Too many let the rich have their way

December 20, 2018

Bernie Sanders, the venerable senator from Vermont, says the power and greed of billionaires in the United States is bringing this country down.

“We live in a nation owned and controlled by a small number of multi-billionaires whose greed, incredible greed, insatiable greed, is having an unbelievably negative impact on the fabric of our entire country,” Sanders told Paul Jay, CEO and senior editor of The Real News Network, in an interview posted Thursday.

I urge you to read the whole story on the Internet. It will provide you with enough facts, figures and statistics to make your head swim.

But that’s not what this column is about. I want to explore the reasons why the super-rich, and even the “ordinary rich,” can get away with what they get away with and why we middle-class and poverty-class folks let them get away with it.

After all, those of us who grub and scratch for a living have as much power at the ballot box as the guy or gal who can buy and sell us.

We and they have exactly one vote each.

Then why do we treat them as royalty? We defer to rich people.

I know. You will say you don’t. I used to say that myself until I realized I do, almost instinctively. It’s almost a part of my DNA.

That’s part of the reason, I believe, we let rich folks get away with everything they get away with and get everything they want.

Do rich people, especially the super-rich, really rule us just as they rule the people who are our public officials? Is that a part of a true conspiracy?

My response is they don’t have to conspire to rule us. We just naturally let them.

Some of us believe they are favored by God because they are rich and we are not as favored by God because we aren’t.

That, I believe, is much of the reason why Trump won the presidency. Too many of us thought he was rich, and God looked favorably on him because of that, so they voted for him and thereby voted for God.

Even today a significant number of Trump followers believe God is using Trump as the Almighty used King David, a murderer and an adulterer. What total claptrap.

Others give up by saying there is no hope of changing things, that any attempt to tax the rich the way they should be taxed is impossible.

What we need is another Theodore Roosevelt who clipped the wings of the late-19th-century American oligarchs who were well on their way to destroying the American dream. Eventually it brought about the rise of the middle class and brought about higher taxation for the rich until Ronald Reagan gave them a tax break.

Since then, every tax reform, including the latest one, has given the rich and super-rich the breaks.

“To whom much is given, much is expected.”

How many of us mouth this old saw with regularity?

But how many of us really believe it?

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.

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