From the Tom Woods Letter:
Like many of you, I remember watching Schoolhouse Rock explain to me how a bill became a law.
And also like you, I’ve heard a lot of platitudes about the will of the people.
Yet we know this isn’t so. As Douglas MacGregor just said on Dave Smith’s podcast Part of the Problem, it’s lobbyists, not voters, who make things happen in D.C.
We know the old propaganda is wrong. We see it with our own eyes, day in and day out.
Yet that fourth-grade textbook is still going to teach the kiddos that our elected representatives are working tirelessly to pursue the will of their constituents.
(Let me pause to say: much of the time their constituents have dumb ideas and are completely uninformed. That doesn’t mean I prefer to be governed by the strongest lobbyists, which is the only current alternative.)
Well, a guest coming up this week on the Tom Woods Show, Lee Camp, alerted me to a 2014 Princeton study I had never seen before. Its conclusion: the U.S. is actually an oligarchy.
It’s Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics 12 (September 2014): 564-81.
What a surprise, right? But it’s interesting to see actual data on it.
They find that a wealthy few (and not a particularly free-market wealthy few) influence policy, while ordinary people have little influence at all: “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”
This is why I spend so much time these days on immediate, practical solutions to our daily struggles.
If these people aren’t going to listen to you, then get to work figuring out another way to make your life better. What else can we do?
So far in my School of Life program, we’ve covered how to get your spending under control, what to do with your money during these difficult times, what states are the best to relocate to, how to relocate on a budget (we have a 4,000-word report coming next week), and what your international options might be.
Next week we’ll cover how to set up an online or an offline business and make it successful. Later in April we’re going to feature a woman who runs an extremely successful cooking website, and she’ll tell us how she does it.
In future months we’ll talk about education, including of course homeschooling but also plausible college alternatives, some decent colleges where you can still send your kids, and so on. After that we’ll do a month on being healthy amid a crazy health-care system.
I’m setting up health and fitness accountability groups and business mastermind groups so we can all help each other prosper, and come to the aid of anyone who’s struggling.
So that’s pretty obviously the most important project I have going or will ever have going. It opens up again to new members in August.
For now, here’s a free goodie.
A few years ago I spoke at a conference here in Orlando to a bunch of businessmen and marketers with much bigger audiences than I have. I have actually been in sales contests with some of them, and won.
They had never heard of me, but wanted to know how I kept beating them.
So I told them.
And what I told them can be copied by other people, including you, dear reader.
It’s the best speech I’ve ever given.