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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quote of the day--on power in America

 
There are two centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system today -- places where decisions that affect large numbers of Americans in important ways are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition. One goes by the name of the "intelligence community" and is centered in the National Security Agency within the Defense Department. If we trusted that it reasonably balanced its snooping on Americans with our nation's security needs, and that our elected representatives effectively oversaw that balance, there would be little cause for concern. But the NSA has so much power, and oversight is so thin, that we have every reason to be worried.
 
The second goes by the name of Wall Street and is centered in the five largest banks there. If we trusted that market forces kept them in check, and that they did not exercise inordinate influence over Congress and the executive branch, we would have no basis... for concern. But those banks are so large (much larger than they were when they almost melted down five years ago), have such a monopolistic grip on our financial system, and exercise so much power over Washington, that we have cause to be worried.

The reason, I think, that both the political right and left in America are equally upset about the encroachments of the NSA on the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, and about the depredations of "too big to fail or jail" Wall Street banks on our economy is, fundamentally, this toxic combination of inordinate power and lack of accountability. That neither Republicans nor Democrats have done much of anything about these two centers of unaccountable power makes me think that, if present trends continue, a third party will be borne out of the smoldering embers of these concerns.

--Robert Reich, American political economist, professor, author, and political and economic commentator

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I say again and why I keep saying that we must, must fight to end "campaign contributions." Until we get the big, ugly, corrupting influence of them out of our election and political systems, our laws and government will continue to be owned and operated by and for the wealthy and corporations.

Links:  Robert Reich

Robert Reich - Wikipedia

 

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