Who exactly are these power elite? Their forebearers were the immigrant plutocrats, who invaded and stole land occupied by the first inhabitants. America has never been a democracy of self-rule. It has always been a corpocracy with the corporate power elite prevailing over the government's power elite.1 America's power elite are the evil doers of America's corpocracy.
Here's my short definition. Power is the capacity to control one's own life and resources and the lives and resources of others. Maximum capacity equals maximum power and control.
America's power elite can be arranged on the top two of five levels of my "power tower," my geometrical metaphor and symbol for how Americans are ranked in terms of their capacity to control their own lives and the lives of others. The tower has five levels. Not all of America's power elite are at the tower's pinnacle. U.S. presidents aren't there. JFK, for instance, found that out the hard way. He didn't realize that Allen Dulles, JFK's CIA Director was far more powerful.2 Here are the five levels:
Level 5. Corporate leaders in key industries, key figures in shadow government
Level 4. Key political leaders such as the U.S. president.
Level 3. Functionaries/courtiers/professionals,
Level 2. Shrinking middle class.
Level 1. Low wage, indentured slaves; illegal immigrant labor.
Level 0: Les Miserables: The homeless; the street people; the untouchables.
More than 99.9 % of America's populace live at Levels 0-3.
Understanding the Power Elite: Their Life's Equations