On Nov. 7, 2017, U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York, tweeted, “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.” Congress obeyed the donors and passed tax cuts that greatly benefit the wealthy, ignoring the opinions or welfare of lower income voters.

In a democracy the foundational principle is “one person one vote,” but in the United States the power of wealth is the reality; we are not a democracy. No, this is how a representative republic works and the US Constitution “guarantees” to the states a republican form of government.

The reason a tiny minority believe they are entitled to control our governments and eclipse the will of 146 million voters is in the nature of company ownership and how companies are directed. Corporations are owned by shareholders and voting rights are determined by your degree of ownership, or wealth. Own a thousand shares and you have a thousand times more voting power than the person who owns one share. Corporations listen to a few major shareholders, which often are the executives and board members.

This paradigm of voting power is then internalized by employers and employees and applied to political power.

To change this system we must transition ownership of companies from distant shareholders to local employees, cooperatives and nonprofit organizations. We should have democratically owned and directed factories, utilities, health care, housing, restaurants, auto dealers — almost everything.

 

Brad Sherwood

Waterville

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