Our Fate: Living In A
By James Donahue
A Plutocracy means a government
or state in which the wealthy class rules. Thanks to the five right wing members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who have opened
the floodgates for corporations and wealthy individuals to pour billions into campaign financing, this may be how we will
soon be describing our form of government.
We have been in transition from the republic we thought we once had, through the democracy
we told ourselves we enjoyed, to plutocracy now for several years. The shift was slow and deliberate. It was performed right
before our eyes because most Americans were too absorbed in their electronic toys, drugs, football, sex and their quest to
earn a living to be paying attention.
A key element in the takeover of our government was the breakdown of our education system.
The Bush “No Child Left Behind” program that forced teachers to devote nearly all of their time preparing students
to pass federal tests left generations of young Americans unable to understand the workings of government, unable to read
maps and barely able to read and solve basic mathematical problems.
The second assault was made against the media. The old professionals
in the great days of newspaper journalism went out into the field, became observers of news events, interviewed everyone involved,
and when there was conflict, always dug for both sides of the story. The stories were designed like a pyramid, with the meat
of the information told in the first paragraphs and details added below this. This gave editors the freedom to cut stories
to fit each other on a news page without losing the heart of the report. Also, reporters perceived the media as a watchdog
of government. Residents of a city could not all fit in council rooms, nor did the people have the time to try. But if they
read the stories, and if reporters did their job, everybody had a clear understanding of every decision the council made that
might affect their lives.
So it has been for government reporters in state and federal levels. Their work kept elected officials in the
public eye. Attempts at corruption were usually exposed.
Long before I retired from my newspaper job there was concern about a new generation of reporters and
editors graduating from college. They were learning a new kind of journalism that moved away from watching government and
devoting more time to writing cute feature-type stories. Readers were turning away even then from wading through the long
and detailed stories in newspapers and choosing, instead, to get crisp, colorful news from their television screens.
And television news, even the concept of full-time news on CNN, never dug into the story like old-school newspaper reporters.
Consequently, people began losing interest, and losing track of what their elected representatives on councils, school boards,
and state and federal governments were up to.
In the meantime, organized crime was turning away from drugs, booze, prostitution and gambling, and getting into
banking and corporate positions. In 1913, while many members of Congress were home for the Christmas holidays, key members
gathered in Washington for a special session to pass the Federal Reserve Act.
This unconstitutional act put the U. S. monetary
system into the hands of a few international bankers. The act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, who saw this
as a way of stabilizing the monetary system.
Wilson and perhaps the Congressmen who created the Federal Reserve that fateful year had forgotten
the reason the Constitution put control of the money into the hands of the Congress in the first place. Thomas Jefferson,
one of the framers of the Constitution, warned that "if we turn our monetary system over to the bankers our children will
wake up as slaves to the country we fought to free."
With the banks under the control of the Federal Reserve, the rules for printing
money changed. Our dollar bills were once considered a representation of their value in gold stored in places like Fort Knox,
Kentucky. Instead of "legal tender" our bills were identified as Federal Reserve notes. That meant that they were loans, or
I.O.U.s and no longer backed up in value by gold reserves.
With this began the problem of inflation. Every time the nation needed more
money to fight a war or deal with a national problem, the reserve just printed more money. The dollar has been losing its
value ever since. And the wealthy people in the world have been acquiring more and more control of the money.
Workers in the US fought hard
against the industrial giants. Organized labor grew in power and created the Middle Class for a while, especially during the
war years. But corporate leaders created "right-to-work" laws that stripped unions of their power, and international trade
agreements that allowed them to move manufacturing plants overseas in search of non-union inexpensive labor.
Now with the Supreme Court's
right-wing support, the Republican Party, which is financed by the rich and powerful, is quickly taking control of our government.
If the people are cleverly lured by another pre-election advertising bombardment to give total control of Congress and the
Senate to the G.O.P this fall, we can expect Paul Ryan's budget plan, now considered a joke by most Americans, to get serious
consideration. It may even be passed.
If it happens, expect government assistance to the poor and elderly to be eliminated. Even
this small portion of the federal budget will fall into the pockets of the powerful rich.
America is on the verge of slipping back
into the dark ages.