You’ve heard it from us before, but it still stands to be repeated – while millions of working people’s lives have been devastated by the last two years, the richest Americans are doing better than ever. Billionaire wealth has more than doubled and both corporate profits and corporate executive pay have hit record highs, all while the living conditions of most Americans have remained stagnant or declined.
We might have hoped to see this trend slow down in the wake of the latest wave of COVID-19 but, in its place, we’re seeing rising prices choke American families and further enrich wealthy corporate executives and shareholders. Corporate price gouging, using the surge of inflation as a cover, is directly impacting Americans everywhere. From the gas pump to the grocery shelves, the rich are squeezing American families dry.
This week, we’re exposing the absurd level of advantages the rich have received over the course of the pandemic and shining a light on how they’re exploiting the average American for their own selfish gain.
The Pandemic Made the Rich $1.7 Trillion Richer by John Nichols
Over the last two years of the pandemic, the billionaire class has made out better than ever. While most Americans sacrificed just to get by, their wealth has more than doubled. This wasn’t an accident – it was the direct result of the fact that the ultra-wealthy play by a different set of rules than working people. They have abused loopholes they’ve created in the tax code to grow their wealth even more and rigged the economy in their favor. This absurd growth in wealth has contributed to an environment in which more and more Americans are calling for billionaires to be taxed.
Excessive corporate CEO pay isn’t just unfair – it’s bad for business. This article argues that the corporate framework of giving executives exorbitant compensation packages actually hurts many companies thanks to a top-down approach that often gets in the way of creativity and betterment. Rather than rewarding innovation or efficiency, high executive compensation often leads to companies prioritizing short-term gains that lead to long-term problems. The alternative path is obvious – employees at all levels of the corporate food chain deserve to be respected and compensated appropriately.
Wall Street Bonuses Hit Record High by Jeanne Sahadi
When we say the rich are doing better than ever, this kind of story is what we’re talking about. Bonuses for Wall Street employees have shot up 20% from 2020 with an average of over $257,000 per year. This is yet another reminder of how most of the benefits of our current economy are concentrated in just a few hands. While Wall Street may be thriving, almost a third of the workforce is still earning less than $15/hour, which comes out to an annual income of less than $31,200. That is just barely one-eighth of the average Wall Street bonus.
No industry loves using inflation as a guise for price gouging more than the oil industry. In response to outrageous gas prices putting the squeeze on millions of American families’ wallets, Congressional Democrats have proposed issuing a one-time tax on corporations that import more than 300,000 barrels of oil per day and then using the revenue to support American families. They estimate that this tax could pay for a $360 stimulus check for each American. The oil companies may act like this tax would destroy their business, but it would actually still allow them to make significant profits, just slightly smaller ones.