Servants of the rich

By LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 7, 2012

Anyway, Congress and the next president will be cutting education funding to meet GOP and, now, Democratic Party me-too demands to reduce the deficit. States and cities also will cut education (as well as social services) because their revenues will decline as they continue in a bidding war to grant tax breaks or outright cash bribes to any corporation promising a job.

As a result, the US risks becoming like a banana republic, with a rich, educated elite and poor, uneducated masses, though with a higher cost of living than in the underdeveloped world. As in a banana republic, an outsized military will continue to eat up government revenues that could have helped civilians.

And now, with Citizens United freeing the corporations from any restraint in their monetized political "speech," the movement toward Absolute Plutocracy, with both Democratic and Republican politicians looking out for the rich, appears assured.

Sure, as commentator Robert Reich recently wrote, Republicans always outdo Democrats in serving the financial powers, but no recent administration "has done more for business and Wall Street than Obama's."

If the Democrats won't lead us out of the plutocratic wilderness, who will?

Third parties have little chance, Faux says, because, in part, of the structure of the American political system — this from a man whom this reviewer once heard plan the creation of a new national party with environmentalist Barry Commoner in a booth in a Greek restaurant in Augusta, Maine.

Commoner, who died a few weeks ago, became the 1980 Citizens Party presidential candidate. Faux, who lived in Maine at the time, co-chaired the committee that organized that short-lived party.

In 2012, a direr situation exists than in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected. After all, we've now endured 32 years of the free-market, trickle-down Age of Reagan. "All avenues of escape from a substantial decline in middle-class living standards are blocked," Faux writes.

"So, is it hopeless?" Faux himself asks.

The book's last four pages attempt to pick the reader up from the floor. Faux suggests a constitutional amendment to deprive corporations of Supreme-Court-ordained personhood and guarantee the public's ability to restrict campaign funding.

The outspent Democrats like this idea. In an interview on the website Reddit, Obama said, "We need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn't revisit it)." The president is an odd bedfellow for Faux, but Faux observes in his book that Democratic politicians turn populist come election-time.

It's brutally difficult to enact a constitutional amendment. Faux told me in an interview that such an initiative would be a good progressive mobilizing strategy even if it didn't succeed. Obama agrees: "Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change."

In any case, if change is to come, Faux said in the interview, it will probably be led by "the over-educated unemployed" (here are shades of the Arab Spring). With the celebrated American upward mobility now history, these folks "will see class for what it is."

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Related: Obama’s jobs plan is a step in the right direction, Review: Arbitrage, Rich and richer, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Jeff Faux, economy, book,  More more >
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