09 August 2011

A Congress of Aristocrats

Like many Progressives, I'm often puzzled by the failure of Congress to do what seems clearly in the best interest of the American People. What seems to benefit the greatest number of Americans seems never to be given more than cursory attention in Congress, if any at all. How can anyone in Congress, for instance, place more importance on any other issue than the employment crisis? It's resolution is critical to every American not just those who are unemployed. Even those who have jobs know they can lose them easily in an economy teetering on the brink of collapse. Why did Congress focus its attention on debt and the deficit when so many Americans are so close to economic devastation?

Then the answer was revealed. In Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% Joseph E. Stiglitz writes:

Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office.

How can we expect our representatives in Congress to care about the interests of the American People when their good fortune and large fortunes shape their perspective? For the most part, they're so affluent they never will have to worry about making the next payment on a used car or finding the money to buy groceries or pay the doctor. That's a big problem.

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