America: Land of the Rich (and Their Businesses)

America: Land of the Rich (and Their Businesses)


Since its establishment over two hundred years ago, the United States has been widely regarded as a nation exceptional in its provision of liberty and opportunity—the supreme manifestation of democratic and Enlightenment ideals in the modern world. Central to these ideals is a sense of equal representation for all, a notion that every citizen holds, to a certain degree, influence in the political arena. In the last several decades, however, the degradation and long-standing absence of this ideal in American politics has become increasingly apparent. It has become clear that the American political system holds the interests of the wealthy and privileged in the highest esteem, while largely ignoring the preferences and welfare of the masses.

The men called to the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 to craft the nation’s new Constitution were certainly not products of the poorer masses or even a working middle-class, but rather were the products of the “commercial and financial interests of the country.” They were all wealthy and established intellectuals, statesmen, lawyers, or businessmen, whose willingness to participate in such a convention did not stem from a democratic urge to represent the common American, but from an urgent need to protect their wealth and property previously vulnerable under the Articles of Confederation. And so, as the Framers worked diligently to ensure the domination of moneyed interests over the preferences of the masses, it is easy to see how our nation, from its very beginnings, has been predicated on a system that works to serve economic elites and corporations.

However odd it may seem to reference ancient American history, it is imperative that we understand the context through which America’s oligarchical tendencies have manifested. Today, the same moneyed interests pursued by the Framers have interestingly strayed from direct political involvement into the more elusive, “outside” spheres of influence now referred to as interest groups. In modern American politics, these groups have become virtually ubiquitous, the scope of their power rivalling or even exceeding that of legislators and government officials themselves. Interest groups are everywhere; their sway is felt by everyone.

Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, professors of political science at Princeton University and Northwestern University, set out in an empirical study to investigate how much influence common citizens today actually wield over American policy in the face of moneyed interests. After collecting and analyzing thousands of data sets, their conclusion: virtually none. Gilens and Page determined that “not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all.” The preferences of the masses are nonfactors, dispelling for good practically any notion of majoritarian electoral democracy in the American political system. It seems the American Experiment in liberty and democracy doesn’t quite impress when held under close scrutiny.

So, if the majority does not rule, logic would ask—who does? The findings of Gilens and Page definitively conclude that economic elites and organized interest groups wield the real power in the American political system. The proof is in the numbers. Proposed policy reform that is opposed by economic elites (90th income percentile or above) is adopted about 18 percent of the time, while reform supported by elites is adopted about 45 percent of the time. Similarly, proposed policy changes with low support amongst interest groups have a dismal 16 percent chance of coming to fruition, while interest group support causes that figure to rise to a healthy 47 percent. Desperate to salvage something from American democracy, some would begin to argue here that perhaps successful interest groups are promoting many of the same policies as ordinary citizens, that their irrefutable power is not necessarily in conflict with the preferences of the masses. Again, we find evidence on the contrary.

Even amongst interest groups, there is a bias toward business-oriented groups that represent moneyed interests, groups whose preferences consistently and quantifiably diverge from those of average citizens. In the United States, the more representative and publically-productive mass-based groups, such as the Sierra Club or the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), are outnumbered, outspent, and overpowered by business groups bent on boosting profits, organizations that couldn’t care less about the needs or desires of the common people. Our government institutions and officials no longer put the health and wellbeing of Americans first; from the interest groups of the food industry to the major gun lobby, business groups work solely to boost profits, acting without a hint of concern for their impact on ordinary Americans.  It is no stretch to conclude that Gilens and Page’s findings strike a devastating blow to the very core of American democracy and a demoralizing, yet indisputable victory for the theory of elitist domination.

