Preview: Plutocracy Rising

October 17, 2012

The One Percent is not only increasing their share of wealth — they’re using it to spread millions among political candidates who serve their interests. Example: Goldman Sachs, which gave more money than any other major American corporation to Barack Obama in 2008, is switching alliances this year; their employees have given $900,000 both to Mitt Romney’s campaign and to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future. Why? Because, says the Wall Street Journal, the Goldman Sachs gang felt betrayed by President Obama’s modest attempts at financial reform.

On this week’s Moyers & Company (check local listings), Bill is joined by two veteran journalists to discuss how the super-rich have willfully confused their self-interest with America’s interest. Guests are Chrystia Freeland, author of the new book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else; and Rolling Stone magazine’s Matt Taibbi, who regularly shines his spotlight on scandals involving big business and government.

  • submit to reddit

BillMoyers.com encourages conversation and debate around issues, events and ideas related to content on Moyers & Company and the BillMoyers.com website.

  • The editorial staff reserves the right to take down comments it deems inappropriate.
  • Profanity, personal attacks, hate speech, off-topic posts, advertisements and spam will not be tolerated.
  • Do not intentionally make false or misleading statements, impersonate someone else, break the law, or condone or encourage unlawful activity.

If your comments consistently or intentionally make this community a less civil and enjoyable place to be, you and your comments will be excluded from it.

We need your help with this. If you feel a post is not in line with the comment policy, please flag it so that we can take a look. Comments and questions about our policy are welcome. Please send an email to feedback@billmoyers.com

Find out more about BillMoyers.com's privacy policy and terms of service.

  • Anonymous

    Matt Taibbi is awesome. This should be a great interview. http://www.firebrandcentral.com

  • mitaky

    How can the 99% wake up to the fact that the power to understand, define, design and issue currency for a sustainable new economic paradigm ultimately lies with them? I like to see a Bill Moyer do an interview on crucial topic. http://conscious-capitalism.blogspot.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/henry.green.501 Henry Green

    Animal
    Farm, by George Orwell is a good fit for our current moment in history. This classic work illustrates the failures of
    the totalitarian extremes of communism and capitalism.

    The
    pigs had been in charge for some time and changed the seven commandments of
    Animal Farm to one simple rule painted on the side of the barn, “all animals
    are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This was a slick way for the pigs, now beginning
    to act like the humans, to manipulate the rest of the animals. With this rule, the pigs ruled Animal Farm
    with ruthless control and the rest of the animals capitulated to their sense of
    entitlement.

    Today,
    we are living in a type of plutocracy and the entitlement group, led by Mitt
    Romney, truly believes they are “more equal.” They ask, “How could OUR COUNTRY allow this
    uppity President Obama to win again? He should
    just step aside! We know that Romney is
    ‘more equal than others’ and HE is entitled to be President!”

    So,
    what entitles Mitt Romney to be elected Boss of the Farm?

    George
    Romney, Mitt’s father, was born in Mexico to his
    fundamentalist/polygamist Mormon grandparents.
    His dad was a successful entrepreneur and made a great deal of money in
    the automobile business. He later became
    Governor of Michigan and ran for President in 1968. In that bid for the Republican nomination, Governor
    George Romney said that he was “brainwashed” by our military into supporting
    the Vietnam War and changed his position to be against the war. This weird explanation of his change in
    position earned him the title of The Manchurian Candidate and he lost the
    nomination to Richard Nixon.

    While
    all of these strange things were happening, Mitt Romney protested FOR the draft
    and the Vietnam War during his college years.
    Then, instead of being a man of courage and true to his convictions
    about the war, Mitt took a pass on going to the war he protested FOR! Instead, he went off to be a Mormon
    missionary in France
    for two years. While he was riding
    around the fields of France,
    trying to convert people to Mormonism, his peers were dying in the fields of Vietnam!

    Is
    this the man of courage we want to be our Commander in Chief and Boss of the
    Farm?

    Orwell
    was right, the pigs of plutocratic entitlement always lead others down paths of
    destruction! Mitt Romney is no
    different!

  • Zeya

    So true and well said.

