During yesterday’s Senate hearings, Janet Yellen was asked by Senator Bernie Sanders if the U.S. was a capitalist democracy or has morphed into an oligarchy. While readers of this site already know the answer to this question, which was recently proved empirically by a Princeton and Northwestern academic study, it was still stunning to note her unwillingness to answer the question.
I will give her some credit for not flat out lying about it. She inherently understands that the U.S. is a corrupt, shameful oligarchy, but as head of the institution most responsible for this transformation she simply cannot tell the truth. It is incredible that things have fallen so far that a U.S. Senator felt compelled to ask such a question, and even worse that such a powerful official couldn’t vehemently and decisively deny the claim.
Where I take exception with Sanders, is that he appears to live under some strange sort of hypnosis that makes him think only Republican oligarchs are problematic. Of course no sane person should draw any serious distinction between establishment Democrats or Republicans. Furthermore, he also makes the mistake of focusing on the 1%, when the real problem resides in a far smaller 0.01%, which I described in my post: Where Does the Real Problem Reside? Two Charts Showing the 0.01% vs. the 1%.
See for yourself:
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Here we go; more centralization, consolidation, and corruption as America barrels its way toward serfdom. The best part of this saga is that Obama was one of the most vocal Senators against such rule changes when George W. Bush was in office, but not a peep from him now. Bernie Sanders (Vermont Senator) and Michael Copps (FCC commissioner from 2001 to 2011) wrote an excellent Op Ed in Politico. Here are excerpts:
A cornerstone of American democracy is a free and open press providing diverse viewpoints. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1823, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted to be freely expressed.” In America today, however, a trend toward corporate media consolidation is drowning diverse opinions and eliminating local control. In 1983, 90 percent of the American media was owned by 50 companies. Today, 90 percent is controlled by just six corporations: General Electric, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.
The Federal Communications Commission may be on the verge of making a bad situation worse. It is considering a rule change that would clear the way for even more media consolidation. All Americans should be deeply concerned.
The failed 2007 bid to change the rules came after a similar 2003 effort to weaken the limits on cross-ownership that prevented a handful of media conglomerates from completely dominating ownership of the news outlets in our communities. Those proposals met with 3 million public comments, 99 percent of which opposed the FCC’s proposal.
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