Asked and answered.
The Gnomes of Zurich may have lost some of their luster to the Cayman Islands for sheltering wealth of dubious province, and some of their nation’s reputation for neutrality in blocking aid to Ukraine, but Davos continues its tradition of hosting meetings of the super-wealthy in a planning session that calls to mind the final chapter of Animal Farm, in which the self-described champions are indistinguishable from the acknowledged predators.
Perhaps we should be grateful that the select appear so shameless, as both cartoonists suggest. It seems like an invitation for someone to create a variation on James Gillray’s classic The Plumb-Pudding in Danger, in which Napoleon and William Pitt carve up the world, a print that carried the sub-caption “The great Globe itself, and all which it inherit, is too small to satisfy such insatiable appetites.”
Jordanian cartoonist Morad Kotkot (Cartoon Movement) comes close enough, as he encapsulates Oxfam’s report on how, as the old song goes, “there’s nothing surer: The rich get rich and the poor get poorer,” or, as Bat Masterson wrote in his final column, “There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed for example that we all get the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter.”
If you find that depressing, for goo’ness sake don’t click on the link and read any more, because this report on global inequality notes that, along with a small, rising number of millionaires, we’re seeing a far larger rise of those living in abject poverty, while three-quarters of the world’s governments are planning cuts in social sector spending.
And, as Chris Britt (Counterpoint) suggests, you don’t have to travel to Sudan or Bangladesh to witness the phenomenon. Just look out your window, if you are fortunate enough to afford a place with windows, and assuming you’re not part of the heartless mob who simply want the poor and homeless to go away so you don’t have to see them.
The only potentially positive note in all this is a quote from Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International: “While ordinary people are making daily sacrifices on essentials like food, the super-rich have outdone even their wildest dreams. Just two years in, this decade is shaping up to be the best yet for billionaires —a roaring ‘20s boom for the world’s richest,”
Well, we know how that boom ended, the catch being that, while it wreaked vengeance on a fair number of fat cats, it wasn’t so pleasant for the folks at the bottom of the pile, either.
Juxtaposition of the Day
The saving grace was that part of FDR’s battle out of the Depression was the New Deal’s consideration for the poor and old, but, at the moment, the GOP majority in the House is doing all it can to dial that back, working to reduce Social Security and Medicare, as well as to continue to minimize taxation of the wealthy.
Pett recalls Trump’s response in the 2016 debates, in which Hillary Clinton told us what — six years later — has been confirmed about Donald Trump’s tax returns, while Wuerker points out that the GOP is turning his self-serving pattern into equally “smart” policy, defunding the IRS to make sure those who are making money don’t have to give any of it up for the greater good.
Oxfam estimates that a five-percent tax on the millionaires and billionaires “could raise $1.7 trillion a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty, fully fund the shortfalls on existing humanitarian appeals, deliver a 10-year plan to end hunger, support poorer countries being ravaged by climate impacts, and deliver universal healthcare and social protection for everyone living in low- and lower middle-income countries.”
Don’t hold your breath.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
Meanwhile, in the realm of things we might possibly be able to influence, Gorrell makes a critical point, though I strongly suspect it was not his intention, which is reinforced by Stantis, who certainly did mean it.
While we should wait for a final report, it seems obvious that the handful of classified documents among Biden’s papers were packed by his staff, during the very busy final weeks of his term as vice-president.
We don’t know whether any of them were in separate folders or if they were mixed in with personal papers, though logic suggests that 20 documents could easily have been scattered widely among several boxes of papers.
Even within his VP office, they should have been handled more carefully, and Michael Ramirez (Creators) echoes a widely made accusation that we classify more things than is necessary, leading to inevitable cock-ups in tracking it all down.
Still, it’s not hard to imagine an aide scooping up papers and tucking them away without examining each sheet, which brings us back to Gorrell’s cartoon, because, we know that Trump claimed the classified documents at Mar A Lago were his private property, that he specifically refused to return them and that his lawyers falsely claimed — intentionally or not — that all such papers had been returned.
What we don’t know is how they wound up in Trump’s possession in the first place.
We’ve had reports of him tearing up presidential papers, flushing them down the toilet and even eating them, but I haven’t read anything documenting if, or how often, or how adamantly, his staff warned him against it, rather than simply trailing after him attempting to minimize the damage.
Still, somebody packed those boxes, and it’s easier to imagine 20 pages being misfiled rather than 300.
As Stantis suggests, a vital question is how many other former presidents and VPs have wandered off with classified documents.
Ramirez hardly seems out of line to echo the apparent fact that, while the National Archives realized 300 or more documents had gone missing, they hadn’t noticed the disappearance of 20, which raises another issue:
At the risk of suborning obstruction, if you believe Richard Nixon should have burned the tapes, you might also speculate on the outcome if Biden’s staff had just quietly deep-sixed those errant papers.