AuthorHightower, Jim

There's a new political army on the march in America, moving forcibly into the 2020 presidential campaign. Tromp-tromp-tromp they come. Its the Billionaire Brigade!

It's actually a very small army--only 749 Americans rank as billionaires, but they have lots of firepower. Collectively, they've amassed some $4 trillion in personal wealth and now grab nearly all of the new wealth that our economy creates.

Understandably, the extreme avarice and the inequality these billionaires have created have spurred populist outrage among the vast majority of workaday Americans, who are being stiffed by plutocratic elites.

In one response, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and other Democratic leaders are proposing a widely popular wealth tax on the opulent riches being amassed and hoarded away by this tiny group--and ho, what wails of anguish this legislation has generated in the lairs of billionaires! They're indignant that fortunes above $50 million would be assessed a teeny surtax to help fund education, health care, infrastructure, and America's other essential needs.

So, the Billionaire Brigade has organized a PR blitz to try to change public opinion. With a rallying cry of Save the Poor Rich, we have such spectacles as Mark Zuckerberg lamenting that taxing his gabillions would hurt charities; Michael Bloomberg suggesting that the tax could turn America into Venezuela; Bill Gates moaning that it would eliminate rich people's incentive to get up and go to work every day; and Wall Street baron Leon Cooperman actually tearing up while complaining on a cable news show that a wealth tax is a "morally, and socially, bankrupt" idea that would harm his family.

As one money manager said of his elite clients, "These tax proposals are scaring the bejeezus out of people who have accumulated a lot of wealth."

"Bejeezus"? I don't think there's much Jesus in these people! The Biblical Jesus I learned about in my childhood would bless Sanders, Warren, and the majority of Americans who favor a wealth tax to benefit the common good. No need to cry for the few hundred haughty families whose love of money will be only slightly dinged by this tax--every one of them will still be fabulously rich. Plus, they'll be privileged to live in a country that's a little more closely aligned with its people's egalitarian values. And that's priceless.

We might expect that billionaires, corporate chieftains, Koch-funded right-wingers (and their bought-and-paid-for Republican Party)...

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