Patty Dineen

The view from here

Politics, money, the public and revolution…

Okay.  A commentator’s recent suggestion that “revolution is on the table” is, thankfully, still greeted in most parts with surprise and dismay.  Come a time that we aren’t surprised when commentators say this, then…  Anyway, it should come as no surprise that people are getting pretty fed up, feeling that the public’s voice has pretty much come unhinged from Washington.  Washington, instead,  has become ever more tightly hinged to — money.  Here is what Robert Reich writes in his book Aftershock, about the indirect, but nonetheless, potent effects of money:

No policy has been altered, no bill or vote willfully changed.  But inevitably, as the politician enters into these endless social rounds among the networks of the wealthy, his view of the world is affected.  Increasingly, the politician hears the same kinds of suggestions, the same concerns and priorities.  The wealthy do not speak in one voice, to be sure, but they share a broad common perspective.  The politician hears only indirectly and abstractly from the less comfortable members of society.  They are not at the coffees and dinners.  They do not tell him directly and repeatedly, in casual banter and through personal stories, how they view the world.  They do not speak continuously into the politician’s ear about their concerns.  The politician learns of those concerns from his pollsters, and from occasional political appearnaces back in his home district, but he is not immersed in them as he is in the culture of the comfortable.  In this way, access to the network of the wealthy does not necessarily buy a politician’s vote.  It buys his mind. (pgs 109-110)

…Perhaps the most convincing evidence that the game is rigged is the deafening silence about all this.  You would think political leaders would talk about the nation’s surging inequality and the flattening of middle-class incomes.  But as the divergence in income and wealth has grown to stunning proportions, it is rare to find even a Democratic politician who dwells on it. (pgs 113-114)

As CNBC’s Rick Santelli once famously screamed, “President Obama, are you listening to this?”


Written by dineenp

October 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

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