The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite.
This will come as a shock to absolutely nobody who has been paying attention to the American political scene the past 30+ years. The study “compared the public’s influence on 1,779 policy issues between 1981 and 2002, finding that more often than not, the interests of wealthy groups and individuals won out over the demands of the general public. For instance, when 80 percent of the public asked for a change of some sort, they got their way only about 43 percent of the time [links to PDF of study].
While the study gingerly sidestepped the question of declaring this country an oligarchy in outright terms (“Our findings are consistent with the U.S. being an oligarchy but don’t prove that to be so,” Page said), the fact is that this development has been pretty clearly visible to all but the blindest of observers for some time now. On any number of issues — gun control leaps immediately to mind — when significant majorities not only of voters but even of gun owners and NRA members support reform and the gun industry lobbying group opposes it, its opposition wins out. (This despite the demonstrable fact that in the last election, the NRA lost virtually every single election in which it invested. As Media Matters found, “Of the nearly $18 million the NRA poured into the 2012 elections, over 95 percent was spent on races where the NRA-backed candidate lost.”)
The study concludes, in its abstract, “[E]conomic elites and organized groups representing business
interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens
and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”
To put it more clearly and directly, we need look only to this quotation from Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont: “An “upper-crust of extremely wealthy families are hell-bent on destroying the democratic vision of a strong middle-class which has made the United States the envy of the world. In its place they are determined to create an oligarchy in which a small number of families control the economic and political life of our country.”
Wake up and smell the non-Fair Trade coffee, Senator. That ship has long since sailed.