A surprisingly astute article from a dyed-in-the-wool member of the US establishment, Robert Reich:
Something very big has happened, and it’s not due to Bernie Sanders’ magnetism or Donald Trump’s likeability.
It’s a rebellion against the establishment.
The question is why the establishment has been so slow to see this. A year ago – which now seems like an eternity – it proclaimed Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush shoe-ins.
Both had all the advantages – deep bases of funders, well-established networks of political insiders, experienced political advisors, all the name recognition you could want.
But even now that Bush is out and Hillary is still leading but vulnerable, the establishment still doesn’t see what’s occurred. They explain everything by pointing to weaknesses: Bush, they now say, “never connected” and Hillary “has a trust problem.”
A respected political insider recently told me most Americans are largely content. “The economy is in good shape,” he said. “Most Americans are better off than they’ve been in years. The problem has been the major candidates themselves.”
I beg to differ.
Economic indicators may be up but they don’t reflect the economic insecurity most Americans still feel, nor the seeming arbitrariness and unfairness they experience.
Nor do the major indicators show the linkages Americans see between wealth and power, crony capitalism, declining real wages, soaring CEO pay, and a billionaire class that’s turning our democracy into an oligarchy.
Median family income lower now than it was sixteen years ago, adjusted for inflation.
Most economic gains, meanwhile, have gone to top.
These gains have translated into political power to rig the system with bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, special tax loopholes, trade deals, and increasing market power – all of which have further pushed down wages pulled up profits.
Those at the very top of the top have rigged the system even more thoroughly. Since 1995, the average income tax rate for the 400 top-earning Americans has plummeted from 30 percent to 17 percent.
Wealth, power, and crony capitalism fit together. So far in the 2016 election, the richest 400 Americans have accounted for over a third of all campaign contributions.
Americans know a takeover has occurred and they blame the establishment for it.
Damn straight it has. And damn straight they should. They’ve created a system that is every bit as centralized and bureaucratic as Soviet communism and they called it “capitalism” and “free trade”.
It isn’t. It’s financial rape and plunder.