There are so many factors that influence America. A lot more than just the wealthy and corporations. Think about how much drugs and gangs have hurt America. I would say those are far more of a problem than the wealthy or corporations. Plus like anything there are the good and bad. We as a people have the ability to change what we want. If we want to be greedy and buy buy buy that is our choice and we shouldn't blame others for what we have done.
During the Gilded Age, umbrella corporations dominated and carried their influence through the spoils system. Monopolies and trusts controlled prices and small businesses struggled. Thus, Lincoln, Johnson, and Twain were right about THIS part. However, what contributed to the destruction of America were incompetent presidents and their administrations whom had corruption and laissez-faire policies.
That is until President Theodore Roosevelt a.k.a "The Trust Buster" during his term broke up many of these trusts by enforcing the Sherman Anti-trust Act. One of his victims was the prominent J. P. Morgan!
However, Roosevelt left some trusts alone because he believed that some were good trusts such as U.S. Steel because they provided good service at reasonable rates despite the wealthy Carnegie who once owned it. Do not forget that many wealthy believed in the Gospel of Wealth – they should give large sums of money back to those in need.
==================================================================== Let's connect it to present day. McDonald's is a wealthy corporation, yet it sells most of its products at reasonable prices, as exemplified by their dollar menu.
Those three great mean knew that wealth can lead to terrible things, and the history of our country is one of progress but also one of extreme greed, and corporations and banks (the wealthy) have nearly destroyed our country, with no conscience. So I believe these men were right to draw attention to this matter and put it out there.
Where President Abraham Lincoln, President Andrew Johnson, and Mark Twain wrong about the Wealthy and Corporations destroying America?
Pres Abraham Lincoln: “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much higher consideration.”
In 1864 Lincoln cautioned a workingmen’s association against the “effort to place capital on an equal footing with, if not above labor, in the structure of the government” and he warned working people “to beware of surrendering a political power which they already possess, and which if surrendered, will surely close the door of advancement against such as they…”
“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.”
President Andrew Johnson warned in 1869, “an aristocracy based on near two billion of national securities has arisen in the Northern states to assume that political control which the consolidation of great financial and political interests formerly gave to the slave oligarchy. The war of finance is the next war we have to fight.” For years later Mark Twain coined his famous term, the Gilded Age.
"What is the chief end of man?--to get rich. In what way?--dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must."
-- Mark Twain-1871
20 million jobs have been outsourced for cheap labor, which has increased EPS which has caused the price of stocks to go through the roof, while most Americans have seen a decrease in earning power.
The trillions the Plutocracy has horded in estates and trusts need to be taxed at 99% and given to fund Social Security and Medicare. The min wage needs to be raised to $20; all companies need to be employee owned; the tax rate on Capital gains needs to be raised to 90% on gains over $1 million, including dividends, and be subject to FICA tax with no ceiling. Tax loopholes for the wealthy need to be eliminated, e.g., fund managers. All offshore accounts need made illegal. Any, islands or countries hiding money for Americans need to be isolated, fined until they disclose what Americans have accounts in their banks. If they don’t, all tourism to those islands should be banned.