What is coming down is looking like a redux of the collapse of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in the late 20th century. The simultaneous looting of the pension funds promised to state employees while the wealth of billionaire class increases and they prepare to flee to their bunkers in New Zealand comes right out of the same disaster capitalism playbook as documented by Naomi Campbell in her book on this very subject, “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism“. — S. Byron Gassaway
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a 2007 book by the Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein. In the book, Klein argues that neoliberal free market policies (as advocated by the economist Milton Friedman) have risen to prominence in some developed countries because of a deliberate strategy of “shock therapy“. This centers on the exploitation of national crises (disasters or upheavals) to establish controversial and questionable policies, while citizens are excessively distracted (emotionally and physically) to engage and develop an adequate response, and resist effectively. The book suggests that some man-made events, such as the Iraq War, were undertaken with the intention of pushing through such unpopular policies in their wake. Some reviewers criticized the book for making what they viewed as simplifications of political phenomena, while others lauded it as a compelling and important work.
Mitch McConnell Floats Creating Bankruptcy Process for U.S. States
HUGH HEWITT: I know when you put the CARES Act together, you used the task force, you used some of your best people like Marco Rubio. I have great respect for Lamar Alexander. A lot of the state governments are gonna be smashed up by this. But there is no Chapter 8 in the bankruptcy code. Who are you going to, you know, for states — no states can go bankrupt. Local governments can go bankrupt and reorganize. Who are you going to task to lead the effort on deciding what to do or not to do for the states?
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL: I think it’s going to be a broad discussion without, you know, throughout the conference. I mean, we all represent states. We all have governors, regardless of party, who would love to have free money. And that’s why I said yesterday we’re going to push the pause button here, because I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments need to be thoroughly evaluated. You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs. There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.
American billionaires have gotten $280 billion richer since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
Though the coronavirus itself may not discriminate in terms of who can be infected, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from a great equalizer. In the same month that 22 million Americans lost their jobs, the American billionaire class’s total wealth increased about 10%—or $282 billion more than it was at the beginning of March. They now have a combined net worth of $3.229 trillion.
The initial stock market crash may have dented some net worths at first—for instance, that of Jeff Bezos, which dropped down to a mere $105 billion on March 12. But his riches have rebounded: As of April 15, his net worth has increased by $25 billion. Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom, was one of the few to see an increase in net worth even as the markets crashed, and he’s now up $2.58 billion.
These “pandemic profiteers,” as a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, calls them, is just one piece of the wealth inequality puzzle in America. In the background is the fact that since 1980, the taxes paid by billionaires, measured as a percentage of their wealth, dropped 79%.