John Ransom

The executive director of Oligarchy USA, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, won’t say publicly if the country is an oligarchy because she doesn’t want to get into “labels.”

When pressed by Col., er, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) about income inequality and its trend toward oligarchy, Yellen dodged the question in recent testimony while offering Col. Sanders rhetorical support for his position that the U.S. is an oligarchy of the rich versus everyone else.

“I prefer not to give labels, but there’s no question we’ve had the trend toward growing inequality, and I personally find it very worrisome trend that deserves the attention of policy makers,” Yellen said deftly.

As our friends at ZeroHedge observed about her answer: At least she didn’t flat out lie.

More worrisome, as ZH affirmed, is that the question had to be asked at all.

Most worrisome, however, is that neither Yellen nor Sanders really understand what they are talking about.

Sanders looks at the concession to oligarchy as a gottcha question that supports his notion that all we have to do is tax the rich even more to make the oligarchy crumble.

Yellen isn’t as clear. Her answer is more one of a diplomat trying to obscure her views than that of an oligarch trying to soak people whose views are different than her own.

Because it’s not rich versus poor that makes an oligarchy—not in the old Soviet Union or in the New Soviet Union.

Ask Mikhail Khodorkovsky, billionaire oil tycoon, and oligarch, who nonetheless served time in Russian prison for crossing swords with Vladimir Putin, if money makes the oligarch.

Or ask any of the 6,000 other “white collar” criminals who, according to Forbes, served time in Russia in prisons because they “ran afoul of the Putin administration”, if somehow simply being rich were enough to save them.

The United States has always had its share of very wealthy people, yet somehow remained free of the corruption of oligarchy, for the most part.

But not today.

And the reason is clear.

A government with the ability to create $5-$6 trillion dollars out of thin air—almost half our yearly GDP-- and distribute it to its backers, is by its very definition an oligarchy.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.
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