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At Stake in 2016: Ending the Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Power


At Stake in 2016: Ending the Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Power

Robert Reich

What’s at stake this election year? Let me put as directly as I can.

America has succumbed to a vicious cycle in which great wealth translates into political power, which generates even more wealth, and even more power.

This spiral is most apparent is declining tax rates on corporations and on top personal incomes (much in the form of wider tax loopholes), along with a profusion of government bailouts and subsidies (to Wall Street bankers, hedge-fund partners, oil companies, casino tycoons, and giant agribusiness owners, among others).


Thanks, Robert, for mentioning Bernie as the candidate that will take this on. Now please gather some of your influential friends and mobilize for him.

Feel the Bern!


Americans inhabit a society run by a financial elite that refuses to recognize that war is a descent into madness and the scope and breadth of the violence it produces infects our language, values, social relations, and democracy itself."

Until control of the wars and the military is in the hands Main Street America, stopping the 1% will be impossible.


"As the reformers of the Progressive Era understood more than a century ago, no single president or any other politician can accomplish what’s needed because a system caught in the spiral of wealth and power cannot be reformed from within. It can be changed only by a mass movement of citizens pushing from the outside," writes Robert Reich.

Early in, and perhaps even prior to, his administration, Obama declared that the people would need to push him for change (to maximize political capital). The people did not. Did Obama let the people down or vice versa?

Should Bernie win, I hope that the people remember this lesson and push him--and more importantly, Congress--for the progressive reset that is so drastically needed in this country.


I agree with your first paragraph; however, there is a "room to navigate" between the difficult and the impossible.

When one considers what got rid of the Nazi's military state, it's obvious that it was outside powers.

As a variety of nations remove themselves from enslavement to the U.S. dollar's hegemonic controls, and as the weapons sold to other lands find their ways back to their source (in combat operations), and as the more nuanced Asian and perhaps Arab minds find ways to infiltrate computer systems... The Beast will at some point be undone by its foes.

My favorite myth for our times is Star Wars. It was an ad-hoc collection of all sorts of freedom loving and free thinking/acting beings that managed to find the flaw in Darth Vader's military empire. And through that flaw, take it down.


What he said.

Whatever happened to Liberal Progressives who still have enough integrity and personal influence to forcibly overcome the media blackout of All-News-Concerning-Bernie-Sanders? Are none remaining who are not in league with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Clintons and Third Way Democrats and the official Democratic Party long committed to conceding control to the Republican psychopathic Party of the New World Order? Why did you allow your voices to be silenced?


Ridiculous... "the people did not."

People mobilized in:

Occupy Wall St.
The Dreamers who worked so hard for legal citizenship
The thousands upon thousands who worked to raise the minimum wage
The thousands who mobilized to oppose oil drilling, fracking, and coal operations
The thousands who sought to keep public schools open or fight standardized test tyranny

You play the role of status quo keeper in suggesting that people didn't push Obama.

In the same way that major mass media made all anti-war (prior to the Iraqi debacle) voices invisible, places a price on the heads of those journalists (and insiders) who dare to reveal inconvenient truths, and conforms to the same Official Narratives... very little that is going on--should it conflict with Standard Operating Procedures of War and Big Business Exploitation--will be seen, heard, or tolerated.

Obama set up closed door meetings with Health Insurance companies and closed off any meaningful debates, voices, or options.

Obama pushed the Standardized Tests czars and THEIR program. Again, little outside input was allowed!

The same thing is happening with TIPP and TPP... and of course, the everlasting wars.

Public input is NOT the issue.

The Page and Gilens Study proved that almost nothing in the way of official policies (domestic or foreign) comports with the public's majority views, wishes, intentions, goals, or consent!

With an election pending, the tag team is back and along with it, the #1 meme: blame voters, the people, the one size fits all "WE" entity, and "the sheeple."


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Good post but it brings up a challenge to the line: "what got rid of the Nazi's military state"?

I believe that several of the most influential were successfully protected and not only survived but passed on influence to progeny and followers who are well and hardy today. My next question for anyone would be, by whom? Additional information with names would be most appreciated, please.


As I remember it the Tea Party grew out of opposition to Obamacare. I can't remember hearing much about the Tea Party after the bailouts. When are we going to realize that "rest of us" actually refers to people with very different views and unlikely to unite on anything involving domestic politics. The "rest of us" includes millions of people who are against big federal government and are not as worried about Wall Street as they are about the size of Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services or the fact that these federal agencies exist at all. It seems that it is some us against the 1% not the "rest of us."


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You can't disabuse yourself of the FALSE notion that life is a sandwich divided into half with have-nots on one side and haves on the other. No matter how often actual statistics are published, you PRETEND nothing exists to challenge your ridiculous view of economic reality within a class-based society.


The only way to level the playing field is to increase the marginal income tax on the super-wealthy to the order of 90 per cent that it was during the Eisenhower administration. Since taxes are controlled by Congress, that is most unlikely to happen now. Saying that we the people must do it is impossible. "We have met the enemy and they is us." to quote Pogo.


With respect to health care reform Obama did more than "close off any meaningful debates, voices, or options", his front gunner Max Baucus had doctors and nurses (who attended meetings) arrested on more than one occasion.


You are starting your time line in the middle of the events, which led to WWII and the collapse of the “Third Reich”
The conditions for the rise of Hitler were set by the victors of WWI, the same powers, which broke up the Ottoman Empire thus setting the original conditions for the eternal strife in the Middle East, which was more recently exacerbated by the assault and destabilization of Iraq by “the coalition of the willing”.
The conditions set out in the Treaty of Versailles were designed to choke off any possibility of Germany’s recovery to the status of a healthy nation. It was that humiliation and the anger it caused among the people, which allowed a despotic strongman like Hitler to arise. It had little or nothing to do with "with the proverbial technical and organizational skills of the Germans", The Brits would have reacted under very similar fashion in identical conditions.

If it had not been Hitler, there most likely would have been someone else. The situation was compressed and ready for an explosion, it only took a demagogue, any demagogue to set it off.
Without reference to this root cause of the rise of Hitler your assessment lacks its basic foundation.


It's good to see you displaying a greater range of fractions and percentages than in years past. Missed you BTW. I trust you weren't seriously ill.

I hope this won't offend you but I must admit that I wish that you, and some others, who abandon their, sometimes quite formidable, reasoning skills and resort to magical thinking, would trust relying solely on reasoning and give us that without the other because no matter how much you believe it, that is exactly what detracts and undermines whatever might be valuable in your analysis. IMHO.


What was Occupy, if not a really big SHOVE...?


This is silliness - "savior syndrome". Sanders in the WH with all the same-old same-old in Congress and as Reps would achieve very little. US electile dysfunction* will continue until the people work to select and elect at all levels of govrnment people who will represent them instead of the 1%.

*electile dysfunction - term coined by someone in Taiwan to describe the last General Election in Britain


Obama had the "bully pulpit" and for some reason refused to use it. OWS was an outcry and a plea from citizens that Obama refused to use to "make him do it." Obama, as I have said before, is a fraud and a coward. But, guess what, he is another rags to riches puppet and will toast with his wealthy handlers for years to come. As for Bernie, I guess time will once again tell. Trouble is, time is running out.


Wall Street is a very large part of the problem. That which controls the money controls all the rest!