Jeff Bezos's parking tickets exposes carelessness of wealthy elite
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has an interesting status in society as well as among entrepreneurs and executives. While his insurmountable wealth destroys any reliability he may have and his lifestyle is beyond what most people can accurately comprehend, it is almost comical to hear about him having to pay fines for anything as they don’t make a dent in his financial earnings or lifestyle.
Bezos has racked up $16,000 in parking tickets while trying to renovate his mansion in Washington D.C., according to The Verge. He additionally paid $23 million for the property and plans to spend $12 million to renovate it.
The first takeaway from this is that $16,000 could pay for an entire semester of college, and to imagine wasting your money on such a frivolous and easily avoidable expense shows how wealth can distort your perspective and ostracize yourself from society.
Amazon is also known for mistreating its workers, exhausting its employees and barely paying them minimum wage. The wage gap between the CEO and its employees continue to rise as Amazon continues to surge in profits. Additionally, Amazon paid $0 in federal taxes, which is incredible considering how much it earns as a company.
The second takeaway is that wealth inequality continues to increase in America. According to CBS News, 57 percent of Americans would be in debt with a $500 surprise expense. Homelessness continues to rise, and there are entire communities where rent continues to a significant concern.
The federal government is notoriously stingy when it comes to giving out aid and loans — scholarships are competitive and require incredible diligence to continuously apply for. While people are struggling to find out where their next meal is coming from, information like the one provided by CBS News reinforces the incredible disparity between classes.
The article further demonstrates the benefits of obtaining wealth, while simultaneously perpetuating the belief that you need to work yourself to near-death in order to provide for you and your family. But a sense of hopelessness is also created when you hear about these kinds of stories.
When it comes to rich people and the law, it is well-documented that they attain different privileges from most of society. They are consistently able to bend the rules to fit their best interest.
For example, rich people can pay politicians and contribute campaign donations to their respective camps so the candidate they are funding can lobby for the person’s best interest. While what they believe is not typically in relation to the common American, the fact of the matter is that they hold power and influence over every sector of society.
Another common example is bail: People who are wealthy can simply pay the amount of money needed and hire expensive lawyers to represent themselves, often skewering the truth to fit their version of events. To hear judges periodically state that “Justice is blind” is to hear an archaic phrase which does not represent the true values of society at any point in time.
Bezos has a reported net worth of $129.5 billion. The $16,000 in parking tickets is nothing to him — even a million dollar fine is laughable in his eyes. The only way you can truly hurt rich people is through their pockets, but even then it takes an insurmountable amount of evidence for them to even think about changing their behavior.
Bezos is representative of success in America: the textbook definition of elitist capitalism and disillusionment obtained from earning an obscene amount of money.
Truthfully, I feel as though this issue displays the dichotomy of the American people and the economic distance between most of humanity and the wealthy one percent. It opens my eyes to understand how incredibly rich these individuals are and makes me realize that wealth inequality in America is not going away anytime soon.
While rich people should not be vilified for becoming rich, something is wrong in society when one man can have more than $100 billion in assets while the majority of Americans cannot even cover a $500 expense.
The wealth gap will only become bigger, and it creates less stability in our future in realizing that no one can obtain that amount of security by any traditional model.
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