V E T O C R A C Y
The word ineffective that I used is about the gentlest that can be used in describing how problematic the U.S. democracy is. Others use far stronger terms in reference to the American supposedly liberal democracy such as ‘broken’, ‘cracking’ or ‘failed’. Anyone may confirm it reviewing publications and opinions expressed by people, American citizens inclusive. Perhaps, to make what I have just written more tangible let me refer you to an October 2022 Quinnipiac University poll. In line with its findings 69% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans thought the nation’s democracy was on the brink of collapse. And the figure for independents was 66%.
It may be worth acknowledging such a poor state of democratic affairs in the U.S. and imagine and realise at least some wider ramifications within U.S. and world-wide it may have at present and with the forthcoming U.S. elections scheduled to be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. It may be of no exaggeration to say that the current events as well as ahead of time electoral campaigning are a demonstration of what the U.S. democracy amounts to.
The Founding Fathers of the U.S. heavily borrowing from Montesquieu introduced a system of separation of powers (legislative, executive and judicial) commonly referred to as a system of checks and balances. The idea of the system was that no branch of government had more power than another and could not overthrow another. Was it then created in expectation of politicians being evil and if they were so evil how the system of check and balances could overcome the deficiencies of their bad human character? Let’s have a glimpse on how all this functions in reality.
World famous American political scientist, Francis Fukuyama who published in 1992 The End of History and the Last Man argued that now history was the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. At the time of writing it, and some years after, the world witnessed the collapse of socialist countries and their turning to democracy which launched him, practically overnight, as a public intellectual of a world-wide prominence.
Let’s make no mistake, Fukuyama’s liberalism is in peril. He admits freely that tolerance of difference, respect for individual rights, and the rule of law, are under threat as the world suffers what can be called a democratic recession or even a depression. Even more so, despite of his obsession with democracy, one can debate with him the problems of democracy, especially of democracy in America, calling things by their names. Writing in 2017 Fukuyama insisted:
The executive and legislative branches supposed to check one another; in a powerful house of legislature, super majorities (60 out of 100 votes) are required to pass an ordinary legislation; a Supreme Court can invalidate acts of Congress; and in recent decades has taken it upon itself to make social policy; and a truly substantial powers remain with states and localities. Each one of these power centers has can potentially veto action by the system as a whole. Add polarisation and the rise of powerful interest groups into this system and the result is what I have labelled vetocracy: that is, a situation in which special interests can veto measures harmful to themselves, while collective action for the common good becomes exceedingly difficult to achieve.
No wonder, the U.S. establishment facing such huge volumes of money in politics that give lobbyists far greater access to legislators that should be allowed in parliamentary democracies makes Fukuyama pessimistic. And we better accept it — the money issue cannot be addressed by Supreme Court. In its decisions like Buckley versus Valeo and Citizens United versus FEC Supreme Court stated that political donations and spending on lobbying were a form of free speech and therefore constitutionally protected. It sounds unbelievable but unfortunately it is true.
The question that arises out of Fukuyama’s deliberations would be the question how to fix all that he refers to as political decay. Oh man, things can’t be as bad as you paint them? But Fukuyama is firm: the well-organised and entrenched groups, know how to prevent unwanted pieces of legislation. They will use vetocracy to protect their interests.
Most importantly, Fukuyama is ready to identify the powerful money groups in the U.S. politics. He has guts to describe Democrats such as the Clintons as corrupt, since they enriched themselves by accepting money from, as he puts it, powerful interest groups. And in no way he is ready to spare Republican elites. He charges: “they come from corporate America, and advocate free trade and open immigration — what could be called the Wall Street Journal worldview.”
Indeed, there were other American intellectuals who much earlier pinpointed the transnational corporations as ruling the U.S. via practising vetocracy without calling this phenomenon that way. A brilliant American economist, James K. Galbraith put it succinctly in 2008:
It is a coalition, in other words, that seeks to control the state partly in order to prevent the assertion of public purpose and partly to poach on lines of activity that past public purpose has established. They operate as a rule on a transnational basis, and naturally come to view the goals and objectives of each society in which they work as just another set of business conditions, more or less inimical to the free pursuit of profit. They assuredly do not adopt any of society’s goals as their own, and that includes the goals that may be decided on, from time to time, by their country of origin, the United States. As an ideological matter, it is fair to say that the very concept of public purpose is alien to, and denied by, the leaders and the operatives of this coalition. 
From this piece of writing the extent of control that corporations exercise over Congress is clear and thus there is no doubts who runs the U.S.
