... but we also have to remember another big reason why the wealthy have more influence in politics: Wealthy people are the ones in office themselves.
If millionaires in the United States formed their own political party, that party would make up just 3 percent of the country, but it would have a majority in the House of Representatives, a filibuster-proof super-majority in the Senate, a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court and a man in the White House. If working-class Americans — people with manual-labor and service-industry jobs — were a political party, that party would have made up more than half of the country since the start of the 20th century, but its legislators (those who last worked in blue-collar jobs before getting into politics) would never have held more than 2 percent of the seats in Congress.
For the last seven years, I’ve been studying the startling economic gulf between ordinary Americans and the people who represent them in the halls of power. My research suggests that we have government for the privileged in the United States in part because we have government by the privileged.