Knee jerk reactions are not productive. We’re humans, not Pavlov’s dogs. I said nothing about the rich being evil. That’s a subjective judgement that I’m not fond of. Besides, we have too many millionaires in my family. What I’m talking about is a system we’ve set up that has untended consequences that are not favorable to the health of the republic.
Ronald Reagan noticed that with the way Wall Street worked, just moving your money around had a higher ROI than investing in manufacturing and that, as a result, the manufacturing sector was starved for capital, which in turn made modernization and innovation more difficult. As that did not auger well for the future of American manufacturing, he set up a committee to study the issue and recommend solutions. Unfortunately, when the George H. W. Bush (for whom I voted) administration took over, Wall Street pressure terminated the effort. The rest is history.
One of the reasons that Communism was such a miserable failure was that the system attempted to work against normal human behavior. Capitalism, as described by Adam Smith, instead uses normal human behavior to its advantage and is a far more efficient mechanism for regulating production and prices. Adam Smith made another observation, conveniently ignored by the proponents of unregulated capitalism, that banks (the only financial institutions of his time) if unregulated would create boom and bust cycles.
The wealthy are not evil, but is normal human behavior to protect what you consider to be your own. Our current campaign finance system has created an environment where our Senators and Representatives are driven to represent their donors to the detriment of their constituents. They have to if they wish to be re-elected. That has resulted in a financial regulatory system that in inimical to free enterprise. Have you wondered why the stock market no longer reflects the state of the economy? Democracies require a large stable middle class for their own stability. Our distorted financial system is moving wealth from the middle class to the upper 0.1% at a rate not seen since the 1890s. That has resulted in tensions that have destabilized our whole political climate — just as they did in the Gilded Age. The system is not evil, just not sustainable.