Perhaps, nothing can demonstrate such a control better than redistribution of wealth in the USA. In this context, it should be recalled that president George W. Bush between 2001-2003 knowingly put the income distribution into back gear by introducing $1.35 trillion tax cuts in which the wealthy were given high benefits. All this was given supposedly logical justification in terms of skills and education. Even deeper understanding of the problem provides the background of changes favouring the rich within thirty or so years before president Obama came to power. Referring to Ha-Joon Chang, a specialist in development economics, one may point out how for instance, American CEO’s pay reached exorbitant levels where contemporary U.S. CEO’s earn approximately ten times more than their colleagues in the 1960. At the time they were awarded 30 to 40 times as much as the average earnings of a worker. Now the average CEO compensation (salaries, bonuses, pensions and stock options) in the United States is 300-400 times the average worker compensation (wages and benefits).  It may be of considerable interest to note that executive pay is much less in Western Europe and Japan. In China the CEO’s are paid just between 3-6 times the average worker’s pay.
How well fared within that ominous corporate scenario ordinary people? The overall picture of how income inequality increased is illustrated well by Corporate Welfare Organization for example till 2011. It turns out that between 1979 and 1996 a married couple with children on male median income only had its earnings reduced from $39,662 to $36,786 a year and a married couple with children with a total income combined had their income for the same period increased by $4,157 a year. Quoting the latter data, I would like to stipulate that the small household income increase was due to working spouses and not higher earnings! For in April 1947 working mothers with children under 18 years of age constituted 18,6% and in March 1998 they constituted 72% of women of working age. If one wanted to get cynical would say that if you want to be well represented live in the U.S. and trust electing their congressmen!
Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f—k things up.
President Obama warning fellow Democrats about president Biden
K A K I S T O C R A C Y
Particularly curious case as far as ‘cosmocrats’ are concerned is that of president Donald Trump. After all, he himself is a filthy rich man with some investments abroad but at the same time declaring his willingness to improve the lot of ordinary people. It must have been the case of conflicting loyalties in using his catch phrase, ‘make America great again.’ Let’s consider his actions.
Most briefly, what did he change in the U.S. taxing system? He reduced multiple tax brackets to four: 0%, 15%, 20%, and 25%. In addition, he eliminated the marriage penalty, the death tax and the alternative Minimum Tax. This proposal allowed president Trump to claim to provide the lowest tax rates since before World War Two. 
It may be claimed that the tax rates proposed by president Trump provide some help to the U.S. poor as under his plan those single earning less than $25,000 annually and less than $50,000 annually when married will pay no tax whatsoever. This was to apply to 75 million Americans households. Here anyone talking about fair income for all layers of the society may become skeptical and assert: You are doomed to be very poor with that kind of annual incomes even if you don’t pay any tax!
President Trump sounds right noticing that a major beneficent of his tax reform will be the U.S. middle class. Let him express it in his own words:
The proposed policies will allow the middle class to keep most of their deductions while eliminating many of the deductions for the rich. With more money in middle class pockets, consumer spending will increase, college savings will grow, and personal debt will decline. 
At the same time Donald Trump did not forget about the rich. As the tax rate for businesses of any size was to be 15% of their income in taxes which was likely to make corporate inversions unnecessary and would make the U.S. one of the most competitive markets in the whole world. As if it wasn’t enough, with an eye to the big business, his plan would require companies to bring their off-shore money back to the States at the repatriation rate of only 10%. In his first electoral campaign Donald Trump argued that off-shore money wasn’t being brought back because of too high a tax rate. The stakes are high as $2.6 trillion of foreign profits at the time were stashed in tax havens by American companies to avoid paying corporate taxes in the USA. 
However, president Trump in some other undertakings was objected to on the grounds of kakikstocracy.
As in the U.S. the first use of the term was associated with government scandals during the era of president Ulysses S. Grant and as it doesn’t appear in too many dictionaries I shall provide its meaning.
The word is derived from two Greek words, kakistos (κάκιστος; worst) and kratos (κράτος; rule). As the Cambridge Dictionary explains it is used to describe government ruled by the least suitable, able, or experienced people in a state or country.
In anticipation of Donald Trump’s presidency, the Noble Prize winning economist Paul Krugman was quick to describe his administration as an ‘American Kakistokracy.’ That’s how later many classified for instance his efforts to regulate and control illegal migration on the southern border that led him to rushed decision making about building a wall on the Mexican border. Facing obstacles, he was ready to declare emergency to get his funds. That meant that he was ready for a partial shutdown of the government and laying off hundreds of thousands government employees to achieve his goal.
