Inequality in America, the Fish that Rots from the Head

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

Inequality of wealth is inequality of power. A study just released finds that “America’s 20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet — now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households.” How much political power do the people who would be inside that jet — and their friends — actually have?

The first-ever thorough scientific and academic study of whether the U.S. is a democracy was published in 2014, and it finds, as an overwhelming statistically established fact now, that the U.S. definitely is not a democracy. This landmark study, by Gilens and Page, finds that, “When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” Conservatives tried to deny the very meaning of this study by saying such things as that “America is a republic, not a democracy,” but they were just trying to distract from the findings, which are: the U.S. is a dictatorship, not  a democracy. A republic is simply another word for a “democracy.” Every democratic nation functions by means of elected representatives. So what? The “republic” matter is raised only to distract away from the reality, not in order to understand  the reality.

No matter how much the conservatives try to cheat or lie their way out of the reality, America is a dictatorship. There is simply no getting around the fact: America is a dictatorship, by and for the richest. The landmark Gilens-and-Page study found the elected representatives in America don’t actually represent the public nearly so much as they represent the people who finance the political campaigns that sucker the voters to vote for the aristocracy’s preferred candidates. America’s reality is rule by the richest, rule by the people who finance those TV commercials and political operatives who make a political winner a political winner in this republic of the richest, this government of the people, by the super-rich, for the super-rich, who make the actual decisions about which candidates will have a chance to win, and which won’t.

Just the way that the Grand Ayatollah in Iran chooses which candidates there will have a chance to win the Presidency, etc., America’s few super-rich here choose which candidates will have a chance to win the Presidency etc., and which won’t. In Iran, the Grand Ayatollah is chosen by, and serves, the mullahs; and, in America, the Party chiefs etc., are chosen by, and serve, the super-rich.

In America, the aristocracy wanted Saddam Hussein removed and replaced in Iraq, “regime change in Iraq”; so, it was done — the public were suckered into supporting an invasion (and then into re-‘electing’ the man who did it).

There is no accountability for the aristocracy’s agents (such as President Bush, or President Obama). None were prosecuted for the tortures and murders and destruction that were done to Iraq, and for the trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that were spent by us to perpetrate that destruction of Iraq.

America’s aristocrats and their agents call America ‘the opportunity society.’ (Read all about it there, from Obama, and also from self-acknowledged  Republicans. But, of course, Obama is playing the ‘good cop,’ to their “bad.” The man who was Obama’s chief economist, Larry Summers, does the same. Their propaganda-line sounds as if it comes from central headquarters.) As if equality of opportunity can actually rise while inequality of wealth is rising. It can’t really happen. The PR line is only for fools. The aristocracy enjoys playing the public for suckers. How else could the aristocracy continue to exploit the public? How much longer can  it continue?

Ron Fournier headlined in National Journal  on Thursday December 2nd, “The Fish Rots From the Head in Chicago,” and he opened:

Pres­id­ent Obama needs to mail Rahm Emanuel a dead fish in a box. Hil­lary Clin­ton should de­liv­er it. For the in­teg­rity of the party that rep­res­ents a vast ma­jor­ity of black voters, Demo­crat­ic lead­ers every­where need to send the Chica­go may­or a message: You’re dead to us.

A long­time lieu­ten­ant for the Clin­ton fam­ily and former chief of staff in the Obama White House, Emanuel nev­er hes­it­ated to muscle weak or dis­loy­al Demo­crats out of power. It’s time to flip the script on the en­for­cer nick­named “Rahmbo.”

Emanuel once sent a poll­ster who was late de­liv­er­ing a sur­vey res­ult a dead fish in a box. The night Bill Clin­ton won the 1992 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion, his aides were cel­eb­rat­ing around a pic­nic table when Emanuel picked up a knife and shouted the names of politi­cians who had “f****ed us.” After each name, Emanuel de­clared, “Dead man!”

I’ve got noth­ing against Emanuel. I’ve known him since 1992 and be­nefited from his stra­tegic leaks in the Clin­ton White House. And I know this: Emanuel epi­tom­izes a brand of polit­ics that puts loy­alty and elect­or­al suc­cess above all else. He was edu­cated in the school of Clin­ton, where the ends jus­ti­fy the means, and ruled the Obama White House when it ca­pit­u­lated to the cul­ture of Wash­ing­ton that his boss had vowed to fight.

