Every economy is planned. The essential political question is who gets to do the planning.
Likewise, every economy is a mix between state and private actors.
After 40 plus years of neoliberal “reforms”, the dominant actors in the US are financial. They’ve accomplished this through a takeover of government leading to a privatization of essential services while cutting back Social Security, Medicare and infrastructure spending to pay for America’s increasing militarization, subsidies and tax cuts for the 1%. The usual word for this is oligarchy.
Presently, the Democratic primary offers an fascinating window into the political question of who will get to plan our economy–Wall Street or “we the people”. Unfortunately the Democratic National Committee (DNC), an entity that currently serves entrenched financial power while pretending to represent “we the people”, is invested in obscuring the crucial question of power with their obsessive focus on the horse-race aspect of the election.
There’s a reason for this obfuscation. Financial power’s main concern is the ability to remain opaque. Exposure weakens it, by definition. Once exposed, this financial power faces questions about its legitimacy, its methods, its purposes. Thus Wall Street does not want to be seen as the key funder of the Democrats. The neoliberal DNC and the Democratic party has had a good long run where they’ve been able to fool the average Democratic voter into believing that they represent them instead of Wall Street but the 2020 primary seriously threatens that arrangement.
The Democratic party is one of the two national parties whose role, like the corporate media, is to conceal the financial power of our oligarchy. Its function is to create the illusion of choice, and thereby keep the viewing public engrossed in the kayfabe our political process has become. That does not mean that there are no differences between the Republican and Democratic parties. There are, and for some people they are meaningful and can be vitally important. But those differences are minor from the perspective of financial power.
Understanding this dynamic helps explain the corporate media’s extreme hostility towards the Sanders campaign. The corporate media has been crucial in maintaining the pretense that the Democrats represents average Americans instead of Wall Street. Going further, the corporate the media exists in its present form precisely to uphold financial power, rationalise it, propagandize for it, and refine it so as to better conceal it.
Sanders rise is an existential threat to this arrangement.
The problem for our elite is that financial capitalism is in a crisis of legitimacy. American voters of all ages, but especially young people, don’t believe in it anymore. Similarly to the 2016 election they see no future for themselves in this system, and are explicitly rejecting it. Polls show about half of young people have a favorable view of socialism, or consider themselves socialists. They may have a muddled understanding of socialism but they do know that they hate the present system of financial capitalism that they live under. It’s also becoming more and more apparent that they don’t think that these oligarchs have a right to rule over them and to determine what kind of lives they will lead.
Going forward, Bernie’s success or lack there of will determine just how obstructionist the DNC and their ultimate funder–Wall Street–will be. We are already seeing the outlines of the attacks to come with the unnamed intelligence sources claiming that the Russians are planning on aiding the Sanders campaign. According to the Times article headlined Same Goal, Different Playbook: Why Russia Would Support Trump and Sanders: Bernie has been “warned… of evidence that he is the Russian president’s favorite Democrat.”
Our feral elite are clearly losing it. They can’t even come up with any new material and are just recycling 2016’s Russia-gate attacks against Trump.
Sanders continued ascendance will make the choice stark: either to accept who the voters choose–namely, Bernie Sanders– or try to muscle in the odious Bloomberg, who is acceptable to their Wall Street funders, and is certain to lose to Donald Trump in November.
It’s become obvious that for the DNC and their Wall Street backers, this outcome would be preferable to a Sanders win. The neoliberal elite that control the DNC are absolutely terrified of actually winning under Sanders and having to enact policies that impair their Wall Street patrons. They’d much rather have a good showing then lose and be able to maintain their jobs and positions of power within the party than be faced with the daunting prospect of winning and governing with Bernie.