In “Federalist No. 10,” James Madison discussed at length the role of “factions” in American politics, conglomerates of citizens “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion,” strikingly similar to the modern concept of interest groups. While Madison was somewhat concerned about how these groups would affect his nation’s nascent political system, he had confidence in the majoritarian principle of democracy. He asserted confidently, “If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle. . . . It may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.” Madison would be devastated if alive today to witness the very real domination of the American majority by a minority of economic elites. Even in 1975, famed political scientist E. E. Schattschneider was able to see the bias that now clouds Madison’s vision of majoritarian pluralism in the U.S., eloquently commenting in The Semisovereign People, “The flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper-class accent.”

America, in the minds of many, has become the land of the rich and their business. Virtually all political structures and institutions seem to be “skewed, loaded, and unbalanced in favor of a fraction of a minority,” clear and disturbing proof of oligarchy in the American political system. While moneyed interests have been central to the American political system since its founding, in recent years, the United States has experienced a definite strengthening in the influence of economic elites and business-oriented interest groups. Most startling perhaps is the fact that all of this can, and often does, occur at the expense of largely powerless ordinary citizens.

At this stage in my career, I don’t imagine that I am fully equipped to take on the entire American establishment, but I can begin to raise awareness about this scourge of moneyed domination, a sickness slowly suffocating the exceptionalism of American democracy. I intend to do just that.

Image courtesy of

About author

Jared Hirschfield

Jared Hirschfield is a sophomore in the University Scholars Program at Northeastern University in Boston. Majoring in biology and political science, Jared plans to pursue medical and law degrees after Northeastern, building a career at the intersection of medicine, law, and public policy.

  • 릴게임다운로드#1

    May 16, 2019

    Yay google is my king aided me to find this outstanding website !.

  • posete Guess Romania#2

    April 27, 2019

    It as not that I want to copy your web site, but I really like the design and style. Could you tell me which theme are you using? Or was it custom made?

  • ceti#5

    April 26, 2019

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really know what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my web site =). We could have a link exchange arrangement between us!

  • small business dummies#6

    April 26, 2019

    Thankyou for helping out, superb information.

  • Maire#7

    April 25, 2019

    What are a few of one of the most popular/best blogs regarding cellular phone and also wireless technology?

  • administratie#8

    April 24, 2019

    hello there and thank you for your information – I have certainly picked up anything new
    from right here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this
    site, as I experienced to reload the website many times
    previous to I could get it to load properly.
    I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will very frequently affect
    your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look
    out for a lot more of your respective fascinating content.

    Make sure you update this again very soon.

  • suba suba#9

    April 22, 2019

    BS3jIy You can not consider simply how so much time I

  • soni typing tutor 1.4.81#10

    April 21, 2019

    This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

  • Anti aging#11

    April 21, 2019

    Thanks for this nice post. …

  • Pat#12

    April 21, 2019

    Just how to make an application for google adsense account for my all 3 blog sites as well as 2 internet sites?

  • John Deere Diagnostic and Test Manuals#13

    April 18, 2019

    I do accept as true with all the ideas you have offered in your post. They are really convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are too quick for novices. May just you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  • Yeezy UK#14

    April 17, 2019

    the Swedish company filed an antitrust lawsuit in Europe, claiming that Apple abused its control over the App Store and made an offer to promote Apple’s services. Apple denied the allegation.

  • Yeezy#15

    April 16, 2019

    jdnenjdk New Yeezy,Are you searching for top class Escort service in Noida and want to enjoy with them, hire sexy girls from top Greater Noida escort service and enjoy full night.

  • Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35#16

    April 15, 2019

    Game Killer Apk Download Latest Version for Android (No Ad) … Guess not because Game killer full version app is not available on Play store.

  • Florene#17

    April 13, 2019

    Where can I find reputable blog sites that are concentrated on or at least dig seriously right into penis enlargement?

