National Debt

U.S. Billionaire Wealth Would Fund Government For Just 6 Months

Mocking penis-shaped rockets is no substitute for holding the feds accountable for a looming fiscal crisis.


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Where do Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson get off spending their own money to go into space when we already have a scandal-ridden and incompetent public agency for that very purpose?

All Richard Branson ever did was give away half his fortune after foisting Tubular Bells and the Sex Pistols on the world.

All Jeff Bezos ever did was make a year-long pandemic bearable by creating the company that delivered everything we wanted to our doors within hours.

Maybe Elon Musk is a welfare queen. But as long as he's spending his own doge coin and living in a $50,000 prefab house, who are we to judge?

If Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D–N.Y.) former policy guy is right that every billionaire is a policy failure, then the remedy is taking the wealth they accumulated and appropriating it for the government, which is really just another name for the things we do together.

Like manning 800 military bases in over 70 countries and spending more on defense than the next 11 nations combined

Or wasting half a century punishing people for recreational drug use and putting more Americans per capita in prison than Cuba, Russia, and China does.

Or passing massive Covid relief bills that only spend 5 percent of their totals on actual Covid relief.

There are 724 American billionaires worth a total of $4.4 trillion, according to Forbes. It's a list that includes far-out space nuts like Bezos and Musk, entertainment moguls like Steven Speilberg and Tyler Perry, and lawyer-in-training Kim Kardashian. If it were somehow possible to liquidate all of that wealth without causing a market crash that would obliterate much of it in the process, we could cover roughly half a year of combined local, state, and federal spending.  

Instead of targeting billionaires and their admittedly penis-shaped rockets, millionaires like Jon Stewart and Jason Alexander, who joined forces for this short video mocking Branson, Bezos, and Musk, should take aim at the federal government, which is the biggest dick in the room by a few orders of magnitude.

Our national debt is around $22 trillion and will continue to climb in the years to come so that by 2050, just paying interest on the debt will account for about a quarter of every dollar the federal government spends. That kind of debt correlates strongly with sharply reduced economic growth, which is the only proven way of improving living standards over time. In the years to come, the U.S. will have no choice but to raise taxes on everyone and slash Medicare and Social Security, which are the biggest budget-busters. But by then it will be too late for a generation of elderly people to plan accordingly. And a U.S. debt crisis could destroy the dollar and undermine our entire economy. 

There's no way to confiscate enough wealth to stave off our looming fiscal catastrophe. Instead of harping on rich people and their rockets, let's start talking about the looming debt crisis fueled by insane government spending and come up with actual ways to avert catastrophe.

Narrated by Nick Gillespie; Edited by John Osterhoudt; Production support from Regan Taylor and Ian Keyser; Additional graphics by Lex Villena

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