Veruca Salt, you may remember, was the obnoxious little hellion who sang "I Want the World, I Want the Whole World, and I Want it Now!" before she literally flew down the garbage chute to hell in a candy factory.
Imagine, if you will, Veruca Salt multiplied by 85. Then imagine that there are no Willy Wonka governments around to rein in her greed, let alone sentence her to her just desserts. In fact, 85 nonfictional Veruca Salts* are on a rampage, and they've already sucked up half the wealth of the entire planet. And they've made it perfectly clear that they're still hungry. They won't be satisfied until they've glommed up every last chocolate to put in their pocket. And those chocolates, of course, include entire governments, entire countries, entire gross domestic products.
A stunning report released by Oxfam lays out all the proof we need that there's been a plutocratic coup, and it's far from over:
• The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population.
• The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.
• Seven out of ten people live in countries where economic inequality has increased inthe last 30 years.
• The richest one percent increased their share of income in 24 out of 26 countries for which we have data between 1980 and 2012.
• In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.
It's no surprise that most of the 85 Veruca Salt clones reside in the U.S., where a new Gallup poll reveals that two-thirds of us are now royally ticked off about all of this gross wealth inequality. It kinda makes you wonder what the other third are smoking. Hmm... so maybe that's why Barack Obama is suddenly "evolving" on pot legalization. A stoned populace is a malleable populace. A stoned populace won't pay attention as he frantically tries to win fast-track approval for the
Like Bob Dylan says, everybody must get stoned. And then you might not feel so all alone, as you join the rest of the Oompa Loompa serfs of the 99% foraging for crumbs and jostling for position for a slide down the factory farm chute.
Meanwhile, two of the biggest Veruca Salt clones of all, going by the aliases "Bill and Melinda Gates," have written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to announce that global poverty as we know it will be coming to an end, thanks to their charitable-industrial complex. That is because when Bill and Melinda visited Mexico recently, they didn't notice any poor people on the streets. They gush:
Today, Mexico City is mind-blowingly different, boasting high-rise buildings, cleaner air, new roads and modern bridges. You still find pockets of poverty, but when we visit now, we think, "Wow—most people here are middle-class. What a miracle."
( Um... you think it's because the poor Mexicans just up and died from disease, starvation and murder at the hands of American-enabled drug cartels? The Veruca Salt clones either don't know and don't care, or they pretend not to know and still don't care.)
But here's where the real miracle can come into play: when more than two-thirds of the population says enough already and goes all Willy Wonka on the Veruca Clones. Precluding that eventuality, Oxfam offers some helpful suggestions to the greedheads and the goody-grubbers:
Stop dodging taxes in your countries and using tax havens! Stop bribing government officials! Be transparent about your obscene wealth! Support progressive tax policies! Challenge your elected officials to provide a social safety net and universal health care for all the citizens! Pay a living wage to the people you employ! Guilt-trip your fellow elites into compliance with all of the above!
But, since admonitions never stopped those genetically incapable of feeling shame, Oxfam next turns to government officials with another plea: Cut back on the Salt! It is harmful to human health. Regulate, tax, regulate some more, tax some more. Rinse and repeat as needed.
I looked and I looked, but nowhere in the Oxfam report did I see any calls for dissent, revolution, boycotts, pitchforks, or torches.
Perversely, the report is being presented to the very tax-evading elites now converging at the annual
The elites have it all covered. As long as they're minding The Gap in the Swiss Alps, the other gap might as well not even exist because none are so blind as rich people who will not see what lies beneath them. And all is well with their Whole World.
* The Forbes List of the 100 wealthiest people is here.