There are over 2,000 billionaires in the world and every single one of them is richer than they deserve.
Billionaires aren’t the super inspirational leaders of capitalism. They’re actually a nasty by-product of financial market deregulation and tax breaks for the wealthy. And their existence harms you personally.
How much is a billion dollars?
A billion dollars is equal to 1,000 million, or $1,000,000,000.
It’s difficult to conceptualize how much a billion dollars really is, even if you’re an intelligent person with a brain for math. The sum is so outrageously huge, so beyond our normal everyday frame of reference. It’s far easier to understand it on paper than in practice.
A billion dollars is more than just a staggering amount of money, it’s a staggering amount of power. Billionairehood doesn’t simply mean a life of incredible leisure and luxury, it means an existence above the law. Being a billionaire means being able to circumvent the law because you can pay any price anybody asks to get out of jail.
A billion dollars is an impossible amount of wealth
If a billionaire decided to put themselves on a financial diet and restrict their yearly spending to match the limits of the common man, they could live without running out of money for 32,155 years.
When people come to the defense of billionaires, they often do it with a scarcity complex. There’s this strange idea that if we redistributed all the billionaires’ wealth, there wouldn’t be “enough”. This is where not being able to conceptualize how much a billion dollars is: there is more than enough.
We can have billionaires or we can eliminate homelessness, provide universal public education, ensure everyone has healthcare, abolish student loan debt, and more. That’s how much money it is.
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What’s wrong with billionaires?
In short, everything. Being a billionaire should be considered a hallmark of sociopathy because it is.
We tend to think of billionaires as deserving of their wealth. They’re not. We need to be more critical of the painful reality that the existence of a billionaire depends on literally tens of thousands of people suffering in poverty. We cannot have one without the other.
If you think thousands of people deserve to suffer so a single person can buy a superyacht, you may want to get your mental health checked out too. It is immoral that one person can hoard (and all billionairism is hoarding) amounts that could mean life or death for entire populations.
It is not right that one person commits suicide because they get slapped with a $100,000 medical debt that bankrupts their family, and another spends millions encrusting a luxury car in gemstones.
Nobody earns a billion dollars (and you won’t either)
There’s no such thing as a “self-made” billionaire, even though many of them are touted as such. In actuality, the ultra-wealthy earn very little of their wealth.
There is only one way to make a billion dollars: through the ownership of assets. These are usually financial securities like company stocks, and to a lesser extent real estate. These assets do most of the legwork in getting their owner to $1 billion or more. Nobody is working or earning here. They are owning.
Bill Gates stopped working and started "trying to give away all his money" 13 years ago.
He had $50bn when he stopped working.
He has $106bn today.
See the problem? https://t.co/DEh8soIZkA
— Lee J. Carter (@carterforva) November 9, 2019
Once you have a billion dollars, it will actually keep growing quicker than you can spend it, no matter how hard you try. Many of the world’s billionaires committed to “generosity” have actually found their fortunes doubled in the time they’ve been trying to give them away.
Billionaires are capitalism’s Frankenstein
Billionaires are made by corrupt governments who fail to adequately tax the rich. Failing to pay adequate corporate and personal income taxes led to a hoarding of wealth in investments.
The political deregulation of North American and global financial markets allowed this wealth to compound at an alarming rate. In fact, the wealth of billionaires has been growing by 20% year over year.
Being a billionaire is a form of psychopathy
When a person hoards wealth to the tune of a billion dollars, they do so at the expense of adequate food, shelter, and medical care for other human beings. A billion dollars is a sum that does virtually nothing in the hands of a single person but could transform the livelihood of thousands.
Every single day, every single billionaire decides that their wealth is better utilized existing as numbers on a screen rather than being used in a way to improve the world. They could save people from death without even remotely compromising their lifestyle. They choose not to.
Listen no one is "vilifying" rich people. They ARE villains. If you run a billion dollar company, give yourself millions in dollars and benefits, but pay your individual workers less than a living wage and give them shitty insurance, what are you if not a villain?
— Black to the Future (@Adjective_J) November 7, 2019
Billionaires are villains. We can’t keep pretending otherwise.
Bill Gates would need to give away $1 billion per year to keep his fortune from growing
Whenever anyone criticizes billionaires, many of their defenders rush to offer praise for Bill Gates. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest philanthropic trust with the world. Since setting up the foundation in 1994, Bill and Melinda Gates have donated more than $36 billion to charitable causes.
Sounds great right? Bill Gates would need to give away $1 billion per year to keep his fortune from growing. Oh, and don’t forget these donations personally gave the Gates couple an 11% income tax break. That’s nearly $4 billion by the way.
Bill Gates is actually a perfect example of the worst sort of billionaire. He’s not casually hiding in the background, swimming in a sea of bills, hoping no one notices how rich he is. He’s out there feeding the narrative that he’s a do-gooder, billionaires are ok guys, and we should be totally fine with a single person having a bank balance greater than some nations’ GDPs.
Bill Gates and other billionaires give to charity not out of the goodness of their hearts, but to placate the masses so there’s no revolt.
How do we fight the billionaire class?
While it’s easy to feel powerless fighting people who literally have more wealth than you could accumulate in tens of thousands of lifetimes, there are things you can do!
Get politically involved. Elect leaders and representatives who advocate for better wealth redistribution and higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy. Be outspoken and critical about the growing problem of wealth inequality.
Holy lord, the pushback I’ve been getting for my Bloomberg tweets is wild.
Imagine being a billionaire apologist.
They’re not kings.
Don’t volunteer for serfdom.
— Victor LaValle (@victorlavalle) November 8, 2019
And most importantly, stop seeing the wealth Billionaires have amassed as earned or fair. It isn’t. And start seeing it for what it is: financial and physical security that has been stolen from you and everyone else.