to the Highest Bidder
April 18, 2002
By James M. Kehl
Daniel M. Friedenberg has written a very well-researched
book entitled Sold To The Highest Bidder. I would recommend
this book to anyone who wishes to understand how the money
classes control elections and, in effect, also control the
legislators and the legislation enacted. Mr. Friedenberg examines
the presidential elections and presidential administrations
of Presidents Eisenhower through George W. Bush. His thesis
is "that the rich distort, and thus control, the country for
their benefit." Mr. Friedenberg's book is very well-documented.
I think he proves his thesis in this book.
A democracy is a form of "government in which supreme power
is vested in the people and exercised by them or their elected
representatives;" a plutocracy is "government by the wealthy."
Money is often the factor that determines who gets elected
to political office because money " buys the media, and it
is the media that, except in times of extreme crisis such
as the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, elect candidates."
Most of the book is an explanation of how this process works.
The chapter on Ronald Reagan effectively dispels the myth
that Reagan was a great president. Peggy Noonan has written
books that praised the Reagan Administration. However, the
Iran-Contra affair was one of the most illegal undertakings
of the twentieth century. As Paul Begala subsequently pointed
out, 30 Reagan Administration officials were convicted of
crimes as opposed to only one Clinton administration official.
This is not a positive indication of "character mattering."
Reagan's policy of "lower taxes and greater military expense
turned the United States into a debtor nation, pushing the
day of reckoning to future generations, while at the same
time it cleaved the nation, making the rich richer and the
poor poorer." Reagan's administration did not effectuate a
"Reagan Revolution but the Reagan Counterrevolution, a return
to what historians call the Age of the Robber Barons, reminiscent
of the period following the Civil War up to President Theodore
Reagan's admirerers also claimed that his deficits and excessive
military spending brought about the downfall of the Soviet
Union. Mr. Friedenberg believes that Nixon's building a relationship
with China was a greater factor because it forced Russia to
defend its Chinese borders. Because of its economic shortages
and domestic problems, Russia " was not the terror seen by
our militarists. Such liars who spoke ominously of nonexistent
bomber gaps, then missile gaps, then spacecraft gaps, created
a mass hysteria. The great deficit caused by Reagan's military
spending was a factor, but only one factor, bringing about
the end of the Cold War." I believe that most historians would
agree. In short, Reagan was not the great President that the
AM Talk Radio gasbags and their "dittoheads" claim that he
One of the results of these ten administrations has been
the economic stratification of the United States in such a
way that Britian "now has greater economic equality than the
United States." In America , the richest 10 percent of our
citizens own two-thirds of our wealth while almost 50 percent
of the poorest of Americans own only three percent of our
nation's wealth. Because money is such an important part of
elections, the candidates are beholden to the small minoity
of citizens who make the largest donations. Once elected,
a politican's chief goal is to be reelected. If his votes
are not in accordance with the desires of those who financially
backed him, the contributors wil discontinue their contributions
and the politican will not be reelected. Mr. Friedenberg suggests
certain political reforms such as elimination of the electoral
college, term limits, reapportionment of representation in
the House and Senate and different ways that political parties
should conduct their primaries.
Mr. Friedenberg begins his conclusion by stating that America
is a great place "for the alert and resourceful, particularly
those of white native stock." America is not such a great
place "for the disadvantaged, the weak in body or mind, those
born without close family ties, and many of those who are
not white." Mr Friedenberg then carefully analyzes and documents
why these statements are true. Mr. Friedenberg believes that
Americans have the ability to change this situation because
Americans have the right to vote and because of the technological
advances that have been made and will continue to be made.
He states that "the means are there but the selfish interests
of small groups, who buy our so-called leaders to enhance
their great fortunes or plague them with outmoded values no
longer relevant in our time, block the path." If it is true
that a country gets the type of government it merits, "then
we are an unworthy people. It lies within our hands to become
I too believe that the American people have the capability
of changing this situation. In order to do so, I would suggust
1. One of the greatest privileges of citizenship is the right
to vote. However, 49% of our citizens did not exercise this
right because they feel that it is not important who is in
power. That is one of the most incorrect beliefs of all time.
The world would be much different today if Al Gore was president.
The U. S. fiscal situation would be better, the environment
would be protected, and perhaps the World Trade Center towers
would still be standing and thousands of our fellow citizens
would still be alive. The economic futures of these nonvoters
and their descend- ants have been adversely impacted by the
Bush administration's bad fiscal policies, appointments of
incompetent people and general pandering to the property class.
2. Once the citizens decide to vote, they must then stop
voting Republican. The Republican Party is the party of the
"property class." I read in Money magazine a couple of years
ago that a married couple had to earn $150,000 annually in
order to be considered upper middle-class. People who earn
between $41,000-$100,000 annually are not members of the upper
class. Voting Republican constitutes support of policies that
help the property class maintain control of the country. When
Bush's tax cut is fully phased in, a family of four with a
taxable income of $43,850 will pay $600 less in taxes annually
than that family paid in 2000. A family of four with a taxable
income of $339,850 will pay $14,745 less in taxes than that
family would have paid in 2000. To finance that tax cut, part
of the funds that could be used to fund the social security
retirement of the family whose taxable income is $43,850 may
be used. This is only one concrete example of how the funds
earned by the lower classes are subsidizing the property class's
maintenance of their wealth and power. I could write an entire
article about this topic.
3. If the middle and lower classes don't vote Republican,
the Republicans won't get elected. Then we could solve middle
class problems of affordable college education, prescription
drugs for the elderly, health care coverage for all and many
4. The property classes control the news and media. How-
ever, information is available on the Internet and elsewhere.
Our citizens need to use these sources and stop relying on
gasbags like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox News and other
disinformation blowhards. If this is done, these noncontributors
to society may have to get jobs where they are forced to do
productive work. Then, everyone will be better off.
Sold To The Highest Bidder is a book that I would
recommend to anyone interested in politics and how the property
class has turned this country into a plutocracy. I hope a
lot of people will take the time to read it.
James M. Kehl is a certified public accountant who works