This is the Insurgent Radio Kiosk for Wednesday, January 15th
As Ray Charles wailed in a song of true-life blues: “Them that’s got is them that gets/And I ain’t got nothin’ yet.”
While the workaday majority of Americans continue to be mired in our low-wage economy, the precious few at the tippy-top soared out of sight in 2019. They started the year wallowing in wealth – but by year’s end, the 500 richest people saw their total haul increase by an average of $2.4-billion each! Indeed, some needed bulldozers to bank their increased wealth. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, for example, piled up an extra $27-billion last year; Bill Gates of Microsoft added $22-billion to his stash; and even though Amazon czar Jeff Bezos dropped $9-billion last year in a divorce settlement, his fortune multiplied so much that he’s still the world’s richest person.
Bear in mind that none of these moneyed elites did anything to earn these extraordinary bonanzas. They didn’t work any harder, didn’t get smarter, didn’t add anything of value to society. They simply reclined in luxury and let their money make money. That’s a dirty little secret of our rigged economic system – unfettered inequality begets ever-expanding inequality.
Another dirty little secret is that billionaire-ism is hereditary. Right-wing media baron Rupert Murdoch, for example, doled out $10-billion to his six children last year. So – voila! – thus were born six brand-spanking-new baby billionaires, who did nothing to reach the top of the world’s financial heap, except please daddy.
Not only are the rich different from you and me, but the filthy rich are also different from the merely rich. It can take hard work, creativity, perseverance, and luck to become a millionaire, but in today’s skewed wealth system, multibillionaires don’t need any of that – their money does all the work to lift them above everyone else.
“World’s richest gain $1.2 trillion in 2019,” Austin American Statesman, December 28, 2019.
“Beneath Economic Gloss, 2020 Democrats See A Struggling Working Class,” December 30, 2019.
Hightower’s commentaries are brought to you by The Hightower Lowdown, the monthly newsletter with Hightower’s take on what Wall Street and Washington are up to. For information, visit hightowerlowdown.org.
It’s today’s Action Calendar!
A Cap Times panel discussion addressing “Madison’s Gentrifying Neighborhoods: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”, will kick off at 7 p.m. this evening at the High Noon Saloon, 701 East Washington. Madison’s rising property values are a sign of the City’s collective prosperity, but higher prices for homes and apartments make both unaffordable for many. Free and open to all, the session will be moderated by Cap Times City Government Reporter Abigail Becker. For information, phone 252-6420.
NewBridge Senior Center Lunches will offer meals to those 60 and older on Thursday, January 16th from noon to 1 p.m. at the Meadowridge Library, 5740 Raymond Road. There is a suggested minimum donation of $4.00, but participants can contribute what’s affordable. Transportation is available. Meal and bus reservations should be made today by calling 238-7368.
Due to a recent court ruling regarding inactivation of voter registrations, the Madison City Clerk’s Office strongly encourages voters to verify their registration status. Voters with on-line access may verify their registrations by visiting MyVote.wi.gov. Voters without access to the internet are encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s Office directly to verify their registration status. Phone 266-4601 for information.
The Insurgent Radio Kiosk is a four minute pre-recorded segment featuring a commentary and a calendar of daily events. Events must be low cost or non-profit and of interest to people in and around the WORT listening area. Please submit announcements at least ten days before the event at wortfm.org/kiosk/announcements.
The Kiosk is available online at wortfm.org/kiosk.
This has been the Insurgent Radio Kiosk heard weekdays at 5:00, 6:30 and 9:00 AM and at 2:00 PM. With Engineer Alida, I’m Union Maid. Submit announcements at least ten days in advance of the event at wortfm.org/kiosk/announcements.