TPM Cafe: Opinion

America's Ruling Class Hall of Shame

AP Photo / Harry Hamburg

Congressmen Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan

Corporate lobbyist and Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist

Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

David and Charles Koch (Charles not pictured)

Walmart CEO Mike Duke

Sen. Mitch McConnell

Newt Gingrich

Wall Street titan and Fix-the-Debt funder Pete Peterson

Sen. Rand Paul

Sleazy corporate front man Rick Berman

Fox News president Roger Ailes

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch

Radio reactionary Rush Limbaugh

Casino billionaire benefactor Sheldon Adelson

Sen. Ted Cruz


Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue

NRA hit man Wayne LaPierre

As in all eras of American history, there are a handful of members of America's upper class who are traitors to their class. They sympathize with and even fund progressive causes, campaigns, and candidates. They side with the growing movement that is emerging to challenge the domination of America's power elite. 

Like Yertle the Turtle, these 20 men sit atop an unstable foundation of widening inequality and social injustice. And like Mack, the turtle at the bottom, there are more and more Americans angered and frustrated by the status quo. Polls show that most Americans prefer "responsible capitalism" over "no rules" capitalism. 

If history offers any lessons, it is that these men -- and the interests and ideas they represent -- are not invincible. Martin Luther King said, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But it takes movements and activists to bend it. 

This post was originally published at Huffington Post.

Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).