Political Science Homework Paper on American Oligarchy

American Oligarchy

The US is currently an oligarchy having moved from plutocracy and from the initial democracy. This is the main reason why majority of the Americans are suffering due to the economic inequality, which is under the control of the minority economic elites and business groups. Studies have indicated that in the recent years, the richest of the Americans constitute one percent of the population but they control ninety five percent of all income growth. For a long time, it has always been suspected that the public and the elite opinion differ with regard to policy issues that affect the lives of the Americans. The president himself once made an assertion that that inequality is the defining issue of our times and true to this statement, the Americans can already experience the tendencies towards inequality as well as the widespread reallocation of resources from labor to capital, which may even get worse. The president’s statement may be looked into in either economic or political terms but Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page’s is clearly focused on the political perspective.

According to Gilens and Page, the views of the average Americans put little or sometimes no influence on the policy outcomes if the views of economic elites and thriving business groups are put into consideration. This does not imply that the views of the ordinary citizens are never important or that no policy ever aligns with their views. The policies only align with the wishes of the average Americans only if those views are in agreement with the views of the economic elites, but if their opinions disagree, it is usually the elites that triumph over the ordinary citizens.

Political inequality can be seen as one of the strongest factors that aggravate the challenges that come with economic inequality. For instance, if a proposed policy is one that alleviates economic inequality, it is highly likely that the policy would not be supported by the economic elites and the business groups because they are the ones that profit from the inequality. On the other hand, if a proposed policy is one that could increase the economic inequality, it is highly likely that the policy will receive enormous support from the economic elites and the business groups and will probably be enacted even if the majority, who are ordinary citizens oppose because their views have very little effect.

Based on the above arguments, so long as the economic elites and the business groups continue to control important policy decisions and the political processes, important steps to aid in the reduction of economic inequality will always amount to nothing. For instance, a good example of this difference arose in the issue of immigration. Last year, a national poll carried out by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations revealed an huge gap between the opinions of the elites and the general American citizens on immigration. The institute reported that sixty percent of the ordinary American citizens felt that the issue of immigration posed a serious threat to the imperative interests of the US against the opinion of only fourteen percent of the nation’s elites. The time has come for Americans to separate the truth from half-truths and recognize that democracy is on trial if they ever want a change through the serious actions of the majority in fixing and restoring democracy.