Top 5 Funny Political Cartoons on the Rigged Economy

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political satire cartoons

Funny political cartoons often achieve much more than a chuckle from readers. As with any other form of humor, political cartoons can disarm listeners, opening them up to opposing or new perspectives that they might ordinarily reject outright. Much more though, they can peel back the marble facades of our governing bodies and expose, in extreme and humorous ways, the corruption rampant in politics.

It’s a serious, laughing matter. 

We at the Zero Theft Movement have compiled some funny political cartoons that address our major area of concern, the rigged economy. If you’re searching for a bit of humor, as well as information on how you are being ripped off and what you can do about it, then read on!

The Revolving Door of Industry Lobbyists and Industry Regulators/Legislators

Funny political cartoons of Revolving Door of Industry Lobbyists

From cartoonist Christopher Weyan for The Hill

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The big bad lobbyist feigns ignorance with a sinister grin…

This pointed and funny political cartoon insinuates the lobbyist is the one person out of three (mirrored in the three cartoon figures) who approves of the job Congress is doing. As far as the rigged economy goes, lobbyists play a crucial role in fixing the system against us, the public. Let’s take a deeper look into the statistic presented in the cartoon, and elaborate on the role lobbyists play in ripping us off.

Congressional Approval Ratings

While the statistic shown in the political cartoon above might alarm you, it’s actually on the charitable side. Gallup has polled the public on congressional approval, since 1974. For the past decade or so, the percentage of people who approve of the job Congress is doing consistently comes in sub-30%. 

Congressional job Approval

Just this past year (2019-2020), the approval percentage peaked at 31% and twice dropped as low as 16%. We concede that these results show only the sentiments of the polled citizenry. Nevertheless, these congressional approval rates should at least raise some concerns, especially considering Gallup’s considerable experience conducting these surveys.

Congress approval and disapproval

Why the Lobbyist Approves of the Job Congress is Doing

The major impact of big money on the legislation process has received sustained attention over the years, yet little headway has been made to prevent what is sadly standard practice in U.S. politics.

DID YOU KNOW? 

In 2019, $3.51 billion was spent on lobbying in the U.S.

In essence, major corporations and wealthy, well-connected individuals often use their massive cash reserves to (1) hire lobbyists and (2) make ‘campaign donations. The Pay to Play system, wherein rent-seeking legislators offer access (or even their vote) in exchange for contributions, gives a disproportionate advantage to those backed by big money. 

What potentially corrupts the system further is the revolving door, wherein industry lobbyists essentially exchange roles with regulators/lawmakers and vice versa. This practice increases the chance of regulatory capture. How can we expect some of our lawmakers and regulators to properly protect public interests when they have lucrative lobbying opportunities awaiting them? 

Billions for trillions, one of the best ‘investments’ megacorporations can make.

The Progressive Era, Plutocracies, & the Alleged Rockefeller Monopoly

Puck Magazine cartoon

John D. Rockefeller portrayed as an emperor in a 1901 Puck Magazine cartoon

Puck was the first successful humor magazine ever in the U.S, making its appearance in the 1870s. The magazine published a number of irreverent, satirical, political cartoons that continue to influence cartoonists today. 

We picked the Rockefeller cartoon above to start a discussion about how the fears of corporate and plutocratic control over the U.S.. dates back to the Gilded Age. As you might be able to see, Rockefeller (with a disproportionately large head) wears the attire of a king: robes emblazoned with dollar signs, and a golden crown composed of various railroads he owned. The magnate also stands atop a pedestal (?) that reads “Standard Oil.” 

For those of you who don’t remember your U.S. history, a few oil and railroad companies had achieved significant market capitalization in their respective industries. The Progressive Era, headed by the likes of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, worked to preserve competition in markets by breaking up what they believed to be monopolies and oligopolies

Those concerns potentially remain today. 