The most important question would be to ask the question as to whether the U.S. has been living in a new era of kakistocracy under Joseph Biden. To begin with, let’s consider his incompetence in immigration matters. Incompetence in any area of governing in essence constitutes kakistocracy.
President Joe Biden policies are unlike those of his predecessor Donald Trump. He reversed and rolled back several of such policies, that amounted to freezing construction of the border wall and revoked the policy to separate migrant families crossing the border. Most importantly, he also disclosed plans to offer an eight-year pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country. The response of Hispanics sounded enthusiastic.
However, there are other aspects related to not just implications for ethnic make-up of the U.S. but above all near future electoral outcomes. They must have been kept in mind by the president. What attracts particular attention in Biden’s promises about citizenship for Hispanic illegals is perhaps deliberate disinformation as to their real numbers in order not to scare some White voters away from voting for Democrats. For can anyone imagine that in the USA with so much surveillance around, president Biden does not now the real number of illegal Hispanics? Indeed, the numbers of illegal Hispanics are at least double of what he acknowledges i. e. around 22 million. If so, what does it mean? Firstly, the component of Whites within the U.S. population will be much lower soon and depending on the speed on granting Hispanics citizenship Whites will be a minority possibly in the next few years. It seems that the USA is about the only country in the world where you are en masse rewarded with citizenship for illegal crossing of the border! Secondly, grateful for citizenship Mexicans and Latinos, the real threat of Amexica secession aside, are very likely to vote for Democrats. Are Republicans to be routed by Democrats in future elections? According to all signs in the heavens and on earth, such a possibility is there.
There are other policies of Biden’s Administration that ensure a permanent sliding into kakistocracy. Free expression as well as information are so essential to orderly functioning of democracy. Earlier cited, Francis Fukuyama noted in 2017 that great numbers of American citizens would not believe such mainstream media like the New York Times or CNN. Many turn to conspiratorial thinking which may be a product of their powerlessness.
Not to mention fake news and cancel culture and their impact on the American democracy would be a serious shortcoming with which the Biden Administration coexists and tolerates. There is no support for those affected neither by the administration nor the judicial system. If anything, they investigate and charge the citizens who dared to say anything against the mainstream views. So you can be sacked if you are critical of for instance, LGTB or paraphrasing the phrase Black Lives Matter into All Lives Matter. You can be denied access to a social network even if you an ex-president of the U.S. and your name is Donald Trump.
One of the latest developments at Fox News — firing of its most popular personality, Tucker Carlson — is of an overwhelming significance. That happened in April 2023, nearly a week after settling a lawsuit supposedly concerning the spread of lies about the 2020 presidential elections. Two days after being fired, in his Twitter message he had a lot of courage to sum up what kind of democracy prevails under kakistocracy in the U.S. He said:
Debates on big topics like war, civil liberties, emerging science, demographic change and corporate power are not permitted by corporate media or political parties. Where can you still find Americans saying true things? There aren’t many places left but there are some and that’s enough. As long as you can hear the words, there is hope.
American kakistocracy gives no chance via the media and judicial system to ensure decent presidential elections. The images of the candidates are manipulated and when necessary damaged. Let’s have just a superficial look at Joe Biden’s breaking the law activities.
I will start with one of vice-president Joe Biden’s interviews touching upon the Burisma affair. He had considerable difficulties to admit that what is legal may be unethical. He was asked by Anderson Cooper during his primary debate to confirm his statement, ‘that if you are a president, no-one in your family or associated with you will be involved in any foreign business’ Once Biden did so, it led Cooper to ask him the following question: ‘if it’s not OK for a president’s family to be involved in foreign businesses, why is it OK for your son when you were a vice president?’ ’Look,’ Biden replied, ‘my son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong.’22
This affair has been dragging on and the U.S. public still wants to find out the truth which in all likelihood has not been revealed. All told, the Oct. 1, 2015, memo summarizes the recommendation of the Interagency Policy Committee that was handling the anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine: “Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its reform agenda to justify a third guarantee.” However, Joe Biden then the U.S. vice-president insisted that despite being complemented in fighting corruption in Ukraine prosecutor Shokin be fired. Interestingly enough, when the firing took place, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma Holdings, an energy firm that paid vice-president’s son Hunter Biden a huge amount of money. In addition, it is known that the State Department had identified it as a corrupt company engaged in bribery and recent testimony from Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden, revealed that Burisma executives made the removal of Shokin a top priority and Hunter was consulted on the matter.
No wonder a leading diplomat, George Kent wrote the then- U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch the following:
The real issue to my mind was that someone in Washington needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter’s presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine b/c Ukrainians heard one message from us and then saw another set of behavior with the family association with a known corrupt figure whose company was known for not playing by the rules.
