It’s hard for me not to be, especially living through this deadly public denial of an out of control pandemic. As the disease rages, and new infection records are set almost daily, we are barraged by constant public denials of the proven best ways to control the spread of this killer disease, by many of those in power here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. If only I could stop being so darned judgmental…
I look at our floridly insane president, an incoherent man living in his own, demon-infested, world. He cannot answer a simple question posed to him, he rambles about unrelated matters he thinks will make him look good. He lives the life of the tormented rich man from old Yiddish curse, racing from room to room of his mansion, the Devil in hot pursuit.
We can pretend he’s not insane, as we do, even when confronted with the latest proof of his madness, but it changes nothing. “We must not let science stand in the way of the fact that the president wants the schools open,” says his most recent press secretary yesterday, sealing the deal, in case there was any doubt.
Donald Trump’s revered grandfather, Frederick, by the way, died of influenza in the 1918 Pandemic. You can’t make this shit up.
What has me so judgmental today in particular? I’m thinking about the under-reported story of how much richer the richest Americans have grown during this time of suffering and plague and judgmentally wondering why this story is not on the front pages.
During this pandemic, between March 18 and June 17, our 614 American billionaires increased their wealth by $584,000,000,000.00.
These are people who each already had over ONE THOUSAND million dollars, becoming richer by an average of another almost THOUSAND MILLION dollars, during a time of historically disorienting fear and mass suffering. Take this little factoid, from the above article (which originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely):
Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison—the five wealthiest billionaires in the U.S.—saw their collective riches grow by $101.7 billion between March 18 and June 17, according to the new report. A dozen other American billionaires saw their wealth more than double during that same period.
By now, a month after these figures were published, we are pushing closer to an additional trillion (A MILLION MILLION) dollars in wealth for the wealthiest and most deserving among us. And why not?
It’s not as if it would be fair to take that money, earned fair and square, and use it for the public good. Do not wonder how many PPEs, incomprehensibly still in short supply in Jared’s America, could be immediately manufactured and distributed with a fraction of that kind of money. Unthinkable! That would be Marxism! Unconscionable, sick, unAmerican!
It’s not as if a trillion dollars would be more than a drop in the bucket anyway, once you divide it by the 100,000,000 or more Americans already in increasingly desperate need. Let’s do the math, shall we, based on last month’s $584B total.
Shoot, that’s only $5,840 a person (or a shade under $13,000 each if we gave it only to the 45,000,000 recently unemployed Americans), how much good could that pittance actually do for anyone? How long would that really prevent a foreclosure or eviction, anyway? Is delaying the inevitable a good use of the hard-earned money of our most valuable, precious and productive citizens?
I keep wondering why I am so fucking judgmental. Why does it make me so angry that someone who already has a THOUSAND million dollars has an indisputable right to have infinitely more than that? Why does the eternal well-funded argument by the finest Americans about their right to pay as little tax as possible piss me off so much?
Maybe it’s because I come from a once poor family and I am repelled by greed and contests of heedless vanity. Maybe it’s because my grandmother, Yetta, living in a land of pogroms sanctioned by local aristocrats, found hope and courage in the message of international brotherhood preached by the Marxist emissaries who arrived in her hellhole part of the world, holding out a better vision for the future than endless poverty, oppression and violence.
On a louder and more immediate note: I don’t know why the hell I am so fucking judgmental.