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Opinion

Billionaires should not exist

Billionaires steal money from workers, then they hoard the money, which keeps that money from circulating in the economy.

Billionaires shouldn’t exist.

Billionaires steal money from workers by not paying them what they’re worth, then they hoard the money, tying it up in stocks, real estate, and other investments, which keeps that money from circulating in the economy.

If workers received that money instead, they’d spend it. They’d buy more groceries. They’d buy more gas. They’d buy more clothes. They’d eat out more, go to the movies more, and go to arts and sporting events more.

As workers spend more money on groceries, production at agri-food facilities would increase. As workers spend more money on fuel, production at oil extraction facilities (and downstream refinery facilities) would increase. As workers spend more money on clothes, production at textile facilities would increase. And so on.

And as production increases, so do the jobs needed to make that added production possible. Plus, increasing worker wages increases class mobility, reduces poverty and homelessness, improves education, improves healthcare, reduces crime, and improves quality of life in general. And since the rich are the ones that primarily fund political campaigns, they can influence public policy more than the average worker can.

Billionaires kill jobs. Taking money from billionaires creates jobs.

Billionaires worsen quality of life. Taking money from billionaires improves quality of life.

Billionaires improve public policy for the wealthy. Taking money from billionaires improves public policy for everyone.

Another way companies generate profit is by keeping the cost of raw materials low. Whether it’s getting municipal water at low rates, low royalty rates on oil and gas extraction, discounts on forestry harvesting, or low costs for mineral extraction, companies are intent on convincing governments to keep their resource extraction rates low. The less they pay to extract public resources, the more resources they can extract for the same amount of money. The more public resources they can extract, the higher the profits they’ll make on their final product.

In addition, billionaires depend on government subsidies to realize company profits. Their companies depend on publicly funded infrastructure to move their products to market, receive raw materials to produce those products, and to get their employees to work. Their companies depend on publicly funded health care to keep their workforce healthy. Their companies depend on publicly funded emergency services to keep their employees and workplace safe. Their companies depend on publicly funded education to provide an educated workforce. Their companies depend on publicly funded municipal water and sewage services for production. And so on. And those are the indirect subsidies. That doesn’t include tax breaks, grants, and other direct financial subsidies that companies can then use to boost profits.

It’s a myth that billionaires generate their wealth by their own hard work or other metrics of merit (education, experience, etc). Their wealth comes from worker exploitation, resource exploitation, and government subsidization.

Society needs to do away with billionaires. It needs to prevent average CEO pay from being 270 times higher than average worker pay. It needs to implement a maximum wage. It needs make resource extraction more expensive. It needs to tax billionaires at higher rates.

Some people might cite all the donations the wealthy make to nonprofits. Here’s the thing though. The causes they donate to—poverty, homelessness, disease eradication, clean water, and so on—are causes that could be eliminated if workers had more money and governments had higher revenues. If governments had higher revenues, they could improve health outcomes, such as higher life expectancy, lower infection rates, and improving water quality. If workers had higher wages, they wouldn’t need to be poor or homeless. Billionaires hoarding wealth is causing the problems they’re donating to.

Society needs to stop subsidizing the wealth hoarding of billionaires.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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