It may be added that the House of Representatives hearings on the Burisma affair have been blocked by the Democrats since Joe Biden’s coming to power.
Not any less interesting is the fact that according to Senator Ron Johnson, FBI officials instructed its staff not to investigate Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the 2020 presidential elections saying that the bureau was ‘not going to change the outcome of the election again.’ As revealed by one of the recipients of the emails there was one about business arrangement between a Chinese company and the Biden family. Puzzlingly, the president and his son Hunter have not been investigated on that up to the present day.
Kakistocracy seem to be alive and well when handling ex-president Trump as well. Indeed, it must be the rule by the worst people.
Ex-president Trump among other things is accused of: paying hush-money disguised as legal fees, stashing sensitive federal documents at Mar-a-Lago, conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election as well as a coordinated effort pressuring Georgia officials to change their vote count. The very investigation has not started yet and the persistent question is why now and not any earlier. Is it how competent judicial system of supposedly democratic state brings justice to its citizens in an unprejudiced manner?
One would have to be a zombie not to realise that Biden and his administration are Trump’s main political opponent. All this, while polls show that Trump is leading by a wide margin as a presidential candidate to face Biden on 5 November 2024. In this case it may be ominous that the man in charge of special council responsible for investigations and prosecutions is Jack Smith, picked by Merrick Garland who is a Biden’s appointee. It may be of little consolation for Trump and his supporters the fact that if he is convicted and sent to prison, Trump could serve as president. Would it be possible in practise though?
One may speculate and point out that in that democracy undermining cruel political game some of the most important things are those that are not declared and said publicly. Perhaps the real calculation is not just to humiliate Trump but to frustrate and drive him into distress, markedly reduce his mental resistance and even hope to make him a nervous wreck. The jail in which Trump may be detained (in Fulton district of Atlanta) like many other in incompetently run U.S. prisons has a bad reputation. Apparently, there are substandard conditions such as overcrowding, bad food and unhygienic conditions. Last year, 15 inmates died there. One of them as a result of prolonged exposure to a massive bed bug infestation.
Finally, a few words is required on how American kakistocracy affects the world. Should we aim at cooperation, expansion of trade, peaceful coexistence it all sounds as an unreachable dream. It is well known that the USA is behind the NATO relentless push eastward. Its latest secured footholds are Finland and in all likelihood Sweden. The U.S. and its allies spent eight years allowing committing genocide of civilians in eastern Ukraine and attempting to delude Russia with the Minsk Agreements, while the real purpose of them was to arm Ukraine and get ready for war with the Russian Federation. When on the second and third days of Special Military Operation Zelensky agreed to a neutral status of Ukraine and Putin was inclined to approve it, Biden forbade him to accept it. Despite denials, either the U.S. or one or more of its allies are behind the blowing of the North Streams. This was, to put it mildly, a terrorist attack of great economic consequences not as much for Russia as for Western Europe especially for Germany as its industrial success was primarily based on cheap energy resources that were Russian-supplied. The western sanctions further undermined Russia and those who had extensive trade links with it. U.S. defence minister Lloyd Austin declared a number of times that the aim of the war in Ukraine was to weaken Russia.
In his latest interview with Tucker Carlson Trump admitted that the CIA had liquidated a lot of ‘bad guys’ and called it a terrorist organisation. So, in the context of kakistocracy we can conclude that the worst people kill a lot of ‘bad people!’
Unlike Trump, Biden attempts to spread democracy all over the world. The latest coup d’etat in Niger demonstrates clearly that the U.S. exerts a pressure (diplomatic and financial) on the rebels to reinstate democratically elected president Bazoum. Secretary of State Blinken reiterated U.S. support for ECOWAS military intervention. All this despite the fact that the population is very much in favour of the rebels. Unlike the U.S. Russia and China do not interfere into internal affairs of other states. This may be one of the reasons for BRICS expansion and that’s one of the significant measures towards forging a multi-polar world.
Yet, one could expand on undemocratic practises in the U.S. by focusing on the power of the Deep State as well. However, on the basis what has been written above and materials presented in relative abundance one may easily agree with Fukuyama that the U.S. deserves to be called the failed state.
Finally, in this democracy shattering scenario there are some very recent developments which may be an ill omen for president Biden. After spending 20 minutes in jail, ex-president Trump got out on a $200.000 bail and is not afraid to speak out. His latest interview with Carlson has already been watched by 254 million Americans. Furthermore, the fired Ukrainian prosecutor Shokin said that he was ready to talk on the Burisma affair. The Bidens must have winced when they heard that news!