Robert Reich (The Truth Behind “Self-Made” Billionaires Why…)

The truth behind ‘self-made’ billionaires

Why do we glorify “self-made” billionaires?

Well, being “self-made” is a tempting idea – it suggests that anyone can get to the top if they are willing to work hard enough. This is what the American dream is about.

If Kylie Jenner can become a “self-made” billionaire at age 21, so can you and me!

Even as wages continue to stagnate and wealth inequality continues to grow, it is comforting to think that we are all just one cosmetics company and far from wealthy.

Unfortunately, everything is a good idea. Self-made billionaires are a legend. Just like unicorns.

The origins of self-made billionaires are often portrayed as a “rags-to-riches” rise to the top fueled only by personal will and courage to take risks—like dropping out of college, or starting a business in a garage.

But in fact, the assets of many billionaires are not so modest. They are richer to richer stories, rooted in the upbringing of the upper middle class.

How risky did Bill Gates take when his mother used her business connections to help Microsoft acquire IBM’s deal-making program?

Elon Musk came from a family that owned an emerald mine in apartheid South Africa.

Jeff Bezos’ garage start was funded by an investment of a quarter of a million dollars from his parents.

If your safety net for joining the billionaire class remains upper class – that’s not pulling yourself through the boot.

Nor do you fail to pay your fair share of taxes along the way.

Along with Musk and Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Carl Icahn have all been done without paying zero federal income taxes for several years. This is a huge helping hand, thanks to legal loopholes and American taxpayers picking up the tab, all while our tax dollars support businesses owned by so-called “self-reliant” entrepreneurs.

Did you get a thank you card from any of them? I sure as hell did.

Another common way billionaires build their coffers on the backs of others is by paying trash and exposing workers to abusive working conditions.

But portraying themselves as strong individuals who have overcome poverty or “did it alone” remains an effective propaganda tool for the very wealthy. One that prevents workers from rising en masse to demand fairer wages – and the other that ultimately distracts from the role billionaires play in fostering poverty in the first place.

Billionaires say their success proves that they can spend money more wisely and efficiently than the government. Well, they have no problem with government spending when it comes to supporting businesses.

When they demand more tax breaks, they claim that every “dollar the government takes away [them] is a lower dollar for their ‘critical’ role in expanding prosperity for all Americans, through job creation and philanthropy. Well, that’s nonsense.

50 years of tax cuts for the rich have failed to undo. As a result of Trump’s tax cuts, 2018 saw the 400 richest American families pay a lower middle-class tax rate. And the American billionaire’s fortune grew by $2 trillion during the first two years of a pandemic that was economically disastrous for just about everyone else. They want to have their cake, everyone else’s cake, and eat it too.

Behind every net wealth of ten figures is systematic disparity. inherited wealth. Exploitation at work. tax loopholes. and government subsidies.

To claim that these fortunes are “self-made” is to perpetuate a myth that blames the wealth gap on the choices of ordinary Americans.

Billionaires are not the creation of cruel individuals. It was made because of the failure of the policy. A system that rewards wealth for work.

Find out the truth.


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