We constantly hear that there is not enough money for all sorts of government and nonprofit programs and projects that would make our lives better (or even bearable). Too many of us know that there is not enough money in our family budgets to make ends meet. And we’re told there is not enough money to pay down the national debt (itself a controversial fiscal strategy) unless we cut things back even further. Pundits and politicians say “We’re sorry, but our nation is collectively broke.”
But that’s a lie. The United States, as a nation, is not running out of cash. There is PLENTY of money. Check out this remarkable video that makes it crystal clear where that money is. (Dan Drasin, who sent it to me, had only three letters in his message: OMG…)
Aside from its message of profound income inequality – which inspires a response of “This is unfair!” – there are two other very important points to realize about this situation:
1. That much money buys influence — LOTS of it. Imagine how many people you can hire at minimum wage to do street-level political work for you. Imagine the amount of advertising space you can buy in magazines, newspapers, TV and online – not just to shape the public’s views with your ads, but to make the news media dependent on you for revenue. Imagine how many favors you can do for politicians, how many lobbyists and professional consultants and PR people you can hire. We’re not talking yachts and mansions here. We’re talking about controlling what happens in a democratic republic (that doesn’t happen to be as sovereign as it thinks it is). We’re talking about buying policies that will give the policy-purchaser even more money and power.
2. Notice how much more powerful this chart-based video story is than a list of numbers. Notice how superbly it communicates what it is trying to say. Think of how hard it is for our minds to comprehend billions and nanometers and — heaven help us — parts per million (ppm). Notice what it takes for us to become “informed voters” and how easy it is to manipulate us until we are. Think about how the excess wealth in (1) above makes it easy for the super-rich side of every political argument to do the market research that reveals what will shape how our 10,000 year old bodyminds react to different presentations and messages — and then to make just the right chart or just the right video to spin millions of us voters in their direction.
What would it take to change that? What would it take for us to support the chart-makers and video-makers and researchers and visionaries and organizers that are working to reclaim democracy for ordinary people? What will our world look like if we don’t support them? What will it look like if we do, and if we succeed, and if we use our reclaimed political and governmental and economic systems to create a fabulous world for our grandchildren?