Working Class Need, Corporate Greed: How Wealth Has Become Political Capital in America

by Caleb Rodriguez

The purpose of his thesis is to elucidate, as clearly and concisely as possible, the primary causes of the growing inequality between America’s top wealthiest earners and those who barely scrape by on dollars a day. The issue at hand is important because America seems to be reaching an economic tipping point; citizens are becoming more aware of the inequalities in wealth and are asking important questions. In June of 2011, James Carville posited that “if [the growing inequality] continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country… I think it’s imminently possible.” In fact, Carville’s prediction was correct—a mere five months later and the Occupy Wall Street movement, a movement with the purpose of protesting corporate involvement in American politics (among other things), has gone global. Thus, these questions are possibly the most important questions regarding the modern U.S. political and economic condition.

The thesis is comprised of three chapters. The first is a historical account of wages and labor. The second details tax loopholes that big business has used to reduce their tax burdens. The final chapter is a comprehensive examination of the most corrupt politicians in America and what they are doing to ensure the lower classes are not receiving their fair share.

The data are startling, but there is hope to return to political equality—and that hope lies within each of us working as a democracy by the people, for the people. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that political equality is “meaningless in the face of economic inequality.” This rings true today more than ever before. The threat to democracy that manifests from concentrated economic and political power must be eliminated if there is any hope to return to an idea of meaningful democratic rule.