Do We Really Need Billionaires???

January 24, 2019 1:32am
Tagged with:

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?

I stumbled across this post this evening and it really got me thinking about the 40-hour work week that’s expected in America, along with other employment standards that are surprisingly unique to our country, and how businesses might be able to differentiate themselves from the pack by steering away from them…

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/busyness-modern-health-crisis-benjamin-cardullo/

Through working with colleagues from all over the world, I find it really interesting … albeit also a bit disappointing … to learn how much better their workplace customs are than the ones we’ve come to accept here in the States.

Maternity Leave – Because let’s be honest, FMLA isn’t maternity leave … at least not unless you’re able to survive on 60% of your income during it.

Paternity Leave – I really wish this had been a thing when my wife and I were struggling after pregnancy with kids in the NICU…

Vacation Rollover – Here in Florida I’m allowed to rollover 1 week of unused vacation time to the new year, yet my colleagues in India are legally allowed a month of time!

Vacation Days in General – Don’t even get me started on this, comparing US holidays to the rest of the world… 😛

It’s pretty obvious when you look across the board that most US companies subscribe to the mentality of toeing the line instead of really getting creative and offering environments that foster happier employees, and in turn better output, than just the same old, same old that every firm down the street is doing as well.

How would your work week change if you suddenly shifted to a 30-hour work week instead of 40?

Or what if you were allowed to pick whatever hours worked best for you, even if they weren’t necessarily all in a row?

Or what if instead of even having an office at all, you and your colleagues all worked remotely and got together in Paris or London or San Francisco or Australia once a year to get to know each other better and collaborate, like Automattic does?

In a lot of ways, I feel like we’ve become experts at working harder, but not necessarily smarter here, whereas I think an employer would be amazed at what their employees could do if they invested more of their efforts into making the American work culture the envy of the world instead of being those schlups who answer the phones all summer while everyone in Europe is off on holiday for a month at a time!

I know that where I’m at personally in my life, anything that can be done to save me time is a welcome force – whether it’s by shortening my time spent juggling meetings at the office or making sure that I get to actually both take and enjoy the vacation time that I earn each year.

And if we were to really drill down into productive vs unproductive time at work, I’d be willing to bet that giving everyone 10 hours a week back from their daily grind would make the rest of their time spent less burdened by distractions and errands and ultimately result in more output in the quality aspect instead of the current default of the quantity, anyways.

So what if an employer strived to get less hours out of their employees instead of more???

© 1999 - 2019 Comedic-Genius Media, All Rights Reserved.