  • TS

    When libertarians talk about a “free market” they are not talking about freedom in the sense of “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

    LEADING libertarian power broker Hans-Hermann Hoppe (founder of the Property and Freedom Society) w
    rites in “Democracy -The God That Failed” that Americans must learn to “voluntarily accept aristocratic rule” as the “natural order.”

    He also encourages the break up of the United States into a stateless feudalistic society. He writes: In a natural order, there is no such thing as “freedom of migration.” People cannot move about as they please. Wherever a person moves, he moves on private property; and private ownership implies the owner’s right to include as well as to exclude others from his property.

    Because libertarians believe that the existence of ANY public land or services is socialism, they insist that corporations should each have their own weaponized armies and police forces –as well as the authority to run private courts.

    Currently, our government (democrats in particularly) interferes with their plans. They insist that this limits “their freedom” to become even more rich and powerful (to create the country they want on our soil).

    https://mises.org/store/Product2.aspx?ProductId=240

  • Anonymous

    Plutocracy is definitely rising. If you think about it, not having money is really illegal in a lot of ways; for example, you have to pay for car insurance, whether you can afford it or not, and most states do not offer affordable government options. http://www.firebrandcentral.com

  • Doc

    You confuse the theoretic ideology of one person who describes him or herself by a particular label with the ideas and attitudes of everyone else who may use that label to express or identify themselves. Because one labels themself a Republican, or a Democrat, a Libertarian, or a Social Democrat, does not mean that one actually adopts all issue stands associated with that party platform. Most people aren’t even aware of the entire platforms that they label themselves with.

  • just jerry

    It really isn’t enough to complain. No matter who wins this election this problem is going to take ongfoing concerted effort to get and keep the public informed. Not just in election years; a strong building effort in no-election years will plant seeds, take root and spread more generally so that it is harder to fight off by the plutocrats in election years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fc7711 Felix Castro

    I wish that David Cay Johnston had been invited to do this show also. His book “Free Lunch” is very eye opening.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fjschreiber Frank Schreiber

    Really good analogy to Orwell’s classic.

  • DW

    TS
    Your presentation of Libertarians does not reflect the majority view. The vast majority of Libertarians are not anarchists as you describe. As with any large political group, there will always be variations in beliefs, with extremists at each end of the spectrum. However, it is misleading to suggest that all (or even most) Libertarians have such extreme views. As a Libertarian, I can assure you that you have mischaracterized most of us.

    Most Libertarians believe in the existence of a federal government, albeit limited to minimal but vital roles, such as national defense. Furthermore, most of us believe that state and local government should play a much larger role, being more responsive to local citizens and their needs, again with limited powers. These views were favored by many of our Founders, including Thomas Jefferson.

    One only needs to review the actions of any number of federal government agencies (TSA, IRS, Congress and various presidents) to understand our dislike of the ever-growing power of the federal government.

    Maximum individual liberty coupled with maximum individual responsibility is our view of a better life. No political system is perfect, but tyranny and enslavement is nearly always the result of a central government that grows too big and powerful.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seen many interviews with Libertarians, and IMO they err in that they distrust concentrated power when it is governmental but are okay with it when it is private. They also have way too much faith in private markets. There is too much temptation for private actors to pass unacceptable costs onto others, and many goods that private companies have no incentive to provide. In fact, capitalism and markets are rife with situations where incentives for individuals aggregate into poor outcomes for society. Over the years, Moyers has interviewed many libertarians on his shows, and while I have agreed with some of their positions, quite frankly they have come across as simplistic, naive and self-serving.

  • Anonymous

    I loved too his book “Perfectly Legal” on how the rich game the tax system.

  • Anonymous

    Romney also took advantage of a special deferment available only to Mormons.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LCSZH4A2T4FQPM6RIR5JJDF6SQ Jerry

    you are so WRONG dude!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.shyn Kevin Shyn

    Well said. Classic read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.shyn Kevin Shyn

    Well said. Classic.

  • Somethingtosay2

    We have just seen Moyers and NPR spend taxpayer dollars using scare tactics and their publicly funded pulpit to tell people to vote for Obama.

  • Ian Punter

    Moyers should then interview Ellen Brown (website: WebofDebt.com)