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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/7/21

The Rich are Different - Richer than Us and Far Greedier

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By Dave Lindorff

F, Scott Fitzgerald is famously said to have once remarked to his pal Ernest Hemingway, "The rich are different from you and me, Ernest," to which Hemingway is said to have replied, "Yes, they have more money."

Fitzgerald had it right. Particularly these days, when the wealthiest people in the US are not millionaires, or even people worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but rather are billionaires, with some, like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett having total assets in excess of $100 billion, the rich are not just quantitatively but qualitatively different.

There are 664 Americans today who are billionaires (that's 1000 times $1 million in assets). That number is 50 people, or families, higher than it was a year ago.

Remember that those 50 people joined the billionaires' club during the current pandemic crisis when US unemployment was at record levels, 700,000 people were dying of Covid. countless small and mid-sized businesses were folding because of the pandemic, and the nation as a whole was suffering mightily. Over that same fraught period, the wealth of all US billionaires actually grew by $1.3 trilion (a trillion is a thousand billion).

Who are these people? They live separately from the rest of us in palatial mansions, fly around the globe at a whim in their own private jets, adding perhaps 1000 times the global warming carbon to the atmosphere of the average American perhaps massively more than that. Worse yet, most of them treat their working-class employees (the people actually creating their weals) like sh*t. Look at Jeff Bezos, until a recent surge in the value of Tesla stock, and his wife's divorce in which she got half his assets, stock the world's richest man: He expects his stressed and overworked Amazon delivery drivers to relieve themselves in the backs of their trucks in bottles, so he doesn't have to pay them to slow deliveries by driving to a public restroom and take the time to park the van, lock it, and go inside a building before getting back on the job again. For that matter, look at Musk, who's company just lost a racial harassment suit by to a black elevator operator at his Fremont Tesla Plant who was awarded $137 million in damages because of how for years he had to endure facial taunts from othe employees and supervisors without the company doing anything to stop it.

This is not unusual. The nation's corporate elite consider their employees to be "labor costs" or "labor inputs" in their economic planning, not human beings to whom they, the owners and bosses, owe a huge debt of gratitude for diligently producing the surplus value that has so enriched them and company shareholders to such obscene levels.

Now, as the current Biden Administration considers a trivial increase in the income tax rate on the wealthy raising it from a current 37% on marginal income over $454, 000 for a single person or over $509,000 (more than half a million a year!) for a married couple, to 39.6%.

Oh, the horror!"

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF is ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to:

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Dave Lindorff, winner of a 2019 "Izzy" Award for Outstanding Independent Journalism from the Park Center for Independent Media in Ithaca, is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper (more...)

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