2014 study by researchers at Princeton and Northwestern concludes that government policies reflect the desires of the wealthy and that the vast majority of American citizens have “minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy … when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose.” When Fed chair Janet Yellen was questioned about the study at a congressional hearing in May 2014, she responded “There’s no question that we’ve had a trend toward growing inequality” and that this trend “can shape [and] determine the ability of different groups to participate equally in a democracy and have grave effects on social stability over time.”*
This campaign issue and my ideas center around one premise: taking this power back from the elite and returning it to the people.
The fact is that the US economy is twice as large as it was four decades ago, but the median wage has barely risen adjusted for inflation. Almost all of the gains have gone to the top. In fact, corporate profits before taxes have reached their highest share of the total US economy since 1942. From 2001 to 2014, quarterly corporate after-tax profits more than doubled from $529 billion to $1.6 trillion. Meanwhile, labor’s share of the economy has dropped representing a shift from labor to capital of about $750 billion a year. This inequality of wealth also reflects an inequality in income as CEO pay in large corporations relative to pay of average workers has gone from 20-1 in 1965 to 123-1 in 1995 to around 300-1 today.
Unchecked Corporate Power, Why the Crimes of Multinational Corporations are Routinized Away and What We Can do About it. – Gregg Barak.
Martin Gilens & Benjamin I. Page (2014).
“Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” (PDF). Perspectives on Politics. 12 (3): 564–581. doi:10.1017/S1537592714001595.
Oligarchy, not democracy: Americans have ‘near-zero’ input on policy – report. RT, April 15, 2014
John Nichols (7 May 2014)