drastic inequality of wealth in America — “Top 0.1% now holds as much wealth as Bottom 90% combined” — is calculated by Deutsche Bank, in their January 2018 study “US Income and Wealth Inequality”. Here’s more from that study:
On page 3 is shown that U.S. is comparable to Chile, Israel, Mexico, Portugal, and Turkey, as being at the top of the nations studied, in “inequality in household disposable income.”
On page 6: “A record high 30% of households have no wealth” in the United States.
On page 7: All-time high median net worth in constant dollars was 2007, at $119,000, declined to $67,000 in 2010, and rose to $78,000 by 2016.
On page 8: “US: Top 0.1% owns as many assets as the bottom 90%”
On page 10: U.S. has higher income-inequality than any other OECD nation.
On page 11: Income-inequality is rising faster in U.S. than any other OECD nation.
On page 15: Top 1% in pre-tax income in the U.S. in 2014 was $1.3 million+.
Top 0.1% was $6 million+.
So: if the top 0.1% in income in America are also the top 0.1% in wealth in America, then the individuals in America who draw $6 million+ annual income own as much as do all 90% who aren’t in the top 10%.
When a nation’s billionaires control not only its mega-corporations but its government, that small group — who do business with one-another — constitute a national dictatorship which is just as bad as in feudal times when a tiny aristocracy (who also did business with one-another) controlled the government and were a collective dictatorship over the entire nation’s population. A king isn’t required in order for there to be a dictatorship. Most dictatorships are aristocratic, not monarchical. Furthermore, in almost all monarchies, the king represents, and comes from, his class — the aristocracy. A collective dictatorship is no better, or worse, than is a one-person dictatorship.
There are, according to the latest count by Forbes (as of 2019), 607 billionaires in the U.S., and these people include, for example, Jack Dorsey who controls Twitter, and Eric Schmidt and John Doerr who mainly control Google, as well as Mark Zuckerberbg who controls Facebook. Of course, Bezos, Buffett, the Waltons, the Kochs, and hundreds of others, are also among these 607: but, still, it’s this group of people (plus perhaps a hundred of the mere centi-millionaires) who actually control mega-corporate America including its government — they also hire and control millions of employees and other agents such as law firms and lobbyists — and the other 330 million Americans do not possess such control, but instead only work for them, and sell to them, and buy from them, and view the world through their media. Most importantly, the other 330 million Americans receive their television and radio and newspaper and magazine ‘news’ from the country’s billionaires, and vote for the U.S. President and members of Congress on the basis of that news, which is virtually entirely filtered by appointees of these 607 people, not only as being controlling owners of the media but as being (controlling) the largest advertisers in all of the major media. The largest advertisers participate, with the media-owners, in controlling the media. It’s all the same group of fewer than a thousand individuals, who collectively control America.
Some of them — such as Trump, and Bloomberg, and Steyer — are also in politics or trying to be, because they want to be controlling America even more directly than they already do, so that their power will be even greater than it already is. Of course, Trump has already succeeded at this, and we can see from what he has been doing to America as its President, a fair representation of the billionaire class’s political intentions, though he is more blatant about it than, for example, Tom Steyer is, who was the biggest political donor in the 2016 campaign year, having given $91 million to help Hillary Clinton and other Democratic politicians. He was the top donor that year to defeat Bernie Sanders, and thus help Clinton win the Party’s Presidential nomination; so, that’s the type of Democrat which this billionaire actually is: a neoconservative and a neoliberal. No matter what Tom Steyer and another Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Michael Bloomberg, might say in order to win votes, that’s what they all actually are: neoconservative, and neoliberal. They support American imperialism, and they support America’s billionaires — they are the actual beneficiaries from American imperialism, and from an American economy that funnels more and more of the nation’s wealth into their control.
Here are some recent studies which document this dictatorship:
If America were a democracy, then there would be no “narrative control on social media,” because social media wouldn’t be allowed to censor whatever they want to censor. They wouldn’t have that power. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the Government from punishing anyone for any type of “speech,” but doesn’t say anything to limit America’s aristocrats from censoring out whatever they want to be censored-out — using their “social media” so as to reduce the ability of anyone to say or to link to what those super-rich don’t want the public to have access to. Censorship by the billionaires is accepted in America. And they do it (through their hired agents).
Consequently, Julian Assange is kept imprisoned (in one way or another) for around a decade and is now being drugged in a British maximum-security prison while awaiting extradition to the U.S. for final slaughter, and he has never been convicted of anything, but Americans — alone of all the world’s people in this regard — approve of this, and accept both a Democratic President Obama and a Republican President Trump perpetrating this illegal punishment of him for revealing truths about their dictatorship. Not only are Americans unique in being hostile toward Assange, but Americans are unique in being hostile to Wikileaks. (That’s the only international study which has yet been done on these matters.)
And, also consequently, the United States has a higher percentage of its people in prison than does any other nation — and virtually all of them are lower class, not the type of criminal who murders by giving an order or by signing a contract or by selling a dangerous or toxic product but by knifing or shooting someone. The crooks who do the most harm are the richest ones, and they don’t merely violate the laws, they (through their lobbyists etc.) also write the laws.
This working through agents, whom they pay, is how it comes to be that America is now scientifically proven to be one dollar one vote instead of one person one vote.
And that is how it comes to be the case that the billionaire Trump can push into law a $32 billion taxpayer-giveaway to the investors and top executives in America’s biggest banks, which then use the money to increase stockholder dividends and to cut their workforce.
And, as “Capitalism in America: How a Dismal Decimal is Robbing Americans Blind” documents, it’s no longer the top 1% but now is instead the top tenth of one percent who are raking money in from the poorer 99.90% of the U.S. population. You’ve now got to be pretty rich in today’s America in order to be robbing from virtually everyone else. “Top 0.1% now holds as much wealth as Bottom 90% combined.” The top 0.1% are now scamming even the rest of the top 1%. But, of course, in this nation where the top 0.01% have been writing the laws (via their lobbyists) for decades now, none of them is anywhere among the millions of Americans who are in prison. To be that rich is to have a stay-out-of-prison card, no matter how many people you’ve harmed or even killed by your dangerous or harmful products or services, such as trick mortgage contracts or toxic pharmaceuticals.
America has a higher percentage of its residents in prison than does any other nation on this planet. Furthermore: they’re almost all poor people, and generally speaking not only convicts but even ex-convicts are’t even allowed to vote in America — they are not allowed to vote in this country that’s controlled by fewer than a thousand individuals, almost all of whom are obscenely wealthy and/or are agents of individuals who are. So, since the richest thousand out of 330 million Americans basically write and enforce the laws which keep themselves out of prison, what chance will the very poorest Americans who are in prison get to rewrite the laws and enforcement that placed them there?
Realistically, now: Who can say that America hasn’t become a mega-corporate dictatorship?
America’s billionaires have effectively replaced the formal democratic republic that America’s Founders produced in their Constitution, replaced it by today’s actual dictatorial republic, which is an insult to that Constitution, and to the individuals who wrote it.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.