  • Todd#18

    April 12, 2019

    Just how does one make money from blogs? Exactly how does one start it or set about it? Is there a particular way to do it? Just how does one make money from blog sites to begin with? Where does one begin in this? Do you have to market and also use your credit card? Are there any certain sort of regulations you need to comply with? Do you need to set the blog up yourself or are there ones that assist you establish it up? How do you get marketers on your blog site? Are people limited to the variety of blog sites online? Exactly how frequently do you earn money?. Thanks for the help!.

  • John Deere Repair Manuals#19

    April 10, 2019

    Youre thus great! We don’t suppose I have discover anything like this just before. So great to locate an individual with some authentic applying for grants this topic. realy thank you for beginning this particular up. this web site is something that’s needed on the web, somebody with a little originality. beneficial job for bringing one thing new to the internet!

  • Nike Outlet#20

    April 10, 2019

    xitbncn,Definitely believe that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to remember of.

  • Kennith#21

    April 10, 2019

    How do I write a Blog introducing a new to social networking site?

  • Adidas Yeezy 500#25

    April 8, 2019

    myhhxxpmv,Thanks for sharing such an amazing blog. I am so happy found this informative blog.

  • our website#26

    April 8, 2019

    I want to install wordpress on one domain name but using that same wordpress have a select category come up under a different domain. Is there a way to do this?.

  • John Deere Diagnostic and Test Manuals#27

    April 7, 2019

    well of course, everyone loves to get rich but not everyone would love to do hard work“

  • Leandra Hazelip#28

    April 7, 2019

    We wish to recognize if it is possible for us to contribute to your site. We have some concepts that you could locate interesting as well as would certainly be compatible with the basic tone of your site. We have actually enclosed our email address in situation you intend to contact me regarding it.

  • Yeezy#29

    April 6, 2019

    hkmyiykzw Adidas Yeezy,Some really nice stuff on this website, I enjoy it.

  • Steelers Jerseys#30

    April 6, 2019

    twnqujlss,Thanks for this useful information, Really amazing. Thanks again. I LOve your BloG

  • Nike Element 87#32

    April 4, 2019

    okrkco,This website truly has alll of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn?t know who to ask.

  • read this post here#33

    April 2, 2019

    I just want to mention I am just newbie to blogging and site-building and really liked your web site. More than likely I’m going to bookmark your site . You certainly come with exceptional stories. Kudos for revealing your website page.

  • Ken Kane#36

    March 4, 2019

    Charlie Reese’s final column:
    Charley Reese’s final column for the Orlando Sentinel… He has been a journalist for 49 years. He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

    This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

    545 vs. 300,000,000 People
    -By Charlie Reese

    Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

    Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

    Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

    You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

    You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

    You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

    You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

    You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

    One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

    I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

    I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

    Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

    What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.)

    The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?( John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. ) If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President’s proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time. ]

    It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

    If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

    If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

    If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ..

    If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

    There are no insoluble government problems.

    Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
    Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

    Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power.

    They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees… We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

    Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

    What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you.
    This might be funny if it weren’t so true.
    Be sure to read all the way to the end:

    Tax his land,
    Tax his bed,
    Tax the table,
    At which he’s fed.

    Tax his tractor,
    Tax his mule,
    Teach him taxes
    Are the rule.

    Tax his work,
    Tax his pay,
    He works for
    peanuts anyway!

    Tax his cow,
    Tax his goat,
    Tax his pants,
    Tax his coat.

    Tax his ties,
    Tax his shirt,
    Tax his work,
    Tax his dirt.

    Tax his tobacco,
    Tax his drink,
    Tax him if he
    Tries to think.

    Tax his cigars,
    Tax his beers,
    If he cries
    Tax his tears.

    Tax his car,
    Tax his gas,
    Find other ways
    To tax his ass.

    Tax all he has
    Then let him know
    That you won’t be done
    Till he has no dough.

    When he screams and hollers;
    Then tax him some more,
    Tax him till
    He’s good and sore.

