- The Washington Times - Monday, January 17, 2022

The world’s wealthiest — the billionaires’ club — added another $5 trillion to their bottom lines during the coronavirus pandemic, even as the gap between rich and poor grew even wider and small business America, in particular, was forced into closure, both temporary and permanent.

“Mega-rich recoup COVID losses in record-time yet billions will live in poverty for at least a decade,” Oxfam reported.

Ding, ding, ding — are you there on the line, Democrats? What about your friendly liberal watchdog sniffers in the media? Where have all the social justice warriors gone? Gone to face mask-less parties, everyone. When will we ever learn?

Hypocrisy becomes them.

But seriously, this issue would seem a perfect one, two punch for the left, which claims to stand for the little guy. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, especially, ought to be drumming up the socialist angst about those dastardly wealthy and their wicked capitalistic ways. Oh, for the days of former President Barack Obama pining mournfully over the rich fat cats. Now there was a Democrat who knew how to attack the free market.

Still, the coronavirus vaccine market hasn’t exactly been free — it’s been a curious partnership of Big Government, Big Pharma and world elites working their fiery magic to fuel worldwide panic. The frightened masses have paid well.

“The pandemic has made the world’s wealthiest far richer but has led to more people living in poverty, according to the charity Oxfam,” BBC reported. “Lower incomes for the world’s poorest contributed to the death of 21,000 people each day, its report claims. But the world’s 10 richest men have more than doubled their collective fortunes since March 2020.”

By the numbers, Oxfam found the total wealth of the top earners jumped from $8.6 trillion in March of 2020 to $13.8 trillion in November 2021.

That’s more money than these guys made in the last 14 years combined.

Ain’t central banking grand?

Here’s the list: Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Steve Ballmer, Larry Ellison, Bernard Arnault, Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

And here’s a couple of other sidebar issues: This is the first time the number of poor in the world — now at 97 million — has risen in 20 years. Thirteen million fewer women are in the workforce now compared to 2019. Twenty million girls around the world, forced out of school due to the pandemic, may never return to the classroom. 

And one more, as BBC wrote: “Ethnic minority groups have been hardest hit by Covid.”

Ding, ding, ding. Democrats, that’s the sound of social justice calling. Where’s their answer?

Billionaires have every right to make as much money as they want in free market, capitalistic America.

But many of these same mega-millionaires who have turned this pandemic to literal gold are lining their pockets from the fear they themselves helped create, helped spread and now, help maintain.

Gates, for instance, may have invested millions in vaccine research. But he’s recouped millions upon millions back, even as he’s been a perpetual presence on the World Health Organization stage, influencing coronavirus response, influencing policy-makers the world over, influencing such restrictions like closures of businesses, closures of economies, closures of freedoms.

That’s not fair market play.

That’s not the free market at play.

That’s called conflict of interest.

And why leftists in politics and the media have been so silent about calling out the exploitation of pandemic fear is anybody’s guess. Put it this way: If former President Donald Trump were on that billionaire list, there’d be heck for him to pay with all the media shaming, all the Democrat-sparked investigations, and the socialist catcalls about evil fat cats in the Republican Party.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall,” is available by clicking HERE.

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