Capitalistic democracies can hold people accountable. Rich folks have been paying advertising agencies and lobbyists to keep their fortunes intact. Poor folks need to recognize this and vote appropriately.
When Democrats were elected in 2008 to both houses of congress and the presidency, they were able to pass the Affordable Care Act, which raised taxes on the rich to take care of the poor, and also pass a trillion dollar stimulus, most of which were tax breaks and funds to keep teachers and other public servants paid. They also passed a law requiring auto manufacturers to raise fuel standards to 55 MPG by 2025 and supported tax breaks for the renewable energy industry that lasted long enough for them to become competitive with the fossil fuel industry. It is now possible that they may produce more profits and oil-producing nations like Saudi Arabia are sweating about the end of the “good times.” Furthermore, Democrats passed financial regulations to prevent another crash on Wall Street, Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They couldn’t retroactively punish people for breaking laws that didn’t exist before, but the regulations seem to have worked for the most part.
It turns out that not enough poor folks see this clearly. The advertising of the oligarchs works. They don’t see how electric Teslas and solar panels are going to make their lives better, even if it’s their neighbors who own them. Too many of them didn’t realize that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were the same. And they didn’t notice that Republicans blocked more investment in the country’s infrastructure for the last six years of Obama’s Presidency, because they let them gain a majority in congress in 2010. -That infrastructure investment would have meant lots of jobs. It could have meant more taxes on the rehab aristocracy to pay poor folks. And they don’t recognize that the new Republican government is about to get rid of Dodd-Frank and crash the economy again.
Poor folks can essentially vote to take money away from rich people. They just don’t. It sounds unfair to them. They’ve been told that will be bad for the economy. They’ve been told that rich people might just move away, taking even more jobs with them. And maybe, with the international spread of rehab clinics and offshore bank accounts, there’s some truth to that. Poor folks may need to figure out some way to empower an international governing body like the UN to tax them. But I think if we agree to pressure the US and the EU to do this, these governments can also pressure whatever country hosts these offshore accounts, either with US warships or sanctions, and we can spread the money around a bit more — not even as welfare-type entitlements, but with productive jobs helping one another.
Of course those with power will keep doing what they can to keep their money. Industries will change. Carmaggedon is coming, for example, for better and for worse. Poor folks will have to keep learning new jobs — transition from being coal miners, oil workers and truck drivers to medical workers, therapists, teachers, hospitality workers, and environmental mitigation workers. Goodness and hope can flourish. We just need to choose it.