Above photo: WPA mural, Cohen Building, Washington, D.C.Seymour Fogel 1942, Architect: Charles Klauder. Built 1939- 1940. Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer.
You see, there has been a class war going on for years – perpetrated by the rich (who aren’t smarter or better) against everyone else.
We live in a time when there are more billionaires walking around than ever before. (They don’t actually walk. They have someone do that for them.) And one can’t deny billionaires are billionaires because they’ve worked harder than anyone else—roughly 300 times harder than an average worker. They are smarter, cleverer, more intuitive, and show more initiative than anyone else, too. That’s why they’re billionaires and we’re not. That’s why they will always be billionaires and we will never be. That’s why we can all see ourselves in the reflection on Jeff Bezos’ bald head and yet can never touch it.
Now, I must say—everything stated in the first paragraph is utterly false. No part of it is true (except the part about the walking). Most billionaires don’t work harder, don’t think harder, and don’t know more. They have nothing over your average person except: a) luck b) sometimes inheriting a fortune and c) being more sociopathic. So I guess you could say they’re extraordinary on the sociopathy front. They are more willing to crush other humans to get what they want and thereby they are more able to get what they want.
All of this might slightly explain why a vein bulges in my forehead when I read that billionaires are doing better than ever during this global viral outbreak that has killed hundreds of thousands.
Billionaires in the U.S. have seen their fortunes skyrocket, increasing by 12.5 percent since the pandemic began. The Institute for Policy Studies released a study “showing that, in the eight weeks between March 18 and May 14, the country’s super-wealthy have added a further $368.8 billion to their already enormous fortunes.”
That’s a jaw-dropping-fall-over-and-have-a-seizure level of wealth, yet nothing new. Even before the pandemic, the vaults of the rich bulged with unbelievable amounts of shiny things. Even before coronavirus was a household name the three richest Americans had more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of our country.
For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 164 million people. (Now is the appropriate time to dry heave.) This isn’t inequality—it’s the inequality equivalent of a bloodbath. And I mean, like, a bathtub full of gross diseased squirrel blood—not good healthy virgin cashier at American Outfitters blood. (If you think that line was anti-women, I never said it was a woman. Men can be virgins too! You disgust me with your gender stereotypes!)
Besides this ridiculous state of inequality, the rich also don’t pay their fair share in taxes. (Are you shocked?) They received a giant tax cut from Donald Trump, and the crazy rich hide $32 trillion in offshore tax havens worldwide.
Meanwhile, for average Americans, things are, um… not as good. As Alan Mcleod writes for MintPress, “A record 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance, with millions more losing their employer-based healthcare plans, and around a third of the country not paying its rent.”
Once you lay it all out and look at the cards we’ve been dealt, you have no choice but to ask yourself, “How is our society not collapsing? Why are far more things not on fire? Why is cashew butter still available in the grocery stores? Why do people continue to jaunt around on e-scooters with smiles underneath their pandemic masks? Why is the stock market not so low it can see up my shorts? Why aren’t we all paying for homemade cans of gasoline with homemade cans of moonshine—gasoline we’ll need to power our protection chainsaws??”
We Live in a Plutonomy
Well, one of the reasons is that we now have a plutonomy – a term used by Citigroup analysts and others to describe a system in which the wealthy (the 1 percent) are the driving force as well as the beneficiaries of economic growth.
Basically, in today’s America, it only matters what the rich do—what they buy, what they sell, what they invest in, what they hump, and what they listen to. You and I simply don’t matter.
We matter as much as a gnat. … As much as a gnat matters to another gnat … that’s not that into him. Just like totally ignoring him. (I never should’ve brought us this deep into this analogy. I have no exit plan.)
Recent estimates are that only 20 percent of people have 85 percent of the wealth, so as long as the government serves those 20 percent, they can almost completely ignore the bottom 80 percent of people.
This explains why our government has not seen the need to truly bailout average people during this crisis. They have sent a check for $1,200 to regular citizens while giving 4.25 TRILLION dollars to big banks and corporate America.
Do you understand how much that is? No, you can’t. No one can. It’s not possible. It’s meant to not be possible. If someone gave you a million dollars a year—just handed $1,000,000 to you—do you know how long it would take you to amass 4.25 trillion dollars? It would take you 4.25 million years. … By which time dollars won’t mean anything because the currency will have been replaced with handjobs. And humans will have been replaced with squid-like kangaroo creatures, and therefore a “handjob” will be a far more complicated procedure that involves taxidermied human hands that the Squidgaroos call “5-pronged sex-pumps.” (I can back that all up with primary sources.)
Anyway, this idea of the plutonomy was actually leaked out in a Citigroup analyst note several years ago. They accidentally said the quiet part out loud to their super-rich clients. It read:
“The world is dividing into two blocs – the plutonomies, where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, and the rest. …What are the common drivers of Plutonomy? Disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist-friendly cooperative governments, …and overseas conquests invigorating wealth creation, the rule of law, and patenting inventions.”
Let’s take a moment to break down what some of this means in human-speak. For example, “creative financial innovation” translates to “unique news ways to steal from people.” Then “capitalist-friendly cooperative governments,” should be read as “governments controlled by the rich designed to fuck the people at every turn.” That’s what it means when a government “cooperates” with Citibank. And finally, “overseas conquests invigorating wealth creation, the rule of law, and patenting inventions.” That gobbledygook means, “invading and taking over other nations and people and then stealing their resources.”
It’s a lovely language they speak over there at Citibank, isn’t it? I think it’s Scandinavian derived.
The Citigroup note ends with, “Often these wealth waves involve great complexity, exploited best by the rich and educated of the time.” They’re saying that the plutonomy is too complicated for us troglodyte masses with our T-shirts that say things and our extra long straws with the spoon on the end to get at our Slurpees. It’s best if we just leave it all to the rich smart people. They’d prefer we just go back to scraping the ants out of our porridge bowl that we’re sharing with an unclaimed baby.
The Class War
Now back to the Mintpress article about how awesome the rich are doing – “The fact that billionaires’ wealth is rising so rapidly in a period of economic collapse is a sign that the rich’s wealth is barely even connected to productive forces anymore and has more to do with how much wealth one can take from public coffers.”
You see, there has been a class war going on for years – perpetrated by the rich against everyone else. In a study covered in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that higher social class predicted an increase in unethical behavior. They showed that the rich are more likely to make unethical decisions, steal from others, break the law while driving, and cheat in contests.
And yet the rich are the ones who control our government and our economy. Not only should they be kept out of leadership positions, they shouldn’t even be out on the streets. We have to keep our kids safe, don’t we?
The exorbitantly rich should be put in facilities where they can be monitored and receive the treatment they require. And then – while they aren’t looking – the rest of us will create a sustainable, egalitarian, peaceful, eco-positive, utopian wonder-world where hugs don’t cause death anymore.
Lee Camp is the host of the hit comedy news show “Redacted Tonight.” His new book “Bullet Points and Punch Lines” is available at LeeCampBook.com and his standup comedy special can be streamed for free at LeeCampAmerican.com.