Do we have a democracy in the US, or a plutocracy? Or somewhere in between? Or something completely different? How much does money really influence American politics?

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I voted for Obama and what did we get? He bailed out huge banks, we are still at war, no real jobs program and never mentions need for  tariffs on Chinese goods. Then there are the republicans which are even worse. Both parties bought and paid for by corporations. I dont fault those who do not vote since  real change is close to futile. I do vote but think voting becomes more pointless each election.
True dat, Mark. I surely don't want any of those serious wackjobs from the right running this country, but I am seriously thinking about just sitting on my hands this time around and not voting. Why should I throw my support behind Obama when he does nothing to fix the actual problems of this country, and by extension, the world? I just bought the Suskind book, in it he (Ron Suskind) argues that the bankers are basically laughing at him, saying that the more they say Obama isn't doing enough for them, the more he does for them, and he argues that even the bankers were saying that they expected conditions to be put on the bailouts and even knew that it was in their long-term best interest, and were shocked that Obama did nothing of the sort. It is outrageous, I had high hopes he was going to go in there and nationalize the banks and make a quick left-turn into socialism, with immediate benefits to be had which might have convinced the country of how wrong-headed the Republicans really are, instead he let the banks take everyone up the ass and we are in one awful damn mess now. Sorry for the rant, but I am pretty pissed off and I'm not about to take it much longer. Look for my new discussion post coming up, I'm gathering some ammunition to point out the real problem in the world.

I vote, not because my one vote will make any difference, but if all the cynicals who don't vote would turn around and CAST a vote, maybe we COULD make a difference. To paraphrase a song of the 60's, "One man's hands can't move to push the plow, 2 men's hands can't move to push the plow, but if 2 and 2 and 50 make a million, we will see the world go round, we will see the world go round."

Yeah, I'm a hopeless idealist, but "if we don't hang together, we will surely hang separately" to quote a far earlier figure!

Ah, more quotes from Natalie! I liked the first two very much, and I like these two very much as well, but again, I could easily offer up counterarguments which apply to this particular discussion. Firstly, more votes doesn't mean better votes. You might persuade people who would otherwise not have voted to vote for the wrong candidates. Just because millions more people voted, doesn't mean the results would turn out any different. And it seems we are already hanging separately, despite our votes. That is the whole point. The system itself is broken, and more votes within a broken voting system will not fix the system. Something else is needed. Certainly voter apathy isn't the solution, but it can draw attention to the problem and as such is useful.

Hey Wanderer, my thoughts on the banks are the same. It was apparent to me that nationalizing, at least temporarily would be best. Feds would have been able to implement reasonable loan standards and refrain from imposing the worst conditions of repayment on those who are least able to pay. Also would have reduced the deficit. Without nationalization or conditions I knew the pendulum would swing the other way after the easy money. Failing to place conditions on the money was really stupid.

Where I have not formed an opinion is the aftermath of Perry or whichever right winger. Will another theocrat be elected or will the country be courted by empty promises of "change"?

I have been thinking about this business of nationalizing the banks for a while, and it seems to me that, if it were done right, which I wouldn't trust this administration with by the way, it could be one of the best things for this country. Why should the richest country in the world be borrowers, eyeball-deep in debt, while its private banks hoard cash and impose a virtual world order? They OWN the US government. We should be the lenders to the world, not the borrowers, helping raise everyone up with us rather than bringing everyone down with us. This is the biggest problem the world is facing I think. The utter immorality of not taking control of our monetary policy, and making it work for humanity rather than a handful of bankers, is causing the rest of humanity to toil in virtual slavery while a few super-mega-ultra-rich reap all the rewards of humanity's hard work through compounded interest.

I never liked Andrew Jackson anyhow.

Makes sense to me. The only downside is the employees and shareholders of banks.

Yeah, those poor CEO's won't get their outrageous bonuses, and fatcats with huge stock portfolios won't see giant returns on their investment. Sorry, what's the downside?

i take it back, since this is a fantasy bank there is no downside.  $)

 

It depends on whether the banks continue to operate. If they do, their profitability is presumably reduced, and their investment value suffers accordingly. Depreciated stock value impacts little people along with fat cats.

If the banks are bought out by the government there may be no negative stock impact but there is the issue of whether employees of the bank will have a job.

On balance nationalizing banks is likely beneficial for the people. Fair and uniform national standards for lending without gouging the most vulnerable borrowers would be an improvement.

You guys can bitch and moan about "not living in a democracy" because you have no clue what it is like to live in terror and tyranny. America is one of the greatest democracies and free societies in the world. Only people who have never experienced oppression can spit in the face of freedom. In America, someone can be born poor or an immigrant and through hard work, dedication, creativity, and innovation be successful, wealthy, and prosperous. It is quite a shame some of the self-hating masochists.
Mr. Sassan, first of all I don't like your tone. I don't like being told I am "bitching". I also don't like your presumption that I have "no clue what it is like to live in terror and tyranny." For your information, I have been living in Saudi Arabia for two years, so I'm pretty sure I know all about what it is like to live in an authoritarian, monarchical, tyrannical dictatorship. So I have experienced oppression, and I assure you I am not spitting in the face of freedom. Far from it, in fact I am drawing attention to the lack of freedom we have here in the US. To be sure, we have it better than in most other places in the world, but my point is that we are much more alike then you seem to think. Have you been poor here in the US, and then worked your way up to being successful and wealthy? It is not as easy as you might imagine. The so-called American dream is evaporating, and few people seem to have any clue as to how to fix that problem, so for you to come in here and shout that there isn't a problem at all does those of us working to make life here better for the underprivileged does no good, it undermines our work, and spits in the face of the people here who suffer under the yolk of tyranny. Just because other countries have had it so much worse does not mean that we should simply accept our own "tyranny-light".

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