Then, Fournier summarized the lengths that the Emanuel Administration went to cover up their murder of this Black — for which cover-up they charged Chicago’s taxpayers $5 million.

Obama himself has been the biggest cover-upper of American corruption. He refused to prosecute Bush, Cheney, the banksters, the torturers, etc. He lied by saying “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” and the U.N. called him on it. (Aristocrats don’t mind that; the U.N. has no teeth; and aristocrats own the ‘news’ media, so America’s public won’t know anyway.) This is how the aristocracy works. It is non-partisan. Most aristocrats are right-wing, but some are left-wing; and, yet, when it’s the aristocracy versus the public, the aristocracy are united — and the public get conned worse than ever. For example, the U.S. aristocracy were united not only on seizing Ukraine, but in slaughtering Ukrainians who rejected the seizure. America’s elite Brookings Institution even urged the U.S. government to step up the slaughter. The U.S. line was that the victims there were simply ‘terrorists,’ or ‘pro-Russians.’ They were actually the residents of the areas that had voted overwhelmingly for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom the U.S. aristocracy overthrew. The American aristocracy said he was “corrupt.” So were all other recent Ukrainian Presidents — but the U.S. ‘news’ media politely avoided mentioning that fact. And Ukraine now is more corrupt than ever — and a lot more in debt: bankrupt.

When the American government is prosecuting a blue-collar crook, it doesn’t “look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” but, when prosecuting a white-collar crook, especially if that’s an aristocrat, then, for some mysterious reason, it does. “Looking backward” is only for blue-collar crimes — the type of crimes that the aristocracy want to be prosecuted, because that type isn’t the aristocracy’s specialty (which is generally fraud). What ‘justice’ is this? It’s ‘justice’ to fool suckers.

The fish rots from the head, in Washington.

No matter, Republican or Democrat, the American public’s Commander-in-Chief is the American aristocracy’s Commander-in-Cheat. He or she is the head, in Washington, and it smells much the same, either way: like rotten fish.

Said one American Judge, in issuing his verdict:

Today’s reality is that the voices of “we the people” are too often drowned out by the few who have great resources. And when the fundraising cycle slows (it never stops), lobbyists take over in a continuing attempt to gain influence over and access to elected officials.

This is not a left or right, liberal or conservative analysis, but all the points on the political spectrum are increasingly involved in shaping this country’s political agenda. In today’s neverending cycle of campaigning and lobbying; lobbying and campaigning, elected officials know where their money is coming from and that it must keep coming if they are to stay in office. Ordinary citizens recognize this; they know what is going on; they know they are not being included. …

The Court is bound, however, to follow the Supreme Court and Second Circuit’s clear guidance. Accordingly, the Court holds that the limitations contained in New York Election Laws §§ 14-114(8) and 14-126, as applied to independent expenditure-only organizations, cannot prevent quid pro quo corruption.

Of course, those higher-court ‘Justices’ had themselves been appointed by corrupt federal officials, including U.S. Presidents. The U.S. aristocracy holds iron control.

And, so, the fish keeps stinking, and the aristocracy keep lying and pretending that America is a ‘democracy.’ And the public are told that the only problem is inequality of opportunity, not inequality of wealth — no matter how enormous that inequality of wealth is. After all, there’s a self-sustaining aspect to any aristocracy. Their children even get “legacy admissions” into the elite’s colleges. So: the more extreme the wealth-concentration is, the more-extreme it will be in the future. But, no matter: “America is the land of the self-made man.”

And the suckers keep on believing it. People just get accustomed to the smell. The preachers tell them that it’s somehow ‘the will of God,’ and so must be ultimately good. The preachers and teachers know where their money is coming from, too. And, if it’s not coming from the right people, there won’t be much of that sweet smell to cover over the fish-stench. So: worshipping The Almighty is taught — even though it actually means ‘Might makes right’ (which everyone knows to be wrong).

So: everybody does what he must do to “go along to get along” — with “the right people,” of course.

