July 4 - Are We Still a Democracy or Have We Become a Plutocracy?; Have the Koch Brothers Bought the US Government?

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Full Program


Part 1

We begin on this 4th of July, as we celebrate American democracy, with the question of how much of a democracy we still are and to what extent have we become a plutocracy, given that just two plutocrats, the Koch brothers, have essentially bought the U.S. Congress along with the presidency which are both enacting the Koch’s agenda at the expense of the American people. Jeffrey Winters, a Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University where he specializes on oligarchs and elites spanning a range of historical and contemporary cases from ancient Athens and Rome to Indonesia, Russia and the United States, joins us. He is the author of “Oligarchy” and we will discuss how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has turned our political system into a money competition in which the race goes to the richest donor who can buy the most politicians, which is exactly what the Koch brothers and their network have done.


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Part 2

Then we explore further the question of whether or not we are still a democracy or have become a plutocracy with Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking who served as the Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. He joins us to discuss how the plutocrats succeeded is having one of their own, Donald Trump, barely win the presidency running as a populists against the moneyed establishment. And how now Trump, and the Congress elected by the Koch network, are now rewarding their donors with tax cuts for the rich, opening up offshore drilling, bringing back coal, turning on the tar sands pipeline, crippling the EPA and reversing U.S leadership on climate change.

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