How to Reclaim the American Dream from Dollar Democracy


In the 2012 elections, Congressional and Presidential candidates and their supporters raised and spent over $6.2 billion dollars. The bulk of this money came from the richest one- half of one percent of the US population. As Will Rogers said, “We have the best Congress money can buy”!

Buying access to politicians with their big-money donations, super-rich individuals and lobbyists hired by big corporations, can walk into the offices of Congresspersons to whom they donated, and ask for favors such as huge tax cuts, tax loopholes and subsidies, deregulation, and other favors for their multinational corporations. As a result, our corporate-funded politicians often give the super-rich what they want and deny the American middle class and poor the equal opportunity we need: funding for small business growth, world-class public schools, affordable college tuition, high paying jobs, and universal health care.

Corporate sponsored politicians gave corporations the stock option tax loophole, the off-shoring tax loophole, and the oil severance tax loophole, which have been used by Facebook, Apple, and Chevron to legally avoid millions and billions in taxes, while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare from the government. These politicians have also cut taxes overwhelmingly for the super wealthy, many of whom are their campaign donors.

In my new book, Dollar Democracy: with Liberty and Justice for Some; How to Reclaim the American Dream for All, you’ll find out how millions of regular Americans were victimized by Dollar Democracy. Because politicians have taken the side of their wealthy donors, not the side of the American people, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is disappearing. Here are some of the outrageous results of this Dollar Democracy:

• The 400 richest families in America own the same amount of wealth as 150 million people, half of America.

• The gap between the average CEO’s salary and the average worker’s salary is 400 to 1, up from 40 to 1 in 1980.

• The top 1% captured 93% of the new income generated since 2009, the technical “end” of the Great Recession.

• 40 million college graduates in America each have an average of $30,000 in student debt, totaling $1.2 trillion.

• This generation will be the first in modern American history to do worse than their parents, if the current trends continue.

• A new poll from CNN/ORC International shows that 59% of adults think the American Dream has become impossible for most to achieve.

My book, Dollar Democracy, shows how our corporate-bought politicians (who’s your daddy?) are:

• selling out the American Dream by outsourcing high paying middle-class jobs, through free trade, not fair trade,

• dismantling public schools, colleges, and universities for middle class and poor Americans (the 99%),

• blocking healthcare for all Americans,

• destroying our environment for immediate profits,

• sickening our food and endangering our drinking water, by allowing big agribusiness corporations to use harmful pesticides and serve us unhealthy, poorly tested, genetically modified (GMO) foods,

• giving Wall Street the Goldmine and Main Street the Shaft. According to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, through planned deception, 99% of the $767 billion bailout provided full recovery and prosperity for the big Wall Street investment banks and financial institutions; only 1% of the bailout funds went to struggling homeowners.

Congresspersons are choosing their rich donors over suffering working Americans. Here are some shocking examples:

• Manny Arroyo, a 62 year old Nevada man, who worked decades for a large US corporation, and has “full health care coverage,” loses his wife to cancer and is stuck with approximately $10,000 in “co-payments.” This crushing debt is a heavy enough burden on his life. Even more heartbreaking for him is his belief that his wife’s death may have been unnecessary! He believes that if their healthcare providers had not delayed specialized diagnosis and treatment, her brain cancer may have been found and treated before it killed her. Because of Dollar Democracy, Obamacare, while a small step in the right direction, will not fully address the needs of people like Breanna and Manny, even when fully implemented. A single-payer, Medicare-for-all system such as Canada’s would have covered them fully with no individual charges.

• Rob McGann, of Pensacola, Fla., a purchasing agent for Boeing with an MBA degree was laid off and found part-time work at a Publix supermarket. Despite working full-time his present pay is much lower than his previous. He’s looking for higher-paying professional work but his potential employers say he is overqualified. The huge drop in income has left him sliding precariously out of the American middle class. He says, “It’s tough, it still is. It’s something I think about not only all day and every day, but all the time.”

• A Californian, Sherry Hernandez’s new bank would not honor the temporary loan modification agreed to by her previous bank, and decided to foreclose on the home owned by Sherry and her husband Alfredo. She has won a Stay of Eviction while her case is being appealed. Her full story is in my book.

The above tragic scenarios could have been avoided if American political leaders were not bought by wealthy corporate and individual donors. America must reject this Dollar Democracy and replace it with Real Democracy based on Clean Money publicly financed elections as practiced in Maine, Arizona and few other states. Then, our elected leaders will be free to make decisions that benefit the public interest and promote the “general Welfare” as mandated in the preamble of our Constitution. They can then pursue policies of fair trade, creating high paying jobs, rebuilding the middle class, a universal health care system that covers every American, and a tuition free public education system from preschool through technical school, trade school, college and university.

To find out who is funding the campaigns of members of Congress and other elected officials, visit

Peter Mathews is a professor of political science at Cypress College, an adjunct professor of sociology at Long Beach City College, has taught at California State University, Fullerton, and is a political analyst and contributing partner on the “Head-On” show on KEIB AM Radio 1150 in Los Angeles, Calif. See

From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2014

Blog | Current Issue | Back Issues | Essays | Links

About the Progressive Populist | How to Subscribe | How to Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 The Progressive Populist
PO Box 819, Manchaca TX 78652