The United States is an oligarchy.  The story comes from Business Insider, which is reviewing laws passed over the course of four decades and who most benefits.  When I posted the story on social media, a fellow demanded to know how I was battling the scourge.

My radio station is owned by a very large company with more than 300 signals nationwide

First, I’m employed by oligarchs.  My radio station is owned by a very large company with more than 300 signals nationwide.  I’ve worked for corporate broadcasters and I’ve worked for the vanishing mom and pop shops.  The latter is where I’ve usually encountered the worst management practices.  Corporate managers are, in my experience, generally far more competent.

As for what I do in studio Monday through Friday I never forget it’s about drawing an audience large enough to charge higher advertising rates.  If polka music was a big draw I’d be introducing Frankie Yankovic tunes.  I don’t own my show.  It’s just a lease.

When I was a college student (about the time the study cited by Business Insider started rolling) a history professor told me something I clearly remember.  All governments are founded by special interest groups.  The professor never tipped a hand when it came to politics, although.  He and my dad were friends because they shared a common military background and were self-educated blue-collar guys.

The fellow asking me what I was doing to battle the oligarchy suggested the Republic is threatened.  I remind you, the founders could easily meet the definition of oligarchy.  So it would appear oligarchs and a republican form of government can easily co-exist.

The question we might ask is are we better off than we were 40 years ago?  Most workers don’t have pension plans but then many never actually did (so many people died young in previous generations a pension wasn’t often needed).  As for our day-to-day lives, in the late 1970s my family finally installed a microwave oven in the kitchen.  We had only a handful of TV channels, no smartphones, no Internet, cars weren’t always safe and video games looked like some rudimentary form of hieroglyphics.

Medicines for a variety of ailments still hadn’t been developed.  My family doctor had been in practice since the Stone Age and I don’t believe he kept up with the latest innovations.  We still ordered clothes from a magazine and too often they arrived and didn’t fit as promised (I wore a lot of highwaters to school).  Returning them was such a chore we put them on and endured the taunts from friends.

On the football field I wore a helmet with adjustable straps inside and a thin layer of foam padding between skull and plastic.  My knee and hip pads were a thin foam and didn’t absorb much shock.  The shoulder and rib pads were heavy and flapped noisily when I ran.

Air travel was ridiculously costly and my dad drove a big old Dodge and it probably got no more than 10 miles to a gallon.

We would all like more say in how we’re governed but less than 1 percent of all Americans ever seek public office.  Like the 1970s we still have ballot boxes.  If we aren’t happy with laws designed for oligarchs then change the way you vote.  For the time being it appears the majority of voters haven’t felt pressed for serious change.  If you don’t vote then quit complaining.

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