Do We Really Need Billionaires???

January 24, 2019 1:32am
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I thought this was an interesting article from the other day talking about comments made by new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about income inequality and the hoarding of wealth at the top end of the scale…

As usual, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is right: There should be no billionaires

Just looking at billionaires in the US, there were roughly 540 people back in 2016 with a combined net worth of $2.4 TRILLION!!!

I’m sure you probably recognize the names in the top 5:

  1. Jeff Bezos – $112B
  2. Bill Gates – $90B
  3. Warren Buffett – $84B
  4. Mark Zuckerberg – $71B
  5. Charles Koch – $60B

It’s worth noting that three of the top five have made pledges to donate 99% of their wealth (Gates, Buffett, and Zuckerberg), but what about the other $2.15 trillion spread out among only 537 individuals in the United States? $2+ trillion is more than the GDP of Brazil. Or Canada. Or Russia. Or 180 other countries around the globe!

Put it another way, the average billionaire is worth about $4.1 billion.

The median net worth in America is about $11,000.

On top of that, there’s the old statistic that something like 70% of Americans don’t have $1,000 saved that they could tap in the event of an emergency.

Now I’m not saying the answer is just take it all from the wealthy and redistribute their wealth more evenly – at 350 million people, that would only end up being about seven grand per person!

That said, when do we get to a point where maybe we have to say, “You have way more than enough. Please share with the little guy…”???

A million dollars is something that all of us have fantasized about at one point or another. You can buy things that cost millions of dollars such as mansions and yachts and sports teams and other expensive things that people think about when they dream of being rich.

A billion dollars, on the other hand, in a way just seems silly. You can’t spend a billion dollars on any one thing, or even a whole bunch of things! I would challenge anyone to go to NYC or LA and try to spend a billion dollars without buying companies or whatnot – I don’t think you could do it, and for the people who do, they’re not even doing it themselves because investors always travel in packs. 😛

And sure, that’s the real counter argument – billionaires invest that money into whatever ventures interest them, and it creates jobs, and hopefully additional wealth … but all in the same, it just makes me wonder if all of that is worth it when A) profit is still their primary motive for those investments, and B) we’ve got all sorts of people around this country who are really struggling in one way or another, whether it’s the guy living under a bridge or the family in suburbia embarrassed to apply for food stamps because dad just got laid off from his job.

I don’t claim to know the answers, or even how to connect all of the dots here, but I do believe that if part of our income equality in America stems from CEOs skimping on wages because it’s better for corporate profits, they should be taxed to make up the difference because no one should work a full-time job and still live in poverty in America.

Looking at the math, if 540 people – or 0.000001% of the population – own 3% of the entire nation’s wealth, which expands to over 50% of the nation’s wealth if we widen the net to 5% of the population (17.5 million people) … something’s not right there.

So what do we do about it?

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