The housing market is becoming an exclusive franchise of the uberwealthy, a tiny fraction of the population that is rapidly converting the American democratic republic into a feudal state controlled by a new aristocracy that is inviting the violence of peasant insurgency akin to the French Revolution.
Subjecting Americans to those living conditions experienced in medieval times is a dangerous conclusion to the political transformation initiated through a series of policies known as Reaganomics.
Like a slow-motion coup d’etat, Reaganomics was designed to resurrect social classes that had been eroded by the growth of America’s working middle-class and further damaged by the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, regulations that accompanied the environmental awakening, and restrictions on military adventurism that resulted from the peace movement.
In today’s money-driven political system, billionaires have acquired seigneurial privileges as America’s political structure increasingly resembled the socio-economic system of the Middle Ages.
Just as the abolition of feudalism was crucial to the evolution of a modern notion of property and to the development of an unimpeded market in land, which gave rise to the idea of a social contract. The significance of that became evident during the French Revolution, which was a political and ideological turning point in the history of civilization.
This kairotic moment will have a profound impact on our future. Today is a moment of truth when we shall determine whether all the people together, or just a tiny few, control our destiny but while many Americans recognize the problem, there is near even division about the solution.
This political phenomenon was witnessed in 2016, when long-dormant anti-establishment forces rose up behind the candidacies of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
To be sure, Trump was as much a part of the new aristocracy as anyone could be and he performed as a willing tool of the ‘deep state’ while he was in the White House, but his supporters rejected the legitimacy of the political establishment that they showed disdain for the accurate, confirmed mathematical certainty that their savior had lost his bid for re-election. Such religious fervor has never before been seen in American politics.
By contrast, Sanders awakened a large anti-establishment movement only to suppress the very ‘political revolution’ that he had called for, first by endorsing Hillary Clinton and then by failing to sustain the energetic base of supporters as leader of the resistance to Trump’s con artistry in government.
Sanders’ rhetoric focused on a tiny group of elites who have wealth and power, and who are deeply invested in maintaining the status quo, but as a part of the political establishment prevented him from capitalizing on his ‘us vs them’ anti-elite populism.
The consequences of this shift in real estate acquisition include higher rents, fewer homes available for purchase by owner-occupants, and less concern about maintaining properties, which will create more substandard housing conditions.
“Rising wealth inequality drives the stock market, which then drives more wealth inequality,” said Edward Wolff, professor of economics at New York University.
This radical change in the housing market is a visible indicator of the new aristocracy’s influence on our society, as working-class Americans suffer more because the only force powerful enough to exert market corrections other than the influence of money—which is now more concentrated in the richest one percent than at any other time in American history—is the federal government.
During the 20th century, the single-family home became the central trademark of belonging to the rising middle class.
After World War II, real estate ownership also became most common vehicle for wealth accumulation for working Americans, a large number of whom during this time, achieved financial gains based on rising real estate prices that were accounted as the largest middle-class expansion in world history.
Reaganomics and its child—the Great Recession—have resulted in a middle-class contraction as well as a return to wealth accumulation only at the upper echelons of society.
The total wealth of the 1% reached a record $45.9 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, said the Federal Reserve’s latest report on household wealth. Their fortunes increased by more than $12 trillion, or more than a third, during the course of the pandemic.
“The numbers are astounding,” said Edward Wolff, professor of economics at New York University. “The pandemic wealth boom certainly ranks at or near the top of all the wealth booms over the last 40 years.”
The top 1% owned a record 32.3% of the nation’s wealth as of the end of 2021.
The share of wealth held by the bottom 90% of Americans has declined to 30.2%.
The gap between the ultrawealthy and everyone else has been growing wider in the last four or five decades fueled by Reaganomics, which has contributed to the decline of living conditions for those 90 percent of Americans who do most of the work in the country.
In addition to losing economic ground, those 90 percent of Americans also lost political power, as candidates who raise and spend the most money in campaigns almost always win and the rich also make most of the campaign contributions.