The Oligarchs

Der Spiegel asks “Has America Become an Oligarchy?” On reading the article it turned out that this title was intended as a rhetorical question rather than a real one. I was afraid that otherwise Der Spiegel might have been on another planet for the last twenty or thirty years.

In fact, the 400 wealthiest Americans now own more than the “lower” 150 million Americans put together.

Nearly two-thirds of net private assets are concentrated in the hands of 5 percent of Americans. In comparison, the upper 5 percent of Germany hold less than half of net assets. In 2009 alone, at the same time as the US was being convulsed by mass layoffs, the number of millionaires in the country skyrocketed.

Indeed, if you look at the reports it compiles on every country in the world, even the CIA has concluded that wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt.

Unfortunately Der Spiegel fails to identify the root cause of the problem – the corruption of politics in the U.S. It is built in to the system. When, for example, Obama is planning to spend in excess of a billion dollars on his re-election campaign, how can there not be corruption? It is unimaginable that amount of money will be raised for him without some form of quid pro quo. The controllers of the money end up controlling the country. Let’s see if there are any consequences for Jon Corzine, shall we?

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