Opinion | Billionaires do not deserve wealth abundance


Photo Courtesy of Seattle City Council

Jeff Bezos speaks at the Amazon Spheres Grand Opening in Seattle on Jan. 28, 2018. Columnist Abril believes billionaires like Bezos, who earns more than $1.5 billion per week according to Business Insider, shouldn’t exist in today’s poverty-filled society.

By Abril Salinas, Columnist

What would you do if you were a billionaire? Would you spend your money on lavish cars and real estate? Or maybe you would donate it to charity or invest it?  Well, whatever the case, being a billionaire is only something most of us can dream of becoming.

And with income inequality growing at an alarming rate within the United States, that dream seems to be getting farther and farther away.  According to CNN, in the U.S., the top 1% own more of the nation’s wealth than the bottom 90% combined. This leads me to one conclusion: Billionaires should not exist. 

No one needs billions of dollars. At times, I think it can be hard for us to understand just how much money billionaires are sitting on. So, as you have probably already seen if you’ve been on social media within the past few months, this tweet puts things into perspective:

“If you worked every single day, making $5,000 a day, from the time Columbus sailed to America, to the time you are reading this, you would still have less money than Jeff Bezos makes in a week.” 

A bold statement, I know. But the math checks out. There have been 528 years between the time Columbus sailed to “America” in 1492 to now in 2020. If you take those 528 years and multiple it by 365.25 to show how many days it’s been since then, you would get 192,852 days. Multiply that by the $5,000 proposed in the tweet and you would get $964.3 million. If you take those $964.3 million and subtract it from one billion dollars, there would still be $35.7 million remaining.

That is just one billion dollars, but according to Business Insider, Jeff Bezos makes “more than $1.5 billion a week,”  meaning that no matter how ridiculous it sounds, the tweet is right. 

So why is it a big deal if someone has that much money? Well, to state it again, no one needs that much money. No one. 

While there are billionaires like Bill Gates, who donated more than half of his wealth to charity and co-started The Giving Pledge where members who join pledge half of their wealth to philanthropic causes, most billionaires are spending their money on private jets and ridiculously lavish real estate. 

That is what makes the notion unacceptable that it’s okay for billionaires like Jeff Bezos to exist when in 2018, there were more than 38.1 million people in poverty. 

I understand that it’s become a controversial and political topic to talk about billionaires. And with presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders talking about taxing the rich, it’s easy to see why it has taken that implication. 

But higher taxes on the wealthy would mean freeing up more money for everyone else. Billionaires were once considered a rare breed, but with tax cuts in the last few decades, they have flourished and doubled into the people we know now. But, again, no single person needs that much money. 

Think of it this way. If the economy is a pie, billionaires have taken most of it, leaving only one slice for everyone else.

Abril is a freshman in Media.

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