An interesting read on Power to the People blog.
"Through open and direct involvement in policy planning, through participation in political campaigns and elections, and through appointments to key decision-making positions in government" the upper class are able to rule America and influence decisions affecting the bottom 80% of the population. This power stems from their great concentration of wealth which is derived from ownership and control of large income producing corporations. As Domhoff states allowing corporate leaders to "invest money where and when they choose; expand, close, or move their factories and offices at a moment's notice; and hire, promote, and fire employees as they see fit. These powers give them a direct influence over the great majority of Americans, who are dependent upon wages and salaries for their incomes. They also give the corporate rich indirect influence over elected and appointed officials, for the growth and stability of a city, state, or the country as a whole can be jeopardized by a lack of business confidence in government."
But ultimately this small elite rule through the passive consent of the exploited majority , since we do not act in our own interests but adopt the interests of our masters as if they were our own and we do not exercise the political power that we do possess , but that we always fail to wield .