The Charitable-Industrial Complex

Why is America living in an era of deep and encroaching economic inequality? Why do millionaire candidates and donors dominate our elections? Why is even a dribble of attention not allowed to address climate change?

Make no mistake. The oligarchs (Koch Brothers, the Scaifes, the Olins, the Bradleys, the DeVos’ ,Mercers, Waltons, Schwabs and Wilks) are in charge of the U.S. government. The views of most Americans (75 percent of whom are against the tax cut for example) no longer matter. These political philanthropists defined them selves as self-less patriots, motivated by public, not private, gain. Whether their motives were virtuous or not, in the course of a few decades a handful of enormously rich right-wing philanthropists have changed the course of American politics. They have become “the charitable-industrial complex.”

This was the oligarch’s deal with the devil (Trump) from the start. Get us a huge tax cut, use the resulting deficit to justify cutting Medicare and Social Security and get rid of environmental and financial regulations in return we’ll finance you, we’ll back your allies in the GOP, and we’ll mount PR campaigns on your behalf that magnify your lies. Hell, we’ll even make you look like a populist.

Over half the money contributed in the 2016 election cycle came from just 158 families along with companies they own or control. More than 50 of these people are on the Forbes list of America’s richest billionaires. 64 of them made their fortunes in finance (hedge fund and private equity), 17 in energy mostly gas and oil, 15 in real estate and construction (the Trumps for example), 10 in technology.

These American oligarchs don’t have to worry about whether Social Security or Medicare will be there for them in their retirement because they’ve put away huge fortunes. They don’t worry about climate change because they don’t live in homes that might succumb to hurricanes or wildfires. They don’t care about public schools because their families don’t attend them. They don’t care about public transportation because they don’t use it. Truth to tell, they don’t even care that much about America because their personal and financial interests are global.

They are living in their own separate society and they want people who will represent them, not the rest of us, running the government. How they get the “rest of us” to vote for their candidates is the real mystery of the age.

The Republican Party is their vehicle. Fox News is their voice. Trump is their champion. A generous one-third of the country is their support.