The latest scandal with AIG, the upcoming paying $165 million in bonuses to executives managing a company needing the largest taxpayer financed bailout in world history.  To make matters worse, some recipients of this money are in the very unit that caused AG’s troubles.  Nor is the AIG example alone in giving away Americans’ wealth to the über rich, who then waste it.  This rips the rhetoric of capitalist freedom away from the oligarchy that our country has largely become.

Both the Democratic and Republican Parties are almost wholly owned subsidiaries of our largest corporations, serving them abjectly while entertaining us with divisive dramas that detract our vision from what is really going on.  It is the classic tool of divide and conquer that rulers have always used: take the most religiously benighted part of our population,  invite them into a political party, and then, as we push back against their madness, the oligarchs enrich themselves no matter who is in power.   The corporate media is more than happy to play along.

This is not the first time.

In the Reagan years we were treated to “Savings and Loan Reform” that led to the savings and loan bailout of $124 billion in taxpayer funds.   Probably until now the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class and poor to the wealthy in world history.  Till now.  

After still other bouts of “deregulatory reform” the oligarchs are back for more, because for them, more is never enough.  They want it all.

Republicans gave us ‘bankruptcy reform’ under Bush, which increased middle class suffering over health catastrophes.  They did so with the aid of faithful servants like Joe Biden.  Republicans and Democrats alike gave us SEC ‘reform’ under Clinton that set the stage for our current crises.  Now  ‘moderate’ Democrats, with Republican help, continue to give them enormous wealth when their turn at the people’s trough comes around.  

I do not quite equate the two parties.  On many issues their differences are real and important.  America’s oligarchs consist of a deeply authoritarian right and a relatively moderate middle.  They support different parties – except when their wealth is at stake. Democrats at least respect the other rules of the democratic game.  They are less likely to abuse police powers and kill innocent people.  Not unlikely, less likely.  They do it with egret, Republicans with pleasure.  

Because of having a liberal wing, the Democratic Party offers greater hope of decent legislation, if they can free themselves from the so-called ‘moderates’ who hold positions well to the right of most Americans.
Accomplishing this will be a gargantuan task and until then the Democrats as a whole will be at best two-faced allies of the American people, more like Gollum than Saruman.

I was happy that Obama defeated his creepy opponents, and I still am.  There is considerable decency and intelligence in the man.  But his financial policies have been captured by the same interests  who had led us into this mess under Bush the Junior. As regards to big capital they are still faithful servants for their endlessly greedy masters, men who seek to fill the hole in their hearts with other people’s wealth.  We can hope that Obama, being relatively new to national politics, maintains enough integrity to see his way through the fatal embrace of his Wall Street ‘helpers,’ but at this point I would not count on it.

We are told AIG and these other economic and moral monsters are ‘too big to fail.’  Well, then they are too big to be allowed to exist in a free society or a market economy.  Robert Reich put it bluntly

When our very own Secretary of the Treasury cannot make stick his decision that AIG’s bonuses should not be paid, only one conclusion can be drawn: AIG is accountable to no one. Our democracy is seriously broken.

The logic is simple and irrefutable from their own words.  Break up the banks, insurance companies, and other manipulators of money, and regulate the hell out of them.  Another step would be to ban corporate lobbying, lobbying is something citizens should be able to do, not soulless behemoths.  Still another would be in initiate 100% financing for campaigns, something already tried successfully in some states.

Some people will squeal ‘socialism!”  It isn’t.  The only ‘socialism’ and ‘redistribution’ we have in this country is to serve the rich.

More from Beliefnet and our partners