An aristocrat is a member of a privileged ruling class. America's aristocrats are the 535 Congressmen who rule this country. This privileged few make the regulations that become the laws of the land. Then they use their unbridled power to exempt themselves from laws that affect the rest of us. For example, pension, healthcare, insider trading, and IPO laws do not apply to the aristocrats who run this country.
Two major differences separate the royalty who ran Europe and the American version of aristocrats. In Europe, membership in the aristocracy was a birthright. In America, you have to win an election to become a member. In Europe, aristocrats committed felonies with impunity. In America, aristocrats can be prosecuted for felonies if they are caught on tape, there are eyewitnesses, and the crime makes headlines.
Politicians spend vast amounts of money manipulating public opinion to win elections and gain admittance to the aristocracy. They also have an ongoing need for increasing amounts of money to stay in power. They say power corrupts. Aristocrats will do whatever it takes to remain in office.
The unquenchable need for money helped create special interest groups. Industry executives pay aristocrats to approve legislation that protects their revenues and profits. Our founding fathers would roll over in their graves if they knew a new aristocracy had taken control of America.
A robber baron is a US capitalist who acquires vast wealth by exploitation and ruthlessness. One of the biggest special interest groups in America is major corporations -- a group that collectively populates Wall Street.
Financial service companies spend more than $300 million per year on lobbyists who dispense money to aristocrats who pass regulations that protect the financial interests of companies and their executives.
Companies are not robber barons; the executives who run the companies are the robber barons. On a regular basis, they rob Americans of their personal wealth, and they do so with the impunity that they purchased from the aristocrats.
How else do you explain Wall Street actions that have cost investors and taxpayers trillions of dollars, yet not one robber baron that runs a major financial service company has been indicted or sent to jail?
Aristocrats allow robber barons to make millions in compensation while their companies pay fines for fraudulent acts without admitting guilt. Most of the time, the fines are a small percentage of the revenues and profits that were earned by the robber barons' companies. Fines are not a deterrent they are a cost of doing business for companies
The aristocrats receive gobs of money and the robber barons make gobs of money in salary, bonus, and stock options. The loser is the American public, which has been disenfranchised by greed and the aristocrats' insatiable thirst for power.
I wrote this article to shine a spotlight on the incestuous relationship that exists between politicians and Wall Street executives. Corrupt politicians regulate greedy executives. Do not expect this lucrative partnership to change until there is full transparency and executives go to jail when they make decisions that break the law.
Haven't we suffered enough with trillions of dollars of investment losses and millions of unemployed? The solution starts in Washington, DC, not in New York City.