Let’s look at the “plutes” of this country (plutocracy – power/rule by the wealthy). Examples of their influence abound. Whether it be tax cuts or dodges for the “0.1%,” the college admission scandal (Felicity Huffman), the buying of justice (Jeffrey Epstein, let us count the ways these exclusive and elusive groups legally or not, increase their power.
Sometimes it’s the flick of a pen that changes the financial landscape. For example, stock buybacks were illegal before 1982, being seen as stock manipulation. Now they’re the rage, making money for CEOs and enhancing their obscene compensations and golden parachutes.
Both the old money and the nouveau riche employ some slick and cunning tactics to enhance their positions. All done with a smile or expressions of righteous indignation when called for.
Public relations looms large in their plutocratic scheming. Tout the stock market climbs and low unemployment but ignore staggering student debt, health-induced bankruptcies, rising child poverty and homelessness. Sing the praises of technology’s supposed propensity to foster free speech but suppress the intrusiveness of data collection and tech’s monopolistic maneuvering. Ad nauseam lying, propaganda and rhetorical fallacies are all benchmarks for the plutes.
The perverse use of philanthropy is another shrewd calculation. Millions of dollars do flow into worthwhile entities but let’s check the motivation behind them. Is the donation a mea culpa for past injustices, ignoring that the exploitation of workers or the public was the source of the funds?
Is it simply employing the “shiny thing syndrome” to distract people from backroom dealings or other nefarious doings? Is the contribution an attempt to buy people off? Is it merely the cost of doing business to “grease the wheels” in order to further future financial gains?
Gary M. Schulenberg