“But if I could meet Mr. Gates, I’d ask him: Sir, do you not see the link between your vast fortune and the ascendance of Donald Trump? If not, I implore you to connect some dots.” —New York Times, 11/11/19
Mr. Gates, can I call you Bill? I’ll also settle for William if Bill is a bit too informal. As you know, Bill, our country is plagued with systemic issues, issues like racial discrimination and people who insist on clothing their dogs. But there is one issue that shakes me to my core: the income gap.
The 400 richest Americans now own more than the bottom 150 million adults of the wealth distribution, of which I am one. Despite being “Employee of the Month” at the Chili’s I work at, this pales in comparison to the abysmal feeling of not being a billionaire. In fact, a Harvard study showed that when given the choice between having a net worth of over a billion dollars or a net worth of zero dollars, 93% of participants chose the former. As a member of the 93%, I implore you to connect some dots. It’s not that complicated, and I am sure by the end of this article, you will feel compelled to send me a couple billion.
Bill, your net worth is now at $107 billion, which is more than the GDPs of Uruguay, Mongolia and Wyoming combined. Take off the “billion,” and you would have my account balance. But if you donated to me as if I were a charity or a poorer billionaire, I am confident America would be a better place.
You may not see it, but your refusal to give me a couple billion dollars threatens our democracy. We as a nation need to provide our people with a sense of basic security, and they will get that when I get some of your money because I promised them some of it. And if you’re worried about me executing that promise, don’t worry: like a skilled politician or an unskilled baseball player, I have no intention of following through. When people lack a sense of security, they make odd and desperate choices like voting for Trump or taking salsa classes after work. These incendiary decisions are the result of wealth shifting to the top, and of me not being a part of said top.
On the off chance you still don’t fully get why I need a couple billion, let me paint you a picture. 17% of American adults cannot pay all of their current month’s bills. If you buy the picture I paint for you for a couple billion, you can ensure that I’m not one of them.
As a member of the lower middle class, political representation is hard to come by between billionaire candidates like Michael Bloomberg ($52 billion) and impoverished candidates like my Uncle Darryl ($1.25 and a pack of raisins) who really wants to be president. Some may argue the best solution is to fight for more representation in political bodies and legislation, but I know the only viable solution is for you to make me a billionaire. It’s just more practical.
Given my situation and your nonresponse, I can’t imagine you sleeping well at night. Mostly because my current mattress does not allow me to mentally grasp comfortable sleep. I could ask my poorer multimillionaire friends for money, but why settle for a piece of the pie when I get the whole pie franchise? I want more pie then I know what to do with, while others try their luck on “get pie quick” schemes.
People in my income bracket would probably support billionaires being taxed so the government can invest in cleaning the country’s water supply or finally instating “Purge Day.” Whatever noble cause they choose, I think I’d be single-handedly better at executing it with the money because, as you know, with money comes knowledge, because you can hire consultants to think for you.
Okay, I’m willing to come down to a couple hundred million, but no lower. Please Bill, our democracy and my wallet are in peril, and if you send some money to my Apple Pay, I might even buy a Microsoft product someday. Thank you for your time, and because time is money, thank you also for your money.