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Who Created our Obscene Levels of Income Inequality?: Laws & Tax Codes

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Above: Photo Collage / Lynxotic

Only the 99% can change it

Ask almost any billionaire how they got so obscenely rich and , invariably, you will get the response: “I just did what the law allows” or some convoluted version of that idea. Tax laws, property and financial regulations and structures, corporate stock options, Roth IRA tricks, all the tried and true methods outlined in a slate of recent articles from ProPublica and others are rightfully given credit for the insanely massive windfalls.

Not that these arrogant, self-centered sociopaths don’t jump at the chance to take credit for their “miraculous” good fortune, or even write books and “let” others write books about all the “genius” ideas and methods they used to conquer the universe.

Jeff Bezos is the most ridiculous example of this, literally dozens of books exist only to extol the virtues and genius of this a-hole that basically used one simple trick: selling dollar bills for .75 cents and using the stock market to “monetize” a trillion in intentional losses and turn them into “wealth”, to amass his absurd mountain of “worth”, yet if you read these books the central concept of his fraud doesn’t even get a mention.

Of course, 25 years later, the FTC and Lina Khan are finally beginning to wake up to the simple fact that, not only is the entire scam something that “ought-a-be-illegal”, but literally is illegal and always was, yet this comes across, so far, as a somewhat pathetic attempt to put a band-aid on the world after a nuclear holocaust has already devastated the planet.

AOC used her beauty and a cheeky dress to highlight the issue of income inequality

Above: Photo / Wikipedia

AOC at the Met Gala styled herself in a “Tax the Rich” gown. The look on her was beautiful. The subject matter being broached couldn’t be uglier. Tax the rich a not a bad idea, but the system is so screwed up, and so far from any semblance of “fair”, that a few little pin pricks on trillions in undeserved holdings is basically meaningless.

How can it be said that the system is that far gone? It’s in the numbers and the proportions of “wealth”. The extremes of unequal wealth distribution have risen to levels so incredible, that it’s as if they are turning into an economic ouroboros dragon that will expand and swallow itself until it has devoured all life.

The increases, during the pandemic, for example, in the “net-worth” (which is in itself an obscene concept for measuring humans) of the worlds richest animals was like the replication of the virus the rest of us were fighting to avoid, most with too few resources to have any hope of being rescued by medical intervention, if we got infected.

This idea and proof of a system vastly out of balance can be seen everywhere you look…

In a recent, excellent, NYT article on Afghanistan multiple examples were cited illustrating who really “won” that endless war, and points out that it wasn’t the just Taliban. It was locals entrepreneurs and politicians who, early on, saw the opportunity for what it really was, a way to build personal fortunes supplying the US military with support and comfort during the endless, directionless morass.

Several examples were of people who began the war as local american sympathizers and ended up with fortunes hundreds of millions of USD and more, virtually none of which trickled into the local populations which, ostensibly, the war was meant to give a chance for “democratic freedom”. And capitalism.

As pointed out in another article recently, “One Year of Afghanistan War Spending Could Fund Resettlement of 1.2 Million Refugees” . The title says it all.

Here’s a couple of paragraphs from the NYT article in full :

”Consider the case of Hikmatullah Shadman, who was just a teenager when American Special Forces rolled into Kandahar on the heels of Sept. 11. They hired him as an interpreter, paying him up to $1,500 a month — 20 times the salary of a local police officer, according to a profile of him in The New Yorker. By his late 20s, he owned a trucking company that supplied U.S. military bases, earning him more than $160 million.”

“If a small fry like Shadman could get so rich off the war on terror, imagine how much Gul Agha Sherzai, a big-time warlord-turned-governor, has raked in since he helped the C.I.A. run the Taliban out of town. His large extended family supplied everything from gravel to furniture to the military base in Kandahar. His brother controlled the airport. Nobody knows how much he is worth, but it is clearly hundreds of millions — enough for him to talk about a $40,000 shopping spree in Germany as if he were spending pocket change”

New York Times

Redistribution will likely only happen after the entire system collapses of its own stupidity

Hubris and pride before the fall is the reason that, when you read this, you’ll think perhaps this writer has lost his marbles. But the system is unsustainable in its current unequal, and increasingly unjust, form.


Sources: March 18, 2020 data: Forbes, “Forbes Publishes 34th Annual List Of Global Billionaires,” accessed March 18, 2020. August 17, 2021 data: Forbes, “The World’s Real-Time Billionaires, Today’s Winners and Losers,” accessed August 17, 2021.

Just one more ballooning of the one tenth of one percent and the system will be so out of balance, that only a total and complete realignment of reality will allow any kind of improvement in the distribution of resources.

In fact, the opposite outcome is far more likely, where to increase in the imbalance will continue ‘till there are no options, but for the current system to be drowned in its own orgy of self-congratulations.

The solutions that are out there, many even championed ironically and paradoxically by the very billionaires that sit on top of this mountain of inequality, could work. But a “penny tax” or some kind of gratuitous show of “generosity” by those that have wealth that, if the system were designed with any form of equal distribution, they would not, and could not, have, is less than nothing.

Similar to the climate conundrum, things will have to get worse, it appears, to engage and enrage people, and wake enough people up, to set a fire under enough people, to build to a tipping point toward real change. Fortunately, if you accept that inverted and convoluted logic, that day is very near.


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