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How to Fix What's Really Wrong With the American Government

Roger D Rothenberger - October 2004

Most of America's many political, economic and social ills are caused or aggravated by its most fundamental problem: America is not a democracy. America is a plutocracy governed by a wealthy few. Its government is populated by and first and best serves the wealthy who hold a perpetual hegemony of power and wealth through the generations, much to the detriment of the rest of the populous. Elections, offices and the favors of government are bought just like any other commodity.

While the major political parties embrace some differing secondary issues that attract each of us to one over the other, they all embrace and do not alter the current plutocracy. Therefore, the fundamental injustices and the many social and economic problems caused by the plutocracy are never repaired. Superficial reform and eternal tinkering will never fix the problem. The problem is not which party or who populates the government. The problem lies in its design, its structure and the distribution of its powers. The wealthy and wealth serving hold a hegemony of power over the electoral process and in all three branches while all others are excluded.

Our current plutocracy is not the result of irresponsible wealthy corporations and individuals corrupting in recent decades our once-sacred democracy. The creators of America's constitution and government were among the wealthy aristocrats of their day. When creating their new government, the founders excluded democracy to the extent politically possible at the time. They embraced instead the republican form of government, so-called "representative" democracy.

The great failure of representative democracy is that supposed representatives do not fairly represent the entire populous but themselves and their wealthy clients first and best. Thus, the republican form of government always degenerates into plutocracy, governance by the wealthy. In truth, it starts out as plutocracy and never rises above it.

The greatest service of the representative form for the wealthy is that while excluding democracy it appears to be one. People dutifully vote and believe the myth that America is a democracy, albeit a strangely unresponsive one that they repeatedly try and fail to make work for them. Thus, unrecognized for what it is by most people, the continued existence of the American plutocracy is assured.

As dramatically demonstrated by their rapid increase of power and wealth in recent decades and by the economic decline of all others, the wealthy few who occupy the coordinated and mutually supportive seats of power in government and elsewhere have got their act together.

The excluded many are fragmented in thousands of ways and ineffectually beg an unhearing government to include their needs and interests: minority rights, women's rights, gay rights, something of a living, corporate honesty, environmental protection, a true balance of interests, . . . The divided many claw at each other as republicans vs. democrats, left vs.right, conservatives vs. liberals, straights vs. gays, capitalists vs. socialists, "good" people vs. "bad" people, etc. Like seeds in the wind, the divided and excluded are scattered over hundreds of thousands of projects and places, each attempting to do in their own way what good they can within a national environment that is physically, mentally and spiritually poisonous to the furtherance of good.

The solution, the only possible solution, is to partially redesign the American government. I have done just that. I have written a full-length book entitled Beyond Plutocracy - True Democracy for America, hereafter simply Beyond, about how to fix what's really wrong with the American government. It is available free at

In Beyond, the profound imbalance of power currently favoring the wealthy few is corrected by the creation of a new fourth branch of government, the demos. The demos consists of the entire electorate electronically practicing a new kind of democracy designed to achieve consensus on a limited set of our nation's most important issues.

The sole power to tax and three other economic powers are removed from the other branches of government and moved into the demos. The demos also contains a new way to elect the president, senators and representatives. In our current electoral process, we are resigned to rapidly selecting "the lesser of evils" from among a few poorly known candidates financed, and, therefore, pre-selected, by the wealthy. In the demos electoral process, any number of candidates (who need not be wealthy or wealth supported) may take any amount of time to run for office and build a following. Members of the electorate may take any amount of time to study and deliberate about candidates and to reach out to each other across states or the entire nation to directly elect truly representative officeholders that resemble them in body, mind, interests and pocketbook.

My redesign of the American government results in true inclusion and representation of the entire American populous. It dramatically improves the status of gay people within government and elsewhere for the simple reason that it includes and achieves just governance for everyone.

The only way that the millions of divided people currently excluded from government will ever gain any significant measure of power and win a better world is to come together and pull together as a unified political power. But what can this diverse many come together around? They (we) should, we must, come together around the one thing we share in common: our exclusion from government.

The singular goal of the excluded many must be to win inclusion in government. This does not mean that everyone should drop what they are doing now: environmental protection, helping the poor, etc. Everyone should simply add "winning inclusion" to whatever they are currently doing.

The most convenient place to build this unified political power, the True Democracy Movement, is on the Internet at a single location. At this location, we must build the demos described in Beyond, each person working as capability, interest and time dictate. Then we must work with persistent unity and dedication to first make this demos become a political power to be reckoned with and, in due time, make it become the fourth branch of our government.

Once the entire electorate is empowered both by direct participation within the demos and by finally being able to elect truly representative representatives to the other branches of government, we can all deliberate on an equal footing within government about all of our other issues. America will finally have gone beyond plutocracy and become at long last a true democracy.

Using the media they own and the offices they occupy, the elite who most benefit from the current plutocracy have succeeded in convincing many people that any change in our current system is a radical move toward socialism or communism. This is the "red scare" tactic. The changes proposed in Beyond have nothing to do with socialism or communism. They merely introduce a judicious measure of true democracy and fair representation into our government.

Significant change is characterized by the elite as activism and radicalism. In truth, our current plutocracy is extremely radical, and the elite's relentless fight to ever increase its power, wealth and privilege is extreme activism. Beyond's "consensus government" is designed to avoid all extremes and achieve a moderate consensus of the entire electorate - a golden mean - that facilitates individual freedom, personal responsibility and good citizenship.

In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wrote that it is our right and duty to throw off despotism. We now suffer a despotism of extreme plutocracy. Individual freedom, the attempt to achieve true democracy, and truly free enterprise not under the foot of government-favored corporate giants are all under assault from the radical elite. It is our right and duty to win true democracy, honest representation and just governance for our nation and the generations to come.

The design of government has improved throughout human history. Over two hundred years of experience with our government's current design has clearly shown that it has serious flaws. But these flaws can be repaired. The proposals made in Beyond are offered for your consideration as the right corrective measures for what is really wrong with our government.

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