Thursday, July 4, 2019

Robert Reich: Let's Abolish Billionaires

Robert Reich disappointed me recently by peddling the Russia-gate myth.

More than at any time in history, while most Americans are struggling to make ends meet. With such staggering inequality, it’s fair to ask: should we abolish billionaires?
There are basically only four ways to accumulate a billion dollars – and none of them is a product of so-called free market capitalism.
Billionaires themselves aren’t the problem. The real failure is in how our economy is organized.
One way to make a billion is to exploit a monopoly.
Jeff Bezos is worth $150 billion. You might say he deserves this because he founded and built Amazon. But Amazon is a monopoly with nearly 50 percent of all e-commerce retail sales in America (and e-commerce is one of the largest sectors of all retail sales). Consumers have few alternatives.
Nor do many suppliers who sell through Amazon; for the first 25 years of its existence, Amazon wouldn’t let them sell at a lower price anywhere else. And Amazon’s business is protected by patents granted Amazon by the U.S. government and enforced by government.
Let’s abolish billionaires by changing the way the economy is organized.
This doesn’t mean confiscating the wealth and assets of the super rich. It does mean getting rid of monopolies, stopping the use of insider information, preventing the rich from buying off politicians, and making it harder for the super-rich to avoid paying taxes.

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