- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Last week, movie stars Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Jennifer Lawrence all hit the “Don’t Look Up” red carpet in New York City for the premiere of their new film, which offers “a humorous warning about climate change, politics and more,” according to filmmaker Adam McKay.

The stars were all decked out in designer duds, smiling for the cameras and giving interviews, preaching — maskless — about the perils of the so-called climate crisis while surrounded by workers and staff who all were required to have their faces covered.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a very visible two-tier society. It’s a society where the upper class can lecture you about wearing masks and abiding by the “science” while exempting themselves from their own rules.

Yes, there’s the obvious hypocrisy, but there’s something more sinister going on: The pandemic has exacerbated the inequality gap between the haves and have-nots in this country — and the “haves” seem to like it that way.

The upper caste in America is elite urban liberals, who hold the majority of positions in universities, the media, Hollywood, the federal government and civil service, Silicon Valley, Wall Street and large corporations. They were all content with Zooming in to meetings from home during the pandemic, while sending low-wage workers out to absorb the risk.

This liberal elite is fine with mask and vaccine mandates, business lockdowns and school shutdowns because their lives were never interrupted. They could work from home, afford the cost of a tutor or send their children to private institutions. They couldn’t be bothered wearing masks at their own private events. As a bonus, they can now use “science” to virtue-signal to the world.

Not surprisingly, studies now show that the pandemic has disproportionately hurt lower- and middle-class Americans, while the elites have prospered.

A survey conducted by Save the Children International of 37 countries found three in four households suffered declining income since the start of the pandemic, with 82% of poorer households negatively affected. In the U.S., more than 2 million households claimed they didn’t have enough to eat since the pandemic, with one in five Black households saying they had experienced hunger.

The U.S. economy lost 22 million jobs from February to April 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, when the lockdowns first went into effect, and the economy even today is still millions of jobs below the pre-pandemic trend.

As Americans head into the Christmas season, they’re facing higher prices for gifts, empty shelves, longer waits at checkout lines and higher costs to heat their homes. The lockdowns snarled global supply chains and the Biden administration’s policies — on everything from energy to big government spending — have led to massive inflation, which is a tax on the middle class.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has been a boon for the ultra-rich. The fortunes of the top five billionaires rose by $102 billion, increasing their wealth by 26%, during the three first months of the pandemic.

“In fact, the combined wealth of U.S. billionaires increased by over $637 billion to a total of $3.6 trillion, which is considerably more than the entire wealth of the 54 countries on the African continent,” the World Economic Forum wrote last year.

Big-box stores like Walmart and Target thrived, drawing in record profits, while more than 100,000 small mom-and-pop businesses folded. Amazon’s profit soared 220% earlier this year compared to the same period in 2020. The company’s latest third-quarter results mark the fourth consecutive quarter of revenue topping $100 billion. Great for shareholders, and CEO Jeff Bezos.

And as the rich get richer and the poor poorer, the Biden administration and some corporate and local jurisdictions have strongly pushed vaccination mandates. Get the jab or lose your job. For millions of frontline, essential employees, who caught COVID-19 working while the elites were at home, the concept is untenable.

Those who managed to hold on to their jobs during the worst of the pandemic are now having their livelihoods threatened. And by whom? The virtue-signaling liberal elites.

COVID-19 has led to one of the greatest transfers of money and power, from the middle class to the elites, that this country has ever seen. For the party that claims to be fighting for the middle class, Democrats seem pretty content with the new tiered society they’ve created. And why wouldn’t they? It’s benefiting them, after all.

• Kelly Sadler is the commentary editor at The Washington Times.

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