With pixels as units of measurement.
We rarely see wealth inequality represented to scale. This is part of the reason Americans consistently under-estimate the relative wealth of the super rich.
We can have a world in which wealthy people exist, without handing nearly all money to the super rich.
OK, now that we’ve established the scale of inequality in the United States, let’s dare to dream a little bigger.
What could we do with 40% of this money ($2.96 trillion owned by the 400 richest Americans.)
Give $10,000 to every American household.
There are about 128 million households in the United States. To give each one $10,000 would cost $1.28 trillion, or about 43% of the wealth controlled by 400 Americans.
As Americans debate how and when to open the economy after coronavirus, we are frequently presented with a seemingly impossible choice between risking millions of lives and sliding into a great depression through a continued lock down. This is a repugnant lie.
The money to weather this storm while maintaining quarantine exists, it’s just a matter of finding the political will to take it.
What could we do with 85% of this money?
Give $10,000 to every American household. ¶ Test every American for coronavirus. ¶ Eradicate Malaria. ¶ Provide clean water and waste disposal to every human on earth. ¶ Eliminate all federal taxes on households earning less than $80,000 for the next four years.
Remainder for the 400 richest Americans: $500 billion.
These programs combined would completely transform our world. By redistributing this wealth, millions of lives would be saved. Billions would be rescued from poverty and disease. By inconveniencing just 400 people, the entire human race could advance to a new, unprecedented level of development.
And all of them would still be billionaires afterwards.
I think a general strike is needed around the world demanding a basic income of between $1000 to $2000 a month for all human beings, and a one-time payment of around $125,000 to each person when they reach 25 years of age, financed by a progressive tax rate on the wealthiest people in the planet.
You mean you have not read the 800 pages of Thomas Piketty’s Capital In The 21st Century?! Okay then, here is a succinct explanation, and his latest book has some solutions to the very big problem of extreme wealth inequality, which leads to the destruction of our environment and us.
✶ Wednesday, 29 April 2020