News and Tribune

November 18, 2013

CUMMINS: Is it time to change our form of government?


JEFFERSONVILLE — The American people must decide once and for all how we want to be governed. There are several choices including theocracy, autocracy, plutocracy, and our current democracy, which shut down a few weeks ago. We almost went into anarchy where the people rise up against established government like the Tea Party did.

 Each form of government has its advantages. Under theocracy, rule by “divine right,” the leaders wear robes and make laws that God tells them to make, such as demanding women keep their faces covered, and if they drive a car, they run the risk of being stoned. Autocracy is absolute rule by a dictatorial tyrant, but eventually most end up strung up on a rope. Many citizens think we’ve let plutocracy take over our democracy. Plutocracy is rule by about one percent of the filthy rich. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it buys power to buy votes that power lawmakers to serve those who write the campaign checks.  

Our beloved nation began with a representative democracy governed by democrats. They’re not the silly, liberal Democrats, but elected officials that once represented you and me, but now represent themselves and the humongous corporations, ruled by plutocrats. If we had a pure democracy, you could vote several times each day on many issues. For example, you could vote tomorrow on, “Do you want Obamacare? Mark yes or no and email it to Do not text, tweet or mail in a paper ballot, because our central government computer might get mixed up or bogged down.” (Talk about mixed up and bogged down, did you know that government spent an estimated $2.1 million on every soldier sent to Iraq and Afghanistan the past 10 years?)

 If the masses voted on Obamacare, it would settle health care once and for all. Since the poor outnumber the rich, the poor should rule, shouldn’t they? That wouldn’t work, because too many citizens are so busy looking for work or making a living, they don’t even have time to vote once a year.

 In a representative democracy, elected officials must choose whom to represent. Plutocrats — think $$$ to the billionth power — have the bread and butter to spread wherever they want. They share it with the lawmakers, who make laws based on the amount of bread they get. In other words, our nation is ruled by the 1 percent in control of the national bakery.

Wealth or the lack of it has always been a world-wide problem.  Wealth may not buy happiness, but it certainly buys power, and power has a tendency to corrupt. What’s a campaign fund for? But not all wealth corrupts. Bill Gates, the Microsoft Man, does not have a campaign fund. He works hard giving billions away to provide health care to the world’s poor.

While Gates and others give it away, the plutocrats are taking it away from the impoverished, who live in the richest nation on earth. If you live on a street with six homes, one is occupied by a family living in poverty, nearly 49 million of them. The current poverty-rate cutoff point is $23,492 for a family of four.

Say John and Mary and their two kids struggle as John draws unemployment until it runs out, or makes minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, about $14,500 per year. Let Mary get a job and double the family income to $29,000 per year. That puts them at about $4,500 above the poverty line. Throw in a few food stamps and the family moves to easy street. How can the losing candidate in the last presidential election, who makes $58,000 per day just on his investments, relate to those living in poverty?

Whoever runs our government — Obama, Congress or the plutocrats — the poor and middle class are caught in the middle. The powers that be, the political power brokers with pockets lined by plutocrats have curtailed or cut back on funds for libraries, early childhood education, food stamps and child care for low- income workers. They’ve prevented a minimum-wage increase and are fighting to kill Obamacare. Kill it and then what? The education, health and welfare of our poor are moral and ethical issues. An educated and healthy populace makes an economy boom. Is representative democracy nothing but politics?  

Why not a try a pure democracy and let the people vote on everything? The plutocrats could pay the poor to vote for their interests. That wouldn’t work either. What will?

— Contact Terry Cummins at