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Posted: March 31, 2024

It’s time to do away with wealth inequity

“Perceptions,” by Gerry Warner

Op-Ed Commentary

No one with a brain would argue against a minimum wage. You might as well argue against motherhood, apple pie or Tayor Swift. People will certainly argue about how high the minimum wage should be. And they’ll argue loudly. But they won’t argue against the need for a minimum wage. That’s a given.

So, if a minimum wage is so important why aren’t we hearing an argument for a maximum wage? Beats me. In this deeply polarized society we live in, support for a maximum wage should be a slam dunk because it would redistribute wealth on a more equitable basis that would be good for all. But some people resist change even though they would ultimately benefit too.

Does Elon Musk need every last penny of his fortune estimated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index at $189 billion? Does Edmonton Oilers star forward Connor McDavid need $12.5 million a year to put a piece of rubber into a net? Taylor Swift is expected to make $150 million this year for breaking hearts world-wide.

Meanwhile the average American CEO made $16.7 million last year while the working stiffs they employed made $61,900 according to an AFL/CIO analysis. That’s a ratio of 272 to one in favor of the managerial class over the workers. Nice work if you can get it.

Surely it can’t be denied that today’s world has evolved into an autocracy of wealth far beyond the gilded fortunes of the past. Today’s wealthy plutocrats literally don’t know what to do with their largesse although buying yachts has grown quite popular especially if you’re Russian.

Kidding aside, the extreme disparity between the rich and the poor has become so obscene it’s threatening the social and political stability of the world. You don’t have to look very far south to see it and the farther south you go the worse it gets. The same if you go east or west.

As a planet in the throes of climate change, we’re increasingly faced by drought, famine, wildfires, floods, mass migration and more while on the political and social side we’re faced with the rise of authoritarianism. fascism, racism and extremism that are precursors to war with two underway already killing thousands and more likely to follow.

It’s time to wake up world! Armageddon is on the way and if we don’t change our ways soon another holocaust will be on the way and it could be the last. So, what can we do to stop it? Maybe nothing but a good way to start would be to redistribute the wealth that the Earth has so generously provided us. And who knows better how to do this than the hardworking, risk-taking, entrepreneurial and bold business managers that produced much of the wealth in the first place.

In other words, tax the rich!

I admit they may not like it at first. After all, most of them worked hard for their wealth and it’s only natural for them to keep it. But they’re not stupid and their well-used brains will lead them to conclude that if we don’t act now the result will be disastrous.

So ultimately, they’ll agree to paying a special tax – a Save the Earth tax if you will – because in the long run they’ll realize it’s the only way to save what will be left of their own wealth too.

Therefore, some sort of a Universal Basic Income is inevitable if we want to save the earth. It would be financed by taxing the rich a fraction of what they earn and would go to raise the living standard of those living in abject poverty and provide them with a life worth living. It would also be used to combat climate change by spending billions, and I truly mean billions, on a herculean infrastructure project to protect the earth from the destructive impacts of a dangerously warming climate.

And who will make this stupendous project possible? The rich of course. They’ve got the skills and they also have the most to lose.

– Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who likes to think out of the box.

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