In recent years, the phrase “eat the rich” has become a rallying cry in the movement for income equality. I support it in principle and rhetorically. I think gratuitous wealth is gross, and I endorse the idea of wealthy people paying their fair share. Plus, “eat the rich” sounds great rolling off the tongue.
But I regret to inform all the non-rich people out there: You are the ones being eaten. In the past week alone, multiple scandals involving powerful organizations have highlighted the extent to which wealthy Americans have tilted the odds in their favor at your and my expense.
Are we prepared to demand a life for ourselves better than the pittance our rich rulers are willing to offer?
On Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report known as the “Pandora Papers,” detailing how some of the world’s most affluent people — oligarchs and authoritarians among them — park their money in secret tax havens, including South Dakota.
On Tuesday, a whistleblower outlined evidence showing how Facebook executives have moved to maximize profits at the expense of users’ sanity, including ignoring the site’s harmful impact on young girls and teenagers.
And on Wednesday, a Reuters report found that telecommunications giant AT&T has helped finance One America News Network, a far-right outlet that has featured guests with white supremacist views and routinely spread disinformation about the 2020 election.
And this is to say nothing of the conservative lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — who are wringing their hands over the price tag of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and social welfare bills. Republicans are almost universally opposed to passing any of Biden’s social welfare proposals.
Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has haggled with the Biden administration over the cost of the president’s spending bill, said he was worried that the proposed legislation would create an “entitlement mentality.” Days later, Manchin was recorded speaking to protesters from the deck of his houseboat after they floated out to see him.
And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another Democratic holdout quibbling over the spending proposal, left Congress last weekend to attend a fundraiser with donors at a high-end Phoenix resort.
So, I ask again: Are Americans prepared to begin eating the rich yet? Are we prepared to demand a life for ourselves better than the pittance our rich rulers are willing to offer? I ask because I’m starving, and I was told dinner started years ago.
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