Does anybody remember when Ted Turner gave away $1 billion of his vast earnings to the U.N.?
How much is a billion dollars?
If you're like me, all those zeroes start to blur. I have a real problem grasping wealth of such scale.
Maybe this will put it in perspective . . .
If you were to spend $10,000 a day, it would take 274 years to go through a billion dollars.
To spend the Koch brothers incomprehensible fortune at $10,000 per day, it would take almost 28,000 years __ it would be 29,394 C.E. when you finished your shopping spree.
Spending one million dollars a day, it would take 214 years to go through the monumental wealth of Gates, and he ended up asking you to borrow a few bucks for bus fare.
There are 2,325 billionaires in America.
There are more than 43 million people living below the poverty line in America today __ which, by the way, shockingly translates to nearly 1 out of every 5 children.
There are 400 unfathomably wealthy people in America who have more money and property than the 150,000,000 individuals in the bottom half of our population.
The .000133% vs. 50%!
Wealth inequality as a scandal and appalling affront to what America is supposed to stand for, lately appears to be taking a backseat in the national conversation, quickly replaced by catastrophes du jour in the ever-evolving parade of misery and chaos.
But since it undermines the entire premise of our democracy, and shreds the basic fabric of a society based on fairness and equal opportunity, we must keep it in the forefront of public debate, particularly with the all-important 2016 presidential election coming up fast.
It doesn't look promising. We have flat-Earth Ted Cruz talking like a Rip Van Winkle who just awoke from a nap he started in the 2nd Century. Everyone's concerned about Hillary's
emails when they should be worried about her warmongering and blind
allegiance to the agenda of multinational corporations. Of course, none
of us can sleep nights until we find out where Jeb Bush gets his news, if it's not the New York Times.
But I remain optimistic. Miracles are possible. Americans are more frustrated than ever. They still remember the most famous meme in recent history __ the 1% vs. the 99%.
With wealth inequality accelerating, nothing less than the survival of the nation is at stake, demanding that we address this crisis before America turns into a medieval fiefdom or a 3rd World banana republic. Some would argue we're almost there.
It's certainly my hope that I won't be writing about this again in five years.
But if I do, it'll be titled . . . Trillionaire Club.