And this  is called ‘the free market,’ and ‘democracy,’ though it’s neither. It is, instead, as bad as it smells, even if its direct victims, such as Iraq and Ukraine (just to mention two nations that America’s aristocracy destroyed), smell even worse.

If you want to know how bad and how scary it really is, see the documentary on the Edward Snowden case, Citizen 4;  but, even that documentary pulled its punch by limiting to only a single enigmatic sentence its bare reference to the international aristocracy behind it all, whose agents are stealing the public’s freedoms, in order to expand those aristocrats’ now-unprecendentedly sophisticated network of control over the publics throughout the world. It’s no longer just government, and the press, and the ‘intelligence’ agencies, and the military and the police. This is no longer science fiction — it is control over the mass-public, the termination of democracy, in all but name. It is already, and frighteningly, science-fact. This is why the last American President before our new system started to become instituted, Jimmy Carter, recently despaired in public, that America has become a dictatorship. And this is an increasingly global dictatorship. It’s where the global fish-head stinks the worst.

Not to expose it is to hide it — to become part of what promotes the stench, not part of what would reverse the rot that causes 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.

This entry was posted in Business / Economics, General, Media, Politics / World News, propaganda and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Lynn Walker

    You are only as good as your sources of information (news). This author (and most readers) entirely miss the true point of the “inequality” issue.

    1) We will always have inequality. It can’t be eradicated because we each have different (unequal) karma. We can’t eliminate poverty because some people deserve to be impoverished. Some people deserve to be impoverished due to the way they treated others in the past.

    The true issues covered by what we refer to as “inequality” are
    2) fraud
    3) lost opportunity

    To elaborate:

    Point 2: the majority of the world’s inequality is due to wealth created by virtue of fraud. Fraud is the issue, not the inequality. We have an entire financial industry based on the right to counterfeit money (and other devices) with all of the corrupted politicians and state-protected cartels that devolve from such fraudulent enrich-(empower)ment. Equality is an impossibility when a small subset of the people have the right to print the money everyone else must labor to earn.

    Point 3: the wealth of the world, assimilated into so few hands it can never be spent, is a wasted opportunity to empower the impoverished masses who could accomplish so much more were they freed from a fraudulently imposed indebtedness and powerlessness.

    What would the masses accomplish if freed? If just so much more trivial sense/ego gratification then what gain is made, and thus I see why a benevolent care-taker does not arrange it.

    I must be of such character that none would take offense from me before I protest the inhumane, barbaric treatment I must endure each day of life in this place (America) or expect an overriding sense of justice to rectify the wrongs of the situation.

    I must also point out that it rings hollow to hear Americans (the world’s 1%) bemoan their inequality when if true equality was imposed GLOBALLY then most Americans would experience a drop in their “equal” share.

    I propose that we shift the narrative from a false obsession with “equality” and a more reasonable addressing of the issues of systemic fraud, corruption and the horrific cost of lost opportunity.

    • wunsacon

      >> 1) We will always have inequality. It can’t be eradicated because

      The author didn’t say otherwise. IMO, you mischaracterize the author’s position by saying this.

      >> I propose that we shift the narrative from a false obsession with “equality” and a more reasonable addressing of the issues of systemic fraud, corruption and the horrific cost of lost opportunity.

      There’s no “false obsession” in “equality”. The author points out absurd *inequality*. We should deal with this AND the fraud — also written about at length here at WashingtonsBlog.

      • diogenes

        Lynn Walker is engaged in misrepresentation and flimflam from start to finish. He is either totally ignorant of the realities of contemporary wealth, finance and corporate control of a rigged crony economy, or he is concealing his knowledge for devious ends or just because he likes to lie.

  • diogenes

    The statistical statement that “America’s 20 wealthiest people … now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined,” is a typical instance of the deceit practiced by American journalists when it comes to the subject of the predatory oligarchy that has usurped our democracy — not because it is false but because it conceals more than it reveals. What this statistic as stated shows, in fact, is less the wealth of the 2o richest Americans than the gross poverty of more than half of us. What it conceals is the actual dimensions of the oligarchy: the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans, one in a thousand, don’t own merely more than the poorer half of us; they own more than the poorer 90% of us.