Oligarch Fever

Posted on March 9, 2022

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Because of recent activity on the part of the Russian government, many people are now hearing about the misfortunes of Russian oligarchs. We tend to associate the word “oligarch” with those very Russians. But the truth is that the oligarch species has been around for a long time and it has a rich cultural heritage. The word “oligarch” is derived from the Greek word “oligarchia,” meaning “he who has so much loot that one roll of his toilet paper is worth more than your house.” Even before the invention of oligarchs, there were early versions of oligarchs spotted among Early Humans, who used their wits and influence in order to corner the market on mammoths and spacious caves with a view.

Oligarchs are plucky people who have consistently contributed much to humankind. They were responsible for inspiring the creation of superyachts with airplane landing strips, flying palaces, and, in one case, four million of dollars worth of plastic surgery to make themselves look like a cat. Understandably, these items that have added to our own lives in countless ways.

Those who are scoffing, take note: If you were on a plane over the ocean and all engines blew and there was nowhere to go and your fate was to spend the remaining moments of your existence with sea life, imagine your reaction if there appeared a megayacht with its own airstrip. “Uh,” you say, “well, that would swell and dandy.” Yes, it would. And in that case, you would thank your lucky stars for whichever oligarch was saving your sorry butt.

LBL has yet to figure out a lifesaving scenario for flying palaces and surgery that will turn one into a cat, but she is working on that.

Now, because of this abomination that Putin has started, or, as Trump would call it, this really savvy way for someone to acquire a piece of great real estate, many oligarchs are suffering. Any number of Go Fund Me pages have been set up in order to raise money for these folks who have lost bank accounts, yachts, planes, islands, palaces, and a host of other items that most would agree are essential to human life. The tragedy, here, is that even everyone on the planet gave them our entire life savings, the amount wouldn’t even come anywhere close to what they have lost. That is a tragedy of unspeakable proportions.

But, lest you think that oligarchs are solely the property of nefarious and corrupt leaders of despicable despots, you should know that we have our own homegrown US of A variety, all contributing to our lives here at home.

America’s oligarchs, like their Russian counterparts, have acquired their own trillions from “defense” contracts (think Halliburton, Lockheed Martin, and the Carlyle Group.) When our country whispers the word “defense,” our oligarchs respond appropriately. And, because this country knows how to express gratitude, a 2014 Princeton political science study verified that government actions nearly always conform to the wishes of wealthy and powerful US elites. We do what little we can to provide them favorable tax laws and general monetary policy that will keeps their wealth rolling in.

So, you may wonder, what is the difference between Russian oligarchs and our homegrown variety? It comes down to the wealthy man’s version of Hide and Seek. According to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, “While Russian oligarchs (Russia’s richest 0.01 percent) have hidden an estimated $200 billion offshore (over half of their financial wealth), American oligarchs — America’s 765 billionaires — have hidden $1.2 trillion (about 4 percent of their wealth), mostly to avoid paying taxes on it.”

All of this should give Readers a lot to ponder, specifically, what are these US oligarchs doing with the other 96%? There simply can’t be that many people who want to look like cats.

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