The United States was originally set to be a Constitutional Republic, although it is often referred to by many as a democracy; both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution fail to address the US as a democracy. Instead, they refer to it as a Republic, the difference being that in a Republic the government is a servant of the people. They are obliged to their owners, “We the People”, and must act on their best interest and collective will.
However, after a myriad of scandals, like the NSA Prism revelations, it hasn’t felt like the representatives in D.C. have had their priorities in line with the best interest of the people they represent. The Congressional approval rating has declined to all-time-low’s for several years now, this has led many to consider the reality that America may no longer be acting on the will of its people. Perhaps, it hasn’t been doing so for quite some time.
A new study examined the decisions of lawmakers in relation to the interests and opinions of the people they represent. The data spat out that America is more of an oligarchy than anything.
Over the past few decades, we have seen an increase in the close ties between corporations and government representatives. Continually, money has funneled into the American political system and has allowed multi-billion dollar corporations to sway “majority opinion” and legislative favor one way or another. Wealthy corporations and banks are bailed out, while the everyday citizen is left to suffer.
Living under a monetary system that is self-destructive and continually deteriorates the dollar and purchasing power doesn’t help either. Researchers from Princeton and Northwestern universities now confirm what many have felt and known for some time, that the US political system serves special interest organizations instead of the American voters.
In an effort to determine the state of the political system, the researchers included extensive policy data which was collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002. The report unsurprisingly found that US policy was majorly accommodating to its economic elite. Economic elites and organized groups which represent business interests, have substantial impacts on government policy, while average citizens have little to no influence.
The official policies rarely align with the preferences of the majority of Americans, which we knew even before reading the report. Even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get to see it. The interests of the average American are served only when it also serves those of the richest 10 %, the researchers concluded.
Money is not just playing an ever widening role in politics, but is itself determining political decision-making. The system is clearly imbalanced, and only enough public pressure and direct action can change the tide.