Democrats seem to feel helpless in the face of relentless lobbying by the super-wealthy, perhaps because campaign contributions are at stake for them, too.So common citizens — including Tea Party folks who can't see how they are being sold out by their own gladiators — wait to see how much of their government benefits will be transferred to the already bulging bank accounts of the wealthy.Statements of fiscal probity are nonsense: Congress can't inherit a balanced budget, spend eight years carrying water for the wealthy, wage two unfunded wars, and now presume to fix things by threatening the benefits that the vast majority of Americans paid for and have a fundamental right to depend on.Statements of over-large government are nonsense. This isn't a size-of-government issue; it's an issue of transferring more and more wealth to the top 1 to 2 percent.In a plutocracy — for example, the ancient Roman Empire — the welfare of common people simply doesn't matter. They don't deserve to have wealth or power. If they suffer, so be it. They should have been smart enough to get rich.In a plutocracy, the American dream, grounded in an expanding middle class, was always a dangerous illusion. By a plutocracy's logic, wage earners were better off before they began to want new cars and safe highways on which to drive them, better homes and schools for their children, reasonably open access to higher education, and decent medical care. Those are the perquisites of wealth, not of citizenship.If common citizens get access to wealth, they will use it for the benefit of, well, common citizens. Those with votes don't deserve such benefits. Wealth gets more votes. That's how a plutocracy functions. One commoner gets one vote, the wealthy get to buy Congress.Statements of over-large government are nonsense. This isn't a size-of-government issue; it's an issue of transferring more and more wealth to the top 1 to 2 percent.Meanwhile, blow smoke at the frustrated. Get them angry at the wrong people. Turn them against their own best interests. Lay ground for the next cycle of plunder. Huff and puff and pretend to care about ordinary citizens, while taking measures that will ruin their financial futures, cripple their retirements, and burden their children with even more debt.Truth and common sense have no advocates in a plutocracy. Money talks, and that's it. Fairness and justice become unaffordable luxuries.Meanwhile, unleash jingoistic displays that claim to be patriotic. Use courageous soldiers as props for political drama. Turn community venues into shouting matches. All while keeping real issues off the table.Where does plutocracy lead? Historically, it leads to societal corruption, military adventures, rampant injustice and systemic collapse. Empires and nations don't survive being controlled by the super-wealthy.What's the way out of a plutocracy? It's for common citizens — that is, the vast majority of us — to find their common interests and to make common cause against the wealthy. We need to stop letting the wealthy manipulate us. This drama in Washington isn't political theater that will go away and leave us untouched. These are our retirements at stake, our medical care, our financial futures.Tom Ehrich is a writer, church consultant and Episcopal priest based in New York. He is the author of "Just Wondering, Jesus" and founder of the Church Wellness Project. His website is Follow Tom on Twitter @tomehrich.