I cheered recently when the richest man on Earth had himself rocketed into space. But then he came back down.
There’s nothing irredeemably wrong about being rich – indeed, one good role model for handling wealth, rather than letting it handle you, is music superstar Dolly Parton. She donated a cool million bucks to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2020 to help finance its development of the “Moderna” vaccine that’s now preventing millions of people from dying with COVID-19.
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Then there’s ugly rich, like Amazon kingpin Jeff Bezos, who keeps spending gobs of his unsurpassed net worth on vainglorious purchases that end up revealing his essential worthlessness. Last month, combining cluelessness with callousness, he actually ran a global media campaign to glorify him for spending untold billions on an 11-minute ego trip up to the edge of space. Back on Earth, he publicly blurted out that Amazon’s underpaid and abused workforce should be applauded, because “you guys paid for all this.”
Meanwhile, Wall Street speculators keep bloating his personal fortune. On just one day last year, his wealth was jacked up by $8 billion! One day! For doing nothing – didn’t work longer, harder, or smarter. Well, he has been diligent about one task: Tax dodging. Even though his wealth now tops $162 billion, he’s had years in which he’s paid zero income tax for the support of our nation.
But this year Jeff suddenly became a philanthropist! Increasingly ridiculed as a self-indulgent rich jerk, he loudly announced he was giving $200 million to charitable causes. Wow – how generous. Except… that’s no sacrifice for Jeff, it’s pocket change – doling out two big bills means he still has his $161 billion, 800 million in his vault.
We don’t need his self-serving “charity,” we need a wealth tax to restore a bit of fairness and to support America’s Common Good.