Bread, circuses and hard facts: “3 Billionaires Really Do Have More Wealth Than Half of America.”

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Part of it has to do with the “right” to 24/7/365 entertainment and dollar menus.

“Bread and circuses” (or bread and games; from Latin: panem et circenses) is a metonymic phrase critiquing superficial appeasement. It is attributed to Juvenal, a Roman poet active in the late first and early second century AD — and is used commonly in cultural, particularly political, contexts.

In a political context, the phrase means to generate public approval, not by excellence in public service or public policy, but by diversion, distraction or by satisfying the most immediate or base requirements of a populace — by offering a palliative: for example food (bread) or entertainment (circuses).

Juvenal, who originated the phrase, used it to decry the selfishness of common people and their neglect of wider concerns. The phrase implies a population’s erosion or ignorance of civic duty as a priority.

Another part references the inability of a hamster to make sense of his confines while yoked to the wheel.

Then there’s the capacity for humans to embrace self-delusion; historically this trait is best illustrated by religious belief. Our reward won’t come HERE, but THERE, up in the sky.

Pitchforks, anyone?

Bernie Sanders Is Right: 3 Billionaires Really Do Have More Wealth Than Half of America, by Chuck Collins (Common Dreams)

And in addition to the 3 billionaires Bernie mentioned, we should also be worried about the expanding fortunes of multi-generational wealth dynasties

The wealthiest 3 billionaires in the U.S. – Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — now have as much wealth as the bottom half of the U.S. population combined.

Those were the first words spoken at last week’s 2020 Democratic Debate, citing a wealth inequality study by the Institute for Policy Studies.

In fact, Sen. Bernie Sanders mentioned the study, Billionaire Bonanza, several times during the debate.

Fact checkers at The New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN verified Sen. Sanders’ claims.

These extreme levels of wealth inequality are possible, in part, because the bottom fifth of U.S. households are underwater, with zero or negative net worth. And the next fifth has so few assets to fall back on that they live in fear of destitution.

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