To stay within the oil industry, some economists have claimed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) acts as a cartel (i.e. a monopoly that is formally agreed upon). According to the organization, it owned close to 80% of the world’s oil reserves. OPEC cannot control demand, but it can definitely limit supply in order to help drive prices up. Do you think OPEC commits price-fixing schemes?

How Wall Street Made a Killing

funny political cartoons of Wall Street steamroller

From cartoonist Ingram Pinn

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Wall Street steamrolls over us, the public, right past the U.S. Capitol. This funny political cartoon gets it exactly right, the destruction is happening right in front of our eyes and captured regulators do nothing about it. 

The 2008 financial crisis caused global suffering and tragedy—financially, psychologically, emotionally, and the list goes on and on. The bad actors responsible for bringing the economy to near ruin in order to profit? Money managers. 

Behind rhetoric and high finance jargon, bankers managed to get away with a nationwide heist. Little to no jail time, and millions lining each of their pockets.

Credit Default Swaps (CDSs)

They don’t sound impressive or particularly insidious, but the main tool bankers used to allegedly rip us off was Credit Default Swaps. While that might sound complicated, they aren’t much different from any other forms of insurance. CDSs protect the mortgage lender in the event the borrower cannot pay. Banks were handing out subprime loans (to borrowers with poor credit history) liberally, knowing that many would be unable to keep up with payments. That, on an elementary level, is how money managers gamed the system and turned protections into surefire payouts.

The perception of white collar jobs, along with the high finance lingo, does much to distort the actual severity of the damages the bankers caused. Exactly how corporate crime is often excused, normalized, and sometimes even encouraged in some corporations, we failed to expose bankers and CDSs for what they were. In a street crime, there might be scorned lovers and smoking guns, but when you look upwards, at the boardrooms, suffering on a nationwide scale is being planned and executed. 

The Aftermath We Suffered Through

A bunch of big industry bailouts. Hundreds of billions of dollars gained by bankers, and like a successful heist, all but one (in the U.S.) got away scot free. But unlike the story of Robin Hood, the rich apparently stole from the lower classes, ruining many of us. 

Lost homes, lives, and jobs. Broken families, broken spirits. In this case, our blind faith in financial experts is exactly what allowed them to take advantage of us. The crisis was foreseeable and preventable, according to The New York Times. Some estimates calculate the losses of the subprime mortgage crisis to be more than $20 trillion.

Big Pharma, the Apex Predators

Funny political cartoon of the Big pharma predators

From cartoonist Dave Granlund 

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Every week is shark week, when Big Pharma price gouges the public. There are millions of us sinking, millions that cannot all be depicted in the tremendously sat yet funny political cartoon above. 

Exorbitantly high drug prices have remained a chronic issue. Despite the Sherman Antitrust Act, Big Pharma can still find ways to collude within the industry to stifle competition and break free markets. The pharmaceutical industry, notably, consistently appears at the top of lobbying spend lists.

As the cartoon depicts, those needing medication will sink, soon to die in the maws of the Big Pharma sharks. This death is, in actuality, not just a figurative one. Citizens have actually passed away because they could not afford their insulin, for example.  

Drug Price Gouging is Rampant 

A 2019 Forbes article examines a recent case of price gouging amongst generic manufacturers. From chemotherapy drugs to treatments for schizophrenia, the government lawsuit found worrying but unsurprising evidence that some of the major generic-drug makers were hiking up prices over 1000% on any given day. The report, referencing claims brought forth by state lawyers, states:

“On one day, the price of a bladder medication called oxybutynin chloride rose by 1,500%, a fungal infection treatment by 1,570% and a blood pressure drug by 1,053%.”

Pharming for Profits

To put it bluntly, citizens all over our country do not have enough money to afford their medication at the high prices set by the pharmaceutical industry.

DID YOU KNOW?

