Friday, June 21, 2019

#172 / The Billionaire Class

Consider today's posting a follow-up to my blog posting yesterday!

On September 29, 2014, even before he started running for president for the first time, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders posted an item on his political website. He titled this posting, "The Billionaire Class." That posting is still online (or at least it was as of today's date), and Sanders makes frequent reference to this way of talking about the extremely wealthy. I bet Sanders has made use of that "Billionaire Class" phrase hundreds, if not thousands of times, since he began running for president. 

There are a lot of billionaires in the world (well, not compared to the number of people in the world, of course), but it's not just one or two! According to a recent article in Forbes, there are 2,153 billionaires. A lot of them live in the United States, but Great Britain has a "Billionaire Class," too. In 2014 - the same year in which Sanders' article appeared - Vice reported that the United Kingdom was home (at that time) to 109 billionaires. The main purpose of the Vice article was to list "The Ridiculous Shit the UK’s Billionaires Spend Their Cash On."

I like the "Billionaire Class" designation. It draws attention to an important category - the category of those who possess a great deal more wealth than they need, or can even spend, without being "ridiculous" about it. My thought - and this is what Bernie Sanders has been saying since he began running for president - is that such enormous wealth, currently held by a relatively small number of individuals, ought to be utilized in more socially constructive ways than it currently is. No more spending on "ridiculous shit" when people are sleeping outside, and can't get the medical care they need. 

I was also struck by an article in The New York Times, which documented some of the current spending of the "Billionaire Class" in New York City. Such spending continues to be both "ridiculous" and obscene. In laying this out, The Times came up with some new nomenclature, too. Instead of calling the super-rich "The Billionaire Class," The Times' article denominates them as "the Absolutely Ridiculously Obscenely Rich." That's AROR for short. 

Whatever you call them, the super-rich really should be making a much bigger contribution to the common good. That's my opinion, at least, and I think that the election in 2020 can have a big impact on deciding whether or not they will. 

Wasn't it Frederick Douglass who said, "power concedes nothing without a demand?"

Time for the voters to start demanding!

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