    Then tax his coffin,
    Tax his grave,
    Tax the sod in
    Which he’s laid…

    Put these words
    Upon his tomb,
    ‘Taxes drove me
    to my doom…’

    When he’s gone,
    Do not relax,
    Its time to apply
    The inheritance tax.
    Accounts Receivable Tax
    Building Permit Tax
    CDL license Tax
    Cigarette Tax
    Corporate Income Tax
    Dog License Tax
    Excise Taxes
    Federal Income Tax
    Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
    Fishing License Tax
    Food License Tax
    Fuel Permit Tax
    Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
    Gross Receipts Tax
    Hunting License Tax
    Inheritance Tax
    Inventory Tax
    IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
    Liquor Tax
    Luxury Taxes
    Marriage License Tax
    Medicare Tax
    Personal Property Tax
    Property Tax
    Real Estate Tax
    Service Charge Tax
    Social Security Tax
    Road Usage Tax
    Recreational Vehicle Tax
    Sales Tax
    School Tax
    State Income Tax
    State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
    Telephone Federal Excise Tax
    Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
    Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
    Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
    Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
    Telephone State and Local Tax
    Telephone Usage Charge Tax
    Utility Taxes
    Vehicle License Registration Tax
    Vehicle Sales Tax
    Watercraft Registration Tax
    Well Permit Tax
    Workers Compensation Tax

    Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

    What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

  • adidas outlet online#37

    January 11, 2019

    I definitely wanted to construct a small word in order to appreciate you for some of the amazing information you are sharing at this site. My long internet investigation has at the end been honored with reasonable details to talk about with my family. I would believe that we website visitors actually are very fortunate to live in a wonderful website with so many lovely professionals with great pointers. I feel somewhat lucky to have come across your entire web site and look forward to plenty of more awesome minutes reading here. Thanks once more for everything.

  • balenciaga shoes#38

    January 10, 2019

    I needed to send you one little note so as to say thanks again for these incredible tips you’ve discussed on this website. It has been certainly strangely generous of you to offer publicly what exactly a number of us might have advertised for an ebook to generate some cash for their own end, notably considering that you might have tried it if you considered necessary. Those good ideas additionally served to be the easy way to be sure that the rest have a similar desire the same as my very own to see lots more concerning this problem. I’m certain there are many more pleasant opportunities up front for many who browse through your website.

  • nike air max 90#39

    January 9, 2019

    Thank you a lot for providing individuals with such a splendid opportunity to discover important secrets from this website. It is usually very awesome and also full of fun for me personally and my office mates to search your site at the least three times in 7 days to find out the new stuff you have. And of course, we’re usually astounded with the unbelievable strategies you serve. Selected 3 tips on this page are clearly the very best we have had.

  • irving shoes#40

    January 8, 2019

    My spouse and i got very excited when Ervin managed to deal with his basic research from your ideas he grabbed through the web page. It’s not at all simplistic just to be making a gift of key points that most people have been trying to sell. We really realize we now have you to give thanks to for that. The specific explanations you have made, the straightforward web site menu, the relationships you can assist to promote – it is many extraordinary, and it is facilitating our son in addition to our family know that this idea is exciting, which is certainly very vital. Thanks for everything!

  • golden goose#41

    January 8, 2019

    I am also writing to let you understand what a wonderful encounter our child had reading through your web site. She even learned so many pieces, with the inclusion of how it is like to possess an awesome giving style to make other individuals quite simply have an understanding of chosen very confusing issues. You truly exceeded readers’ expected results. I appreciate you for giving such necessary, healthy, edifying as well as fun thoughts on this topic to Evelyn.

  • yeezy boost#42

    January 8, 2019

    I would like to point out my admiration for your kindness giving support to those people who should have guidance on that field. Your very own commitment to getting the message throughout came to be remarkably advantageous and have frequently empowered somebody just like me to get to their aims. This helpful key points means a whole lot a person like me and especially to my office colleagues. Thank you; from each one of us.

