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Taken For Granted At Davos US Run On ‘Legalized Corruption’

While there may be confusion among some in the US as to how the American political system operates, it is apparently taken for granted by participants at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that politics in America is based on bribery and corruption.

In an interview at Davos with Bloomberg News related to growing concerns about rising wealth inequality and its corruption influence on American politics economist and NYU business professor Nouriel Roubini stated as a matter of fact that it would be hard for the US to overcome wealth inequality because the US political system was based on “legalized corruption” which meant rich people – having more resources to bribe politicians with – would generally prevail.

Tom Keene, Bloomberg: How big is the plutocracy effect in 2015?

Nouriel Roubini: It’s significant because we are in a democracy where it supposedly has to be one man, one vote, but the reality is that those who are billionaires, those that have economic and financial power can affect legislation on taxation of capital gains, of carried interest by having that political power.

In the US we have a system of legalized corruption if you think about it. K Street and the lobbying affect legislation with the money they give the politician and therefore those who have financial resources have a greater impact on the political system than those who have less. So it’s not a true democracy, it’s a plutocracy.

This is not news to anyone paying attention. In fact, Princeton University produced an exhaustive study that made headlines demonstrating that the wealthy ultimately determine legislative outcomes in the US Congress. Add to that an experiment the progressive group CREDO and UC Berkeley ran where they offered meetings to representatives with either actual constituents or non-constituent donors with the representatives overwhelmingly choosing the donors and you certainly have a picture of a cynical system run on cash.

But now it is just something obvious to be taken for granted by distinguished scholars such as Roubini that the best way to understand the political system in America is “legalized corruption.”  It’s not even worth pretending anymore. How far we’ve fallen.

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