Socialist senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has once again shown his most radical ideas on Twitter by criticizing the fortunes of the richest men on the planet, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. For him, these levels of enrichment are “unsustainable” and “immoral.”
“We are in a moment in American history where two guys — Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos — own more wealth than the bottom 40% of people in this country. That level of greed and inequality is not only immoral. It is unsustainable,” Senator Bernie Sanders said on Twitter last Thursday.
This is not the first time Sanders has spoken out against “the big money” -in fact, it’s his way of practicing politics-. The senator from Vermont, for example, promotes economic measures such as taxes on the wealth of “ultra millionaires.” In addition, he has repeatedly attacked millionaires despite the fact that he himself recognized himself as rich for “selling a lot of books.”
Elon Musk responds to Sanders
Sanders’ comments generated a lot of controversy among his followers, detractors and moderates.
For example, CleanTechnica, a website that often covers news related to Tesla -Musk’s company– called Sanders’ comments and criticism against the South African “ridiculous.”
While the South African billionaire didn’t respond directly to Sanders, he did take advantage of a CleanTechnica tweet to defend his fortune by arguing that his desire is to make life more “multi-planetary.”
“I am accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary & extend the light of consciousness to the stars,” Musk said on Twitter. Musk himself stated that his rocket manufacturing company, SpaceX, aims to land on Mars in 2026 with people on board.
Last year, Musk also stated that he plans to send one million people to Mars by 2050 by launching 3 Startschip rockets daily. This would generate “a lot of jobs” on the red planet, according to the billionaire.
It is worth noting that Sanders, not very happy with the South African’s explanation, decided to criticize him again on Twitter: “Space travel is an exciting idea, but right now we need to focus on Earth and create a progressive tax system so that children don’t go hungry, people are not homeless and all Americans have healthcare. The level of inequality in America is obscene and a threat to our democracy.”
A tax “to combat corporate greed”
In a press release issued March 17, the Vermont senator explained that he, along with “Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) along with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) introduced the CEO Excessive Compensation Tax Act on Wednesday to combat corporate greed by raising taxes on companies that pay their top executives at least 50 times more than the average worker’s salary.”
The curious thing about the communiqué is that, among other things, they intrinsically admit that the legislation is somewhat reactionary in punishing top executives who receive high salaries and that the idea is to end this “wealth inequality” between top managers and workers.
In short, it is a tax burden to punish managers, not to benefit workers.
“Americans across the political spectrum are outraged by the extreme differences between management and worker salaries. According to a national survey, the typical American would cap CEO pay at no more than 6 times that of the average worker,” they explained in the release. “About 62% of Americans -52% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats- favor limiting CEO pay relative to that of workers.”
“The American people understand that today we are moving toward an oligarchic form of society in which the very wealthy are doing phenomenally well, and working families are struggling in a way we haven’t seen since the Great Depression,” said Socialist Senator Sanders. “At a time of enormous income and wealth inequality, the American people are demanding that profitable big businesses pay their fair share of taxes and treat their employees with the dignity and respect they deserve. That’s what this legislation will begin to do.”
Sanders questions improving quality of life
What Senator Sanders does not comment on is that, during the Trump administration, in matters of “inequality”, racial minorities and American families notoriously improved their quality of life thanks to the accumulation of wealth, the reduction of taxes, and the increase in labor supply.
According to Census Bureau data released in 2019, economic and social standards were much better than in previous years. For example, the median household income grew by more than $4,400. That is, a year-on-year rebound of 6.8%.
Dividing families by race, thanks to this improvement in median income, the black population increased its income by 7.9 %, while Hispanics improved by 7.1 %. Asians, breaking records, reached 10.6 %.
Many politicians, such as Sanders, comment that the United States is the “most unequal country in the world”, and that the main people affected by this problem are the “racial minorities”. But statistically this is false. Moreover, talking about inequality can be counterproductive if it fails to attack the biggest problem: poverty.
The pandemic greatly affected the country’s most vulnerable populations. By October of last year, the number of poor people had risen to a staggering 8 million. While the country was in good economic health with Trump, the coronavirus crisis was a direct hook to the chin to almost all economies globally, and one of the great objectives for the country is to return to reduce the unemployment rate to historic lows as in pre-pandemic times. To achieve this ambitiuous goal, it’s necessary the help of millionaires who invest and create jobs, the middle class, the workers themselves and also politicians in order to generate productive measures to help the business sector and not the opposite.