By Jack Kelly
If you have “Bubonic Plague” on your 2020 Bingo card—congratulations, you’ve won! Authorities in the Chinese region of Mongolia reported a case of the bubonic plague this past weekend. The plague is caused by bacteria transmitted through flea bites and infected animals. It’s one of the deadliest virus epidemics in human history. This is the brutal disease that caused the Black Death in the Middle Ages and killed about 50 million people in Europe.
Speaking of plagues, one of the dangers we are currently confronting in the wake of Covid-19 is the alarming consolidation of power centered on a few big companies and a small percentage of ridiculously wealthy multibillionaires. Income and wealth inequality is off the charts. Historically, when you have such a large discrepancy between the rich and poor, things don’t end up too well. It’s led to social unrest, guillotines, increases in mindless violence and the degradation of living conditions—sounds uncomfortably familiar, right?
The middle class and the poor have been hit the hardest. Meanwhile, the “Amazon recovery” has made feudal oligarchs, such as Jeff Bezos, even richer and their companies stronger. Amazon’s stock price has skyrocketed over 50% since the beginning of April. Amazon’s founder saw his wealth soar by an *additional* $30 billion dollars during the pandemic.
Small businesses that were deemed non-essential were forced to close down their operations. Many owners will never reopen again or recover their financial losses. More than 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the Covid-19 outbreak started.
This bleak economy and job-loss crisis has made people worried about their financial futures. As reported in Bloomberg, Americans are no longer interested in going out and spending money. A survey of 2,200 adults in the United States reflected a newly emerged behavior. American consumers are buying less stuff. They’d rather save their money—afraid of what will happen next. There’s waning interest in public events and material objects. The study shows a new austerity—like squirrels hiding their nuts to get them through the cold winter. The American consumer is the biggest driver of the U.S. economy. If they continue boycotting buying things, it doesn’t bode well and foreshadows a new era of fear and frugality. Less spending means less money for businesses, which means less jobs and more layoffs.
Along with the bubonic plague, pitchfork-wielding protesters marched upon the wealthy enclaves of Hamptons estates calling out the uber-rich and pointing out ever increasing income inequality.
Ironically, hundreds of protestors paid visits to the palatial homes of some of the world’s wealthiest people, including ex-New York City Mayor and founder of Bloomberg (which sponsored the aforementioned study) Mike Bloomberg.
In the toney town of Southampton, the crowd chanted, “Tax the rich, not the poor!” Outside of Bloomberg’s $20 million mansion, he was called the real “looter.” The protestors claim, “It’s clear the real looters in New York are billionaires—and it’s time to make them pay their fair share so we can all thrive.” They propose raising taxes on the 118 billionaires that live in New York.
Alicé Nascimento, director of policy and research for New York Communities for Change, which helped organize the action, said, “Enough is enough—it’s time for New York state to raise taxes on the rich instead of cutting services for working people.” Members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation also took part in the protest. “Billionaires take our land to build golf courses and mansions, profit from the ravages of coronavirus, and exploit our labor.”