The U.S. spends more than any other country for pharmaceuticals per capita ($1,011). Switzerland, the second biggest Rx spender per capita, comes in at $783

The pharmaceutical industry remains one of the most profitable, yet it continues to unethically take as much money as they can from the American public. Running a profitable business is one thing. Making living a financial impossibility has no place in any kind of economy. No one should have to gamble for their lives, by rationing their drugs.

Dismantling the Corporatocracy with the Zero Theft Movement

Funny political cartoon of the ruling class

From cartoonist Dave Coverly

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Partisan politics can divide the citizenry, diverting our attention from the real enemy. We need to band together to fight against crony capitalists. Cronies continue to break free markets, preventing the majority of us to get our fair shares of the pie. This economic injustice negatively impacts each and every one of us, regardless of our political affiliations, and the only way we will eradicate it is if we battle it together. 

Don’t fall prey to the plutocrats depicted in the cartoon above. We all just become the butt of a serious joke. 

So pitchfork people. Lower your pitchforks. 

And torch people. Lower your torches. 

Recognize who has pitted you against each other. Now raise them up and storm the castle. 

Inciting unproductive arguments between our two major parties is what has enabled the corporatocracy to continue to metastasize. Funny political cartoons, as you have seen, have an important purpose beyond making readers laugh. They utilize humor in order to raise deeply worrying problems that plague our society today. Without a doubt, the rigged economy provides ample material for cartoonists, but it is now our responsibility to ACT.

Acting on the Truths Learned from Funny Political Cartoons

So we ended the previous section with a rousing cry, but how do we propose to act upon the truths learned from these five political cartoons? 

 The Zero Theft Movement, along with our growing community, works to calculate the best estimate for the monetary costs of corruption in the U.S. Corporate, political, and everything in between. We have built a safe and independent platform where citizens work together to investigate and debate potentially rigged areas of the U.S. economy. You vote on whether (1) theft is or isn’t occurring in a specific area of the economy, and (2) how much is being stolen or possibly saved. Through direct democracy, we can collectively decide where the problem areas are and start working on addressing them systematically. 

The ZTM community knows that many wealthy individuals and big corporations act ethically. We are trying to hold the bad actors accountable. The corrupt corporations, executives, lobbyists, and government officials. That way, good people and businesses can properly thrive and enjoy the piece of the pie we’re all due.

The public has spoken! See how much the rigged economy is ripping off from you…

Explore the Problem Hierarchy

We have primers on potential problem areas of the economy. Before you start voting, it’s important you get a basic understanding of the issues at hand, so you can be as helpful as possible to other community members. Take a few minutes and come prepared. 

Serve your fellow citizens as a citizen investigator

The success of our movement rests in your hands, the leaders willing to dedicate time to conduct investigations into potentially rigged areas of the economy. Lead the movement and help create an ethical economy.

Heroism made easy

Twenty minutes! That’s all the time you need to contribute to our effort. Just review a proposal and vote. Our reports will only gain legitimacy and power with your contributions.

Commitment to nonpartisanship

The rigged layer causes all of us to suffer, regardless of our political allegiances. If we wish to eliminate rigged economy theft, we have to set aside our differences and band together against crony capitalists and corrupt officials. 

Beyond funny political cartoons…

An educated public is an empowered public. 

We regularly publish educational articles on ZeroTheft.net, just like this one on funny political cartoons. They teach you all about the rigged layer of the economy, in short, digestible pieces.

Standard Disclaimer

ZTM does not have any interest in partisan politics/competition or attacking/defending one side. We seek to eradicate theft from the U.S economy. In other words, how the wealthy and powerful rig the system to steal money from us, the everyday citizen. We need to collectively fight against crony capitalism in order for us to all profit from an ethical economy.   

Terms like ‘steal,’ ‘theft,’ and ‘crime’ will frequently appear throughout the article. Zero Theft will NOT adhere strictly to the legal definitions of these terms (since congress sells out). We have broadly and openly defined terms like ‘steal’ and ‘theft’ to refer to the rigged economy and other debated unethical acts that can cause citizens to lose out on money they deserve to keep.