Is there a ruling class in the United States?


THEREíS ONE KEY FACT OF LIFE in the United States that neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore is going to mention in the presidential campaign--not in the debates, not in stump speeches and probably not even in conversation with the closest of their fellow millionaires.


That fact is the identity of who really rules America. The national mythology insists there is no ruling class in the United States, and that a democratic majority of all the people is in charge of our society and state. Myths aside, itís not hard to determine who actually rules the proverbial roost. Just identify what group holds and deals the serious money, the kind of money that doesnít merely talk but roars commands--all the way from the assembly line to the highest levels of power.


According to the latest figures published by the federal governmentís Survey of Consumer Finances, the richest 1% of the population possess over 40% of the total national wealth. Other figures show that the combined net worth of these households, which amounts to $10 trillion, is greater than the wealth held by the bottom 95% of the people in our country. The top 4% just behind the top 1% possess another 21% of the national wealth. This top 5% is a class that rules because its money lubricates the wheels of the economic system and the attendant social, political and cultur