How do we define the term “obscenely wealthy”? We start with people who already have more wealth than any humans in the history of our species. We then watch these people getting much wealthier, much faster than anyone else on the planet. And then we listen to them lusting for even more wealth.
No one does a better job of illustrating obscene wealth than the lovers-of-Big-Money at Bloomberg. It’s recent headline summarizes this attitude perfectly:
Billionaires Worth $1.9 Trillion Seek Advantage in 2013
We have a handful of Oligarchs sitting on a mountain of wealth large enough to completely eliminate global poverty – with enough left over for they and their entire family clans to live lives of perpetual luxury. However this is not the truly “obscene” aspect of this paradigm. The true obscenity lies in the fact that these Oligarchs remain obsessed with getting much richer, much faster – and at the expense (literally) of everyone else.
Again, Bloomberg illustrates this for us with perfect clarity. It notes that these billionaires who were worth roughly $1.65 trillion at the beginning of 2012 are now worth $1.9 trillion at the end of 2012. That’s approximately a 15% increase in their total wealth, in one year, after paying(?) their taxes, and after all the lavish spending which characterizes the life of the average billionaire.
How many of the Working Poor got 15% wealthier last year – after paying their taxes and all their living expenses? Zero? Indeed, only the most entrepreneurial (or crooked) millionaires would have been able to increase their wealth at the obscene rate of these billionaires. Yet what do we hear out of the mouths of Billionaires like Warren Buffet? “Tax the millionaires.”
Specifically, tax the income of the millionaires (much harder). Note that the billionaires also have large incomes. However, once one acquires this obscene level of wealth, “income” becomes a trivial element of their total wealth.
Few billionaires have annual (taxable) “incomes” above $50 million/year. Yet for even a ‘bare’ billionaire this amounts to only 5% of their total wealth. So how did all of these billionaires get wealthier by an average of 15% last year alone? The untaxed appreciation of their vast assets...
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