You wrote: “American prosperity has been based more on predation, people keeping others down, than it has on people lifting each other up.”
I think you mistake cause and effect here, as do most Spcialists. There are very few Rich people who have the type of control you think they have.
What has occurred instead is a bunch of policies meant to prop up the system, which wildly benefited people who owned assets. But those misguided policies, like QE, were NOT recommended by the Rich. Instead, perversely, they were done to help the poor, but instead inflated asset prices, worsening things for the bottom 80%