As Monsieur Piketty has so eloquently helped us understand, oligarchy and dynastic wealth are taking over our society. And lots of Americans may very well remain blind to that fact until our democracy has been completely hollowed out and transformed into something very much different from what people commonly suppose it to be.
As ever more of the nation's wealth and income is being vacuumed up and/or systematically siphoned into the accounts of dynasties and oligarchs, this transition is actually being facilitated by our government. The result: an ever smaller middle class in the US, as former members are forced into poverty or near-poverty, by ever lower wages and an ever increasing scarcity of decently paid jobs.
Vacuumed up and siphoned off? How?
For starters, consider the banksters as well as the government stooges who help them. A recent news report tries to make a good case that the prosecution of banksters was only about budgets, ambitious prosecutors etc. It mentions Eric Holder only once, in the very last paragraph, and then as someone who merely "laments" the situation.
Not a word about how he came from a gold-plated Wall Street law firm, to which he expects to return when he tires of public service -- nor any word about his specialty in that firm: Defending the very banks of which he is now tasked with overseeing the prosecution!
Not a word, either, about the robo-signings, by the tens of thousands, that cannot in any way be excused as difficult to prosecute, and that should certainly not be excused as "recklessness rather than criminality" -- not when banksters deliberately stole the property of tens of thousands of innocent home owners, many of whom were not even behind on their mortgage payments!
And nothing whatsoever about the enormous amounts of campaign cash that banksters and other Wall Street fat cats passed to key political campaigns, in return for which they were granted (by gov't stooges) not merely immunity from prosecution, but impunity from any accountability whatsoever . . so that even now, as they continue to ransack the public till, almost all their profits now come from quantitative easing, in which the Fed creates money out of thin air and gives it to the largest financiers to spend as they see fit, which serves mostly to reward criminal-class executives with ever more astounding bonuses and stock options, taxed at a rate that doesn't even pay the transaction costs. And then Jamie Dimond has the gall to complain that he is not sufficiently respected for his high-minded public service, and Lloyd Blankfein says he, personally, is "doing God's work" -- this after both men have been given: a) scores of millions to maintain their obscenely extravagant lifestyle, b) absolute immunity from prosecution, and c) the guaranteed continuation of their historically criminal institutions.
Not one word, either, about the LIBOR scam, which bankrupted innumerable small towns and municipalities and further enriched our new plutocrats by billions if not trillions; nothing whatsoever about the deep-level corruption in Congress that enabled this enormous, world-class, and unprecedented grand larceny. Phil Gramm, who, at midnight, pushed through the immunity from regulation (of these newly designed instruments of financial thievery), is not even mentioned, even though his wife Wendy works on Wall Street, the scene of the crime.