Turnabout is fair play, Messers Duke

Despite my constant verbal kvetching, it is widely recognized I am not a violent guy. I have thrown two punches in anger in my entire life, and one was at my brother when I was 15, so that hardly counts. If I say something like “eat the rich,” it sounds pretty violent, but you can rest assured I won’t be getting out my fork, knife, and meat tenderizer any time soon.

But stripping them bare of all their wealth? Ah, that’s a different thing altogether!

The “rich” of a country is hard to describe. The top 1%? The top .1%? The top 5%? So let’s just toss out a couple of facts before I say anything:

  • The top 1% of the country owns 30% of the total wealth of the entire country.
  • That accounts for $35 trillion dollars. That’s a mind-bending amount, and I’ll break that down for you in an easier-to-bite form later.
  • The US has 607 billionaires. These billionaires hold among them $2.9 trillion. Just these 607 people. Which brings me to this tweet by former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich:


Yup, that’s right: With unemployment skyrocketing, people going broke left and right, everyone knowing someone losing their job (if not losing your job yourself), and folks dying, these people have made billions while everyone else is suffering. Hundreds of billions.

Eat the rich becomes a tempting idea.

What is a billion dollars, anyway? Well, let’s put it this way: The median wealth for a family of four is $98,750. If you count that family’s wealth at a dollar per second, it will take you just over a day to count every dollar.

What about a billionaire? Well, counting at a dollar per second, it will take you…31 years, 9 months, and 2+ weeks to count it all. That’s the difference. You: 1 day; a billionaire: 31 years.

And how about value? Wealth? Let’s go back to the numbers again: $98,750 for 4 vs. $1 billion for one works out to be about $40,506 for a billionaire to every dollar for you. So what does that mean? Let me put it in simple terms:

You know when you go out and you want to get something to drink and you go to those fancy-pants machines where you can get a Coke or a Dasani water or whatever, and they cost about $1.50 or $1.75 or so? And you grumble and you feed in a fin or swipe your card or maybe you have exact change praise god, but you get your bottle of whatever. Minor transaction. No big deal.

A billionaire can buy a new Camry with that little amount of concern.

That’s the difference. And a guy like Jeff Bezos, who is worth over $100 billion? He can buy 100 Camrys. With as much concern over the cost as you have over getting a Coke out of the vending machine. And less concern than you have for getting a sixer of your favorite beer, or a pack of smokes (if you smoke). Bezos can buy a private jet for his equivalent of what you or I would spend on a couple of weeks worth of groceries. I’m not exaggerating; it’s right there in the math.

People will argue I’m being unfair because I’m talking about wealth, not income. Oh no; I’m comparing wealth to wealth, not wealth to income. So you folks go ahead and put away your swords. This is apples to apples. Sorry. Try again.

Where am I going? Simple: Strip them. Strip them of everything.

For months now, Republicans have been arguing that losing 2-3 percent of the population (6+ million people! Sound like a familiar number?) is a reasonable price to pay in order to “save” the economy. That this is a totally false choice they have ignored. Well, I’m not. This is my mom they’re talking about. My beloved Aunt Maureen and Uncle Harold. My other uncles and aunts. My cousin Bill and his wife. The parents of friends of mine. I ain’t exactly a spring chicken my own self, nor are my friends.

Republicans, in their eagerness to get us back to our wage-slave positions and hopefully not notice the tremendous wealth disparity in this country, not notice that the people we are currently relying on—the bus drivers, nurses, EMTs, grocery clerks, agricultural workers, pharmacists, mail deliverers, etc—are desperately underpaid, have inadequate insurance, don’t get enough paid time off, and are in short treated like crap. If they shove everyone out the door fast enough, they believe, we won’t notice this stuff. So they bleat on about how the economy will collapse and we’ll run out of money if we don’t Get Back to Work. I’m all for getting back to work. So is everyone I know. But not if millions have to die.

So strip those rich bastards, I say.

I just showed you how much wealth they have. It’s obscene. It’s ridiculous. And it was made by all those other folks being massively underpaid for their contributions. It was made by taking advantage of the infrastructure (roads, bridges, waterways) that we, the taxpayers, pay to maintain. They have seen their taxes cut and cut and cut again. They have seen their income rise repeatedly while ours has stagnated or decreased. We have been squeezed into a life of living paycheck-to-paycheck while they make billions during a pandemic. Of course they want us to go back to work!

Those 607 people control $2.9 trillion. How long would it take to count that at one second/dollar? Nearly 92,000 years. You: 1+ day; these 607 clowns: 92,000 years. What’s the wealth conversion of $1 for them? More than $117 million ($117,467,400). For you, a Coke out of a machine; for this group, a beachfront house. Just marinate with that for a sec.

So ask yourself: Aren’t the lives of 6+ million people more important than the wealth of 607 super-rich people who can just go out and make more? We’re constantly told these people are “the job creators”, that they’re awesome at making money. Heck, as you can see from the tweet above, they’re even making billions during a pandemic. Stripping them should be no big deal, right? They’ll be back on their feet in no time, and they will have saved the economy. Which the Republicans keep telling us is absolutely critical, even more critical than losing 2-3% of the population. (Or so they insist.)

Republicans say, “You guys go out there and die.” I’m saying hell no, you staggeringly rich bastards to whom so much has been given, you give up your cushy lives for a few months.

How about you, gentle readers; what do you all say?

Trump says we’re in a war. I agree; it’s just not the one he thinks.