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From Informed Comment
On Saturday morning CNN host Michael Smerconish compared Sen. Bernie Sanders to the coronavirus, asking if anything could stop either one. So reports Tommy Christopher at Mediaite. CNN has apologized.
Smerconish is a lifelong Republican who left the party in 2008 in part over George W. Bush's inability to kill Osama Bin Laden and he voted for Barack Obama. His trajectory shows how close the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is to the old pre-Trump Republican Party, such that people felt comfortable migrating between them.
Another corporate Democrat, Chris Matthews of MSNBC, likened Bernie Sanders' overwhelming victory in the Nevada caucuses to the fall of France to the Nazis.
These two instances of Bernie Derangement Syndrome are particularly unfortunate because Sanders is a Jewish American who lost family in the Nazi Holocaust, and the Nazis notoriously spoke of Jews as a disease in their racist body politic, which they held, monstrously, needed to be eradicated.
This keeps happening because Sanders threatens the established Plutocratic order in the United States.
When I was young, people used to rail against plutocracy, and you always thought they were a bit kooky. But now I don't know what else you would call the United States. We have three billionaires running for president, and the Roberts Court has given them permission just to use their own money to buy the election if they can (Trump could). The billionaires who comprise the Forbes 400 wealthiest owned more wealth in 2017 than the bottom 64 percent of the United States population. That is, these four hundred multi-billionaires have more than 212 million of America's 327 million citizens combined. And the Forbes list isn't even all of the billionaires. People with only one billion aren't even wealthy enough to be on it.
The top one percent now own 40 percent of the privately held wealth in the United States. In the Eisenhower era, the top one percent only owned 25 percent of the privately held wealth. Yes, the staid Republican-ruled Father Knows Best America of the 1950s was a Bernie Sanders social democratic paradise in comparison to today's plutocracy.
h/t Seattle Times. They got to have so much of the country's wealth because the top one percent, some 3 million people, annually take home 20 percent of the country's income. That means that of all the US economic growth since 1970, almost none of it has gone to the working people at the bottom of the pile, whose average wages have been relatively flat for 50 years. The increases in wealth are scooped up by a tiny group.
It is as though all the extra money in the country went to the 3 million people in Arkansas, and everyone else in the country were wage slaves mostly making $12 an hour.
And if we scan out from the top one percent to the top 20 percent, these 6.5 million people own 90 percent of the country's wealth. It would be like people in Indiana owning 90 percent of the wealth in the US, with everyone else in relative poverty.
Having so much money lets you buy congressmen and senators, something called "legislative capture," so that the uber-wealthy can just change any rules that get in the way of their continual accumulation of the lion's share of the nation's income.
People like Smerconish and Matthews are fine with this avalanche of inequality and all the lives it blights and all the monopolies it creates and perpetuates.
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Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia. He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)