Fat Cats of America

My cat Azula knows I could have blogged every moment of every day this past week, reacting to: Scott Pruitt’s steady dismantling of the EPA; the Trump infrastructure proposal that promises to profit the wealthiest and further indebt the public; a White House staffed by wife-beaters without security clearance; indictments of lying Russian and American men paid to corrupt our faith in elections and facts; a social media which eats up our time while creating more billionaires and smears; and a Florida legislature voting down debate on gun control because surviving kids from our latest school massacre were actually protesting, Never Again!

How did America, the land of the free, get here? It boggles the mind. But one constant does connect it: fat cat money. Who exactly has it, and who gets to make the rules that govern money and us by essentially violent means? 

How much money should the fattest pale male cats have at their paws' disposal? As I write in Screwnomics, millions and billions sound alike, but they’re worlds apart.  Calculated in time, a dollar per second, one million adds up to 12 days. A billion is 13 YEARS. Meanwhile, the median US household (which most often these days includes two earners) is $59,039, or 16 HOURS of time. Half of us earn less and are hustling.

Up until 2016, the median had yet to catch up to where we were in 2008, before the crash, created by Wall Street’s richest. By contrast, Bill Gates, our richest fat cat, had a measly $43 billion in 2008. Now he’s worth $86 billion, or 27 CENTURIES of time. This isn’t due to his overtime pay.

I’ve nothing against Gates or cats, but I do have a problem with a system that so reliably moves money up to those who already have the most. It undermines democracy for us church mice. We need money control as much as we need gun control. The founding fathers never anticipated AR-15s or billionaires, but they did know of Kings—and declared themselves disobedient to despots.

So, be heartened by those young, caring Americans, who courageously wave our nation’s authentic power. American money can be put to much better use than more guns, more billionaires, more corrupt government and lies. Even Azula knows fat cats aren't healthy cats! 

—Rickey Gard Diamond

Our Populist Plutocrat at Home


I laughed when I first heard billionaire candidate Trump called a “populist.” He was a Republican! They’re the ones with money. But everything stands on its head these days. Democrats seek out the ruling class with money too. The old labels no longer fit.

But misfit-ness isn’t just along these party lines. There is something deeply different about we, the American people. Last week I read a piece by the great late writer Ursula LeGuin. She noted how in 1947, during the first televised White House address, President Truman asked Americans to give up eating meat on Tuesday and poultry on Thursdays. Why? So the US could stockpile more grain needed for people in Europe who were starving.

Who, these days, is asking us to do anything for anyone? Give up AR-15s? NO! Give up your grudge for the poor, those slackers? FORGET IT. Share health risks in a national insurance pool? NO WAY!

This past week “populist” plutocrat Trump, who just gave his richest friends a huge Christmas tax cut at the government’s expense, unveiled his budget. It cut $20 billion from our disabilities insurance program, $1.3 trillion from Medicaid, and $554 billion from Medicare, Sen. Sanders soon tweeted. https://twitter.com/SenSanders/status/963101482714386432

Trump proposes cutting food stamps for our poorest families by a third, and wants to replace food stamps’ shopping autonomy in local stores with a food-delivery system—full of food he’ll decide the poor should have. Can’t wait to see what his multinational corporate friends find most profitable—for them, not for the poor. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/usda-proposes-replacing-food-stamps-delivery-service-increase/story?id=5305144

The populist plutocrats will also benefit hugely from Trump’s big military spending, and soon will be waving the flag at a military parade all along our new, expensive border wall. All these work for keeping poor people scared, and the rest of us, the majority, allied the wrong way.

Look around you, American woman. You have far more in common with the poorest than you do with any “populist” plutocrat, who pays off porn stars, protects wife-beaters, and is busy making money while in office, all on your dime and our diminishing American reputation. http://www.newsweek.com/trump-properties-special-interest-political-groups-spending-78601

—Rickey Gard Diamond