The Top of the Pyramid
In the preceding chapters I talked about how to reduce the power of the rich and of the big corporations. I would be remiss if I did not also have a chapter on those who control the most powerful organization of all: the governments (federal, state and local).
Just over a third of the economy is in the government sector in the United States. In the rest of the developed world, this figure is higher (http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj18n2/cj18n2-1.pdf). In fact, it is useful to think of the various governments as big corporations – with armaments to go along with their economic power.
In theory all this power is ultimately in the hands of The People – each voter has an equal share in these super corporations. In reality, the story is different:
- The Left complains about how big campaign contributors get more than their one vote’s worth of power by being able to not only influence who is politically viable, but also hold financial obligations of those holding office.
- The Right has complained for years about the power of the media giants’ power to influence elections. (With the rise of cable television, talk radio and the Internet, the situation has become more balanced.)
- Members of third parties complain about how the system is rigged in favor of the legacy two political parties. (Is two choices on a ballot sufficient? Would you settle for only two restaurant chains? Two auto companies? Two competitive sports?)
- Political outsiders of all stripes chafe at the power of incumbents to buy votes using pork barrel legislation, franking privileges, and constituent service.
- Different legislative districts have different levels of representation depending on the seniority of the legislators they send to the capital.
The people are not equally empowered!
To some degree this is a feature. It is good to give extra power to those who care more and/or are more competent and responsible. However, our current system keeps out many who are devoted to the country and well versed on the issues. To say that the current ruling class is responsible is to ignore the gigantic budget deficits these people have racked up over the decades. We can do better!