Skip to main content

AlterNetClick here for an article by Tim Donovan at AlterNet entitled "Clueless Rich Kids on the Rise: How Millennial Aristocrats Will Destroy Our Future."

The article is about the increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, and mostly the spiralling trend of inherited wealth. It refers to a recent survey:

    The survey, which polled 680 Americans holding at least $3 million in investable assets, unearthed a troubling trend — the birth of a new American aristocracy. As the survey notes, “Nearly three-quarters of those over 69, and 61% of Baby Boomers, were the first generation to accumulate significant wealth. Among the younger Millennial generation, inherited wealth is more common. About two-thirds are from families in which they are the second, third or fourth generation to be wealthy.”

Click here for an article by Luisa Kroll in Forbes entitled "America's Richest Families: 185 Clans With Billion Dollar Fortunes."

The top three are the Walton family (Wal-Mart), with $165 billion; the Koch family (Koch Industries), with $89 billion; and the Mars family, with $60 billion -- Mars bars, Snickers, M&Ms, but also Uncle Ben's rice and pet food brands Pedigree and Whiskas.

But what about the concentration of political power in family dynasties?

George H.W. Bush was elected president in 1988; his son, George W. Bush, was president from 2000 to 2008. Bill Clinton was president from 1992 to 2000; his wife, Hillary, is the frontrunner in the race for the presidency in 2016. If she were to be elected and serve two terms, that would mean that the U.S. presidency would have been controlled by members of just two families for 28 years out of 36 (Barack Obama's eight years being the lone outsider intrusion). But let's not forget that brother Jeb Bush has been -- and may be again -- a prominent Republican candidate for 2016. If he can fight off Tea Party attacks, the choice in 2016 may be: Clinton or Bush?

If Hillary or Jeb should be elected in 2016 and serve two terms, what would be the prospects in 2024? Well, by then perhaps the country will be ready for Jeb's son (and W.'s nephew), George Prescott Bush, who recently won an easy victory (75/25) in the Republican primary for the office of Texas land commissioner, and who is strongly favored (in deep red Texas) to defeat his Democrat opponent in November. Or how about Chelsea Clinton? She's active in the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative; with degrees from Stanford (Highest Honors and a B.A. in history), Oxford (Ph.D. in International Relations), and Columbia (Master in Public Health), she sits on a number of boards of corporations and foundations, and has worked at NBC since November 2011. She was born when her father was Governor of Arkansas, and she moved into the White House for eight years at the age of 12; a political future, perhaps?

That's just the Bushes and the Clintons, but there are a number of other prominent American political families.

Al Gore, Clinton's vice-president and winner of the popular vote for the presidency in 2000, spent 16 years in the U.S. Congress and the Tennessee Senate, and he's the son of U.S. Senator Al Gore Sr.

Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachussets and Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012, is the son of George Romney, who was chairman of American Motors, Governor of Michigan, and initially a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 1968.

Rand Paul (Aqua Buddah), Tea Party darling and Senator from Kentucky, was elected in the Republican wave of 2010, and is a potential candidate (in some polls considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination) in 2016. His father, Ron Paul, was a Texas congressman for 23 years, and ran for president three times.

Jason Carter, a Georgia State Senator, is running for Governor in November; his grandfather is James Earl Carter, better known as Jimmy, U.S. President 39. Michelle Nunn, daughter of the influential Democratic Senator Sam Nunn, is running for the U.S. Senate. Andrew Cuomo is Governor of New York, the position his father, Mario Cuomo, held for three terms, and he is often the subject of speculation about a position in federal politics.

The name "Landrieu" is a prominent one in Louisiana. For eight years, Moon Landrieu was mayor of New Orleans, a position now held by his son Mitch; Mitch's sister Mary is U.S. Senator from Louisiana. Mark Begich, Senator from Alaska, is the son of Nick Begich, who died in a plane crash after serving in the U.S. Senate for eight years -- and who then defeated his opponent, 56/44, in the next election -- posthumously!

Speaking of American political dynasties, has anyone heard the name "Kennedy"?

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site