I wrote this book to focus the nation’s attention on a very critical issue that Americans need to understand: the United States is on the brink of becoming a plutocracy run by and for the very rich. Our political system is broken, and we must fix it before we lose our representative democracy. Both as a nation and as individual Americans, we are in grave danger due to Big Money’s increasing control of our government.
Three Examples of the Tremendous Harm Big Money’s Grip Causes
Here are just three recent examples of how Big Money’s control over our government has caused tremendous harm to our nation as well as to a great many Americans.
1. The Iraq War
When George W. Bush became president in 2001 the giant oil corporations led by oilman-turned-vice president Dick Cheney manipulated the country into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that posed an international security threat. While Ambassador Joe Wilson tried to alert us to the truth, Cheney’s Chief of Staff “Scooter” Libby lied and was later found guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. Big oil’s extreme influence over our government resulted in the United States initiating the Iraq War to gain access to Iraq’s huge oil and gas reserves. In doing big oil’s bidding, our country spent close to $2 trillion of our tax dollars; sacrificed thousands of American lives as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian lives; and effectively bred more support for militant extremists.
2. The Great Recession of 2008
During the Great Recession of 2008, while our government bailed out the big banks that had been primarily responsible for the economic crash, it did not aid the millions of Americans who had lost their homes or jobs. Despite the fraudulent and unethical business practices that had caused such devastating hardship, the Obama administration never prosecuted any of the Wall Street executives who had been largely responsible for it. Since Democrats and Republicans alike receive huge campaign contributions from Wall Street, no one in Washington wanted to risk damaging those relations. Now Wall Street is aggressively lobbying for less government regulation with some success, which can only lead to another financial disaster.
3. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement
Ordinary Americans have been given no voice in the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Most Congressional Republicans and some Democrats, including President Obama, support it, as does corporate America. Advocates claim the TPP will increase American exports, protect intellectual property rights, and level the playing field between American companies and their foreign competitors. While hundreds of corporate advisers helped craft the TPP, the general public has been shut out of the process and unable to evaluate it because Obama classified both the negotiations and the agreement. Though members of Congress were allowed to read it, they were forbidden to talk about it with their constituents. Once again, corporate America is calling the shots in Washington.
When the TPP is finally made public, citizens may have only a brief period in which to convince Congress to reject it. Significantly, Congress cannot amend it since the “fast track” legislation it passed in June 2015 means that they can only vote the TPP up or down. Most congressional Democrats, led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, as well as environmental organizations and labor unions, argue that the TPP increases income inequality, reduces American jobs, jacks up the cost of medicines, rolls back Wall Street reforms, and empowers corporations to attack environmental and health safeguards. Hillary Clinton has also finally decided she opposes it, even though as Secretary of State she called it the gold standard of trade agreements.
Perhaps the most troubling problem with the TPP is that the agreement does not include China, and thereby sets up a power struggle between the United States and China over influence in the Far East. Instead of working with China for the common good, our corporate-controlled government has pushed China aside and forced it to set up a competing organization. Isolating a country and its people, whether it’s our neighbor Cuba or China, cannot lead to a positive outcome. We need to work together with those with whom we may disagree. If we continue down this path of isolating China, we could end up in armed conflict some day, which would be catastrophic for both countries.
Break Big Money’s Grip on America To Fix Our Broken Political System
These examples demonstrate the necessity for breaking Big Money’s grip on America before we suffer another national disaster. Moreover, until we break Big Money’s grip on our government it will continue to block our efforts to solve other crucial issues, like affordable healthcare, climate change, gun violence, homeland security, immigration reform, Social Security, and income inequality. My ardent hope is Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America will inspire Americans of all political persuasions to work together so we can fix our broken political system and revive democracy in America.