  • air max#43

    January 7, 2019

    I’m writing to let you understand what a useful encounter my daughter obtained using your blog. She discovered too many things, most notably how it is like to have a wonderful giving heart to let many more effortlessly have an understanding of certain extremely tough matters. You undoubtedly did more than my expected results. Thanks for showing those necessary, trusted, revealing not to mention unique tips about that topic to Julie.

  • goyard handbags#44

    January 6, 2019

    Thanks so much for giving everyone remarkably pleasant opportunity to check tips from here. It is often very lovely plus full of a lot of fun for me and my office peers to visit your web site at minimum thrice per week to see the newest stuff you will have. And of course, I am also at all times contented concerning the beautiful methods served by you. Some two ideas in this posting are ultimately the simplest I have had.

  • michael jordan shoes#45

    January 6, 2019

    I want to express thanks to the writer just for bailing me out of such a setting. As a result of checking through the search engines and getting tips that were not beneficial, I figured my life was gone. Existing without the presence of strategies to the issues you’ve solved through your main write-up is a serious case, as well as those which may have negatively affected my career if I hadn’t come across your blog. Your main competence and kindness in touching the whole thing was very useful. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come upon such a stuff like this. I can now look forward to my future. Thanks a lot so much for this expert and results-oriented help. I will not hesitate to recommend the blog to anyone who will need tips on this problem.

  • crazy explosive#46

    January 5, 2019

    I intended to create you this very small remark so as to thank you again for your unique information you’ve contributed on this website. This is simply strangely open-handed of you to make freely all that numerous people could have marketed for an e book in order to make some dough for themselves, certainly now that you might well have done it in the event you considered necessary. Those things in addition acted as a great way to fully grasp that some people have a similar dream the same as my own to understand lots more when considering this issue. I know there are several more pleasurable moments up front for folks who browse through your website.

  • yeezy boost 350#47

    January 4, 2019

    Thanks so much for providing individuals with an exceptionally nice opportunity to read from this blog. It’s usually very pleasurable and also packed with a lot of fun for me and my office fellow workers to search your site really three times weekly to read the new secrets you have. And definitely, I’m just always pleased with the exceptional guidelines you give. Certain 3 tips on this page are definitely the most effective we’ve ever had.

  • calvin klein underwear#48

    January 3, 2019

    I precisely needed to appreciate you all over again. I’m not certain the things that I would have sorted out without the type of points revealed by you directly on such field. It was the alarming issue in my position, but discovering the expert way you dealt with the issue forced me to leap for happiness. I will be thankful for your work and sincerely hope you find out what a powerful job you have been carrying out educating people today via your blog. Probably you haven’t come across any of us.

  • kyrie 4#49

    January 2, 2019

    I enjoy you because of all your valuable labor on this website. Debby really likes participating in internet research and it is easy to understand why. Many of us learn all relating to the lively form you present invaluable suggestions via the website and as well increase participation from other ones on this topic so our princess is certainly learning so much. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You are carrying out a brilliant job.

  • links of london sale#50

    January 2, 2019

    I’m just commenting to let you understand of the wonderful experience my friend’s daughter developed reading yuor web blog. She came to understand such a lot of issues, not to mention what it is like to possess a very effective helping style to get folks with ease fully understand various hard to do things. You really did more than our own desires. Thank you for offering the warm and friendly, healthy, informative and as well as cool guidance on your topic to Gloria.

  • golden goose#51

    January 1, 2019

    I needed to write you the very little remark just to thank you very much the moment again with the pleasant information you have discussed in this article. It is simply extremely open-handed of people like you to deliver unreservedly precisely what a number of people would have advertised as an electronic book to get some profit for their own end, most importantly now that you might have done it if you ever considered necessary. These tips likewise served to be a great way to understand that many people have a similar interest just as my personal own to grasp good deal more with respect to this matter. I think there are numerous more enjoyable occasions ahead for many who examine your blog post.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *