Whenever my conservative Dad and I would argue politics, I would tell him: “When the revolution comes, you know what side I’ll be on!”
The following piece in This Week makes me think the we’re even closer to the time when there will be another Civil War in America:
Billionaires: When the super-rich get richer. 3/23/2007
“It should simply be called the green list,” said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. Forbes magazine last week released its annual tally of the people with the most greenbacks, identifying a record 946 billionaires whose mega-fortunes can only leave the rest of us green with envy. For the 13th year in a row, Bill Gates (net worth, $56 billion) led the way, but this year’s list includes a record number of Chinese, Russians, and other foreigners. Noting that the number of billionaires is up nearly 20 percent over last year, Forbes declared this “the richest year ever in human history.” Excuse me for not celebrating, said Tony Hendra in Huffingtonpost.com. In America, the gap between rich and poor is only growing, while the net worth of the world’s 4 billion poorest souls actually dropped, to less than $35 dollars each. Those who demand more equitable distribution of wealth are often derided as socialists or “bleeding hearts.” But when a handful of tycoons makes more in a day than much of the world makes in a lifetime, it’s tempting to start humming the “Internationale.”
Perhaps we’d be less envious, said Gregg Easterbrook in the Los Angeles Times, if the super-rich were more charitable. Not counting the “sainted” Warren Buffett—who gave away $44 billion last year—the 60 leading American philanthropists donated $7 billion, out of their combined net worth of $584 billion. That’s a mere 1.2 percent of their vast fortunes. Multibillionaires such as software magnate Larry Ellison, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and even that great champion of equality, financier and liberal activist George Soros, all gave less than 1 percent. Consider that in his day, industrialist Andrew Carnegie gave away 78 percent of his net worth. Billionaires can use only so many yachts, cars, and estates. Which raises the question: “Why do the super-rich hoard?”
Read the rest to find out how such extravagant wealth is rationalized.
I don’t care how anyone rationalizes the appropriateness of all that wealth being hoarded by those few monumentally wealthy individuals. There has to be a better way to set up an economic system where there is a more fair and humane distribution of what we all need to live safe, healthy, and fundamentally comfortable lives..
And speaking of potentially annihilating strife, the following excerpt is from Is Missile Defense Aimed at Russia? in This Week:
Russia is not angry about a nonexistent threat to its nuclear deterrent. It’s mad that a U.S. base will be another hindrance to a Russian invasion of Poland. No matter who’s in charge, “whether Ivan the Terrible, Joseph Stalin, or Vladimir Putin,” Russia always wants to conquer, to expand. With U.S. troops on Polish soil, Poland will be protected even more surely than by our membership in NATO. And the U.S. will be protected against incoming missiles from Iran or North Korea.
Finally, it’s a
Bad Week For Queen-size beds, after a University of Vienna study found that when men slept alongside their female partners, they woke up the next day less rested and with impaired cognitive functions. “We were never meant to sleep in the same bed as each other,’’ a sleep expert said.