Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Sure, there can be too much debt, but the USA is a resource-rich, sovereign nation, not a fly-by-night corporate huckster. (Photo: Getty/Stock Photo)

Sure, there can be too much debt, but the USA is a resource-rich, sovereign nation, not a fly-by-night corporate huckster. (Photo: Getty/Stock Photo)

The Pandemic Revealed That if We Have the Will, the Money Is There

The only debt problem our government has in this time of immense national need (and extremely low borrowing cost) is that we're not incurring enough of it—for the right purposes.

Jim Hightower

 by Creators.com

Usually, the Powers That Be swat away the kind of big-ticket reforms our country needs by haughtily asserting a few hoary economic fables they dress up as immutable "truths."

"We don't have the money."

They cluck that it would be nice if everyone could be given the right to top-quality health care, education, child care and (fill in the blank), but alas, the money just isn't there. A year ago, however, a pandemic slammed into America, and suddenly, trillions of dollars gushed out of Washington for everything from employment checks to crash medical programs, revealing that if our country has the will to do what ought to be done, the money is there.

"The debt! My God, think about the debt!"

No, don't. Sure, there can be too much debt, but the USA is a resource-rich, sovereign nation, not a fly-by-night corporate huckster. The only debt problem our government has in this time of immense national need (and extremely low borrowing cost) is that we're not incurring enough of it—for the right purposes. Recall that in 2017, then-President Trump and the Republican-majority Congress didn't hesitate to shove the national debt through the roof to let a few millionaires and billionaires pocket a trillion-dollar tax giveaway. So, if those drunken spenders can declare that it's good to use federal borrowing to make the likes of Jeff Bezos, the Koch brothers and Mark Zuckerberg richer, wouldn't it be even better to use borrowed funds for such clear national needs as infrastructure investment and quality education for all?

"The rich are the 'makers' whose work contributes the most to society."

This silly myth quickly melted right in front of us as soon as Señor Coronavirus arrived, making plain that the most valuable people are nurses, grocery clerks, teachers, delivery drivers, med techs, farm workers, postal employees and millions of other mostly low-wage people. For the past year, even the richest families have been urgently crying out for those "lowly" ones to provide truly essential needs. The lesson is that this is the same invaluable workforce that sustains our economy and society every day, year in and year out. So let's capitalize on the moment to demand that lawmakers start adopting policies that reward these grassroots makers over Wall Street's billionaire takers.

"Tax cuts drive economic growth, which lifts everyone."

Once again, the sirens of corptocracy are mouthing the same old refrain: To help workers, cut corporate taxes. They trill that freeing corporations from the "burden" of taxes will encourage CEOs to invest in worker productivity and—voila—wages will miraculously rise. This scam has never worked for anyone but the scammers, and at last, it's obvious to the great majority of workers that the way to increase wages is to increase wages ! Enact a $15 minimum wage; restore collective bargaining; punish wage theft; implement a green energy jobs program, etc. With such strong, honest policies, workers will pocket more and spend more, and the economy will rise. Percolate-up economics works; trickle-down does not.

Well, say those in the know, recalcitrant Republicans in Congress won't allow such a bold FDR-style agenda, so who could get it passed? Try the people themselves.

—Two-thirds of America (including a majority of moderate Republicans) say yes to doubling the minimum wage.

—Seventy-two percent of the people, including 46% of professed Republicans, shout their approval for "Medicare for All."

—Eight out of 10 Americans, including strong majorities of Republicans, support a paid family leave program like the ones all other developed nations provide for their people.

—What about increasing taxes on the rich, expanding Medicaid for poor families, raising teacher pay, spending more for early childhood education? Yes, yes, yes, yes, say majorities, not just in blue states but also in GOP strongholds such as Idaho, Nebraska and Utah.

These are not just poll numbers but solid ideas embraced last year by a broad cross section of voters in ballot elections across the country. Instead of fearing the people, Democratic leaders need to get out of Washington and join them.


© 2021 Creators Syndicate
Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the books "Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow" (2008) and "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos: A Work of Political Subversion" (1998). Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·


'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·


'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·


Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·


New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo