Politicians usually reference the U.S. as being a democracy since lawmakers and other governing officials are chosen by the “people.” However, in many if not most respects the U.S. is an oligarchy, defined as “a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people: the people that control a country, business, etc.: government or control by a small group of people.”
The vast majority of lawmakers in the Congress and state legislatures simply follow the line, which is determined by a small group. In Congress, for instance, the party in power rules, with the majority leader and committee chairman—a handful of folks—actually calling the shots. The minority leader and committee ranking-members can fight but they can't win. The rest of the members often might as well be in Philadelphia except for the time votes are cast, usually along party lines promulgated by the “leaders.”
Working hand-in-glove with the legislators are the representatives of the special-interest groups – the lobbyists, who actually write the bills, becoming a part of the governing oligarchy. The lawmakers and probably the president had little knowledge of Obamacare, for instance. The lawmakers, with the possible exception of a handful, didn't even read the huge bill enacting it. If they had, even democrats would have recognized it for its unworkable and unfair mandates, absent huge increases in revenue enhancements—taxes.
Oligarchs consider themselves above the law and superior to the average guy. The president changes his own law simply by pronouncement, whether his changes make sense or not. The Congress-people are either too collectively stupid to do anything about this or simply don't want to stir up political trouble...for anyone.
The insurance companies, as a result, have no clue as to enrollment, costs, claims, time-frames and the like. Policy-holders are forced to pay for services they will never need such as men paying for extremely high gynecological problems and abortions and women paying for costly treatment accruing to the brain-concussions of NFL football players. An even smaller group of bureaucrats and “regulators” determine who gets what treatment...more oligarchs.
The penultimate example of oligarchy occurred when the legally appointed person to fill Obama's Senate seat in 2009 to fill out his term was locked out of his office in the capitol. The president and Senator Durbin had already decided on that appointment and simply told the Constitutionally-appointed man to get lost. The court overruled Obama and Durbin so the citizen is left to wonder if Obama and Durbin were too dumb to know the law or simply had no intention of obeying it. The latter—at least one hopes—was the case. Having people that stupid in high office is scary.
It gets scarier. In a Congressional hearing on 01 March 2011, Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen warned against any action in Libya. Obama had decided to attack the weak nation militarily but knew he could not get Congress to go along because Libya was not a threat to this or any other country, i.e., that he had no Constitutional authority to make unprovoked war on a sovereign nation.
Consequently, he sent three ladies—State Secretary Clinton, UN Ambassador Rice and White House hack Samantha Power—to the UN Security Council for permission. With Russia, Brazil, Germany, India and China abstaining (any one could have vetoed), permission was obtained. Obama ordered the action on 19 March, announcing the air-strikes in Brazil rather than Washington.
An oligarchy of one man and three women un-Constitutionally started a war the president said would last for days, not weeks, but bombed Libya into submission for seven months, with never an accounting of the number of Libyan civilians who died or were injured. On 19 March 2011, Secretary Gates was completely out of the loop in Russia and announced Obama's action as “on-the-fly,” i.e., without proper planning.
At midnight on Christmas Eve 2010, a small oligarchy of the president and Congressional democrats ignorant of the legislation (not one republican voted for it) managed passage of Obamacare. Later, an oligarchy of five SCOTUS justices ruled it Constitutional. All the ramifications of this law are not yet known but the president (oligarchy of one) has already illegally changed it numerous times and even exempted at least a thousand entities from its mandates.
Whether capitalistic, socialistic, communistic, or democratic, oligarchs rise to the top of governing systems. The president and other bureaucrats whine of inequalities...but they perpetrate them. It's called “class warfare.”
And so it goes.