It strikes me that we (America) are getting farther from our founding principles all the time. The first sentence of The Declaration of Independence mentions "one people" assuming "the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, ... "
The first line of The Constitution talks about "We the People" establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare, doing these things for ourselves. Coming together (forming a more perfect union) and doing these things for ourselves. Government of the people, BY the people. And, maybe most importantly, FOR the people. We do these things for our own, common good.
Does anybody see much of that anymore? I suggest that we see government of the state, by the people who get elected in elections which are entirely too corrupted by money, for the people who put up almost all of that money.
In the Federalist number ten (I believe), Madison worried about interest groups, and what might happen if our government should come to be controlled by them. He semi-dismissed the issue, apparently believing that no group could ever take enough power to "assume control." He felt that no single issue could ever unite a large enough group and that multiple issue coalitions would never be able to cohere for long. I believe he missed one.
Wealth. Wealth does two things that change the equation. First, it multiplies the size of the group, especially now that money has been ruled to be constitutionally protected "speech." So a small "interest group" becomes large. Second, it binds better than other commonalities. Its interests never vary; like a predator seeking prey, always on target. Wealth's interest is, essentially, multiplying. Like a living organism, it seeks to survive and pass on.
I suggest that our government has become an instrument of the wealthy. Every government policy is crafted with vested interests in mind, every government action is directed toward some private end. And we allow it.
Why? Two reasons. A lot of people aren't paying attention (democracy requires participation, to work) and many of the participators believe that the best way to advance the common good is to let wealth seek to multiply. I can understand this philosophy, but I do not share it. Its appeal is that efficiencies are created when rational people seek economic solutions to problems. Seeking the highest payout is a very rational approach. Its flaw is that it scores the wrong outcome.
And this is what I meant, above, that we are getting farther from our founding principles. We need to start looking, again, at the middle and not one of the poles. If we want to assess how a particular set of economic polices are working over 10 years or 30 years, or even two years, we should look at the median American family and not the (Sam) Waltons. We can still have wealth-seeking, we'll still have rational people seeking economic solutions to problems, they'll just be
OK, I going to come back to this, it's starting to drift and I'm suddenly tired. ; )