I haven't read all of this thread yet and I'm not from the US but we are only a few years behind here in Oz.
In my opinion, there is not much wrong with the system there or here, it is just not being used in the way that it was intended.
The problem is not with big corporations. Companies do not vote. The problem is with voters. People refuse to think for themselves and they refuse to spend time finding the real answers. If you are lazy, someone will come along and tell you a bunch of lies and you won't know until it's too late. That's what happened. Blaming those who try to influence Governments is fruitless. Governments respond to votes, if the voters don't swallow the bullshit then the Governments won't.
People think on a short term basis. They refuse to do the hard yards now for long term stability. It's the same across the world. We all want it now and to hell with later. Well it's later now. We get to pay for 30 years of bad decisions, bad governance, bad regulation, all because the ballot box didn't give a stuff.
These collapses could be avoided if people had the self control to elect the right people and hold them to account. They don't, they vote for the biggest tax cut, the protectionism lobbist, the best talker or whatever. Voters are to blame and they will reap what they sowed everywhere, not just the US.
The solution is for people to get interested. If someone promises you a tax cut, think about where that $ is coming from and whether the country can do without it. You don't need a bigger tv but maybe the country does need the money. Here in Oz we were getting lots of tax cuts but our road network needs billions, energy needs development, health needs help but we got tax cuts and spent it on rubbish from China or wherever.
Don't complain about politicians, we get the politicians that we deserve. We get the politicians that we vote for.
Want to make a difference, make sure that your kids learn how to think for themselves and are less susceptible to lobbying and greed than we have been. It's only about 70 years since the depression but those lessons only lasted one generation. We are back there already.