The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.The Bush administration will be forever associated with a "ruling overclass" --oligarchs who were the sole beneficiaries of Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut of 1982 and, later, several equally inequitable tax cuts during the Bush regime. It is no coincidence that the oligarchs likewise benefited in various ways from Bush's military adventures in the Middle East. GOP tax cuts are typically called "trickle down" theory. Reagan's Budget Director David Stockman called the theory that justifies them a "trojan horse". Since Ronald Reagan's infamous tax cut of 1982, "conservatives" myopically cite a mythical "Reagan Recovery" as proof of "Reaganomics", otherwise called supply-side economics. The right wing argument is simplistic and fallacious. It must be pointed out that following the tax cut, the nation plunged into recession, the worst since Herbert Hoover's Great Depression of 1929. Nevertheless, conservatives will persist in citing a three percent growth rate following two years of severe recession as proof that "wealth trickles down". This assertion fails to address key questions. Who benefited from the recovery?
--Steve Kangas, The Origins of the Overclass
The Origins of the Overclass By Steve Kangas The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.
The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface - and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine's creators had CIA backgrounds.During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA's expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America's wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent - the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.
How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation's elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General "Wild Bill" Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation's rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that "OSS" stood for "Oh, so social!"Another early elite was Allen Dulles, who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Dulles was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels. He was also a board member of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, with offices in Wall Street, London, Zurich and Hamburg. His financial interests across the world would become a conflict of interest when he became head of the CIA. Like Donavan, he would recruit exclusively from society's elite.
By the 1950s, the CIA had riddled the nation's businesses, media and universities with tens of thousands of part-time, on-call operatives. Their employment with the agency took a variety of forms, which included:
- Leaving one's profession to work for the CIA in a formal, official capacity.
- Staying in one's profession, using the job as cover for CIA activity. This undercover activity could be full-time, part-time, or on-call.
- Staying in one's profession, occasionally passing along information useful to the CIA.
- Passing through the revolving door that has always existed between the agency and the business world.
Many common traits made it inevitable that the CIA and Corporate America would become allies. Both share an intense dislike of democracy, and feel they should be liberated from democratic regulations and oversight. Both share a culture of secrecy, either hiding their actions from the American public or lying about them to present the best public image. And both are in a perfect position to help each other.How? International businesses give CIA agents cover, secret funding, top-quality resources and important contacts in foreign lands. In return, the CIA gives corporations billion-dollar federal contracts (for spy planes, satellites and other hi-tech spycraft). Businessmen also enjoy the romantic thrill of participating in spy operations. The CIA also gives businesses a certain amount of protection and privacy from the media and government watchdogs, under the guise of "national security." Finally, the CIA helps American corporations remain dominant in foreign markets, by overthrowing governments hostile to unregulated capitalism and installing puppet regimes whose policies favor American corporations at the expense of their people.
The CIA's alliance with the elite turned out to be an unholy one. Each enabled the other to rise above the law. Indeed, a review of the CIA's history is one of such crime and atrocity that no one can reasonably defend it, even in the name of anticommunism. Before reviewing this alliance in detail, it is useful to know the CIA's history of atrocity first.
The Crimes of the CIA