Should Billionaires Exist


Caroline Korinke, Staff Writer

It is completely legal to be a billionaire. According to Forbes Business, there are an estimated 2,100 billionaires living across the globe. They amass their fortunes, grow their businesses, and give billions of dollars to charity. The legality of billionaires is perfectly reasonable: in a capitalist society, a person is well within their rights to build and expand their fortune. However, when billionaires get richer, a lot of people are pushed aside. Billionaires use their power to undermine and threaten democracy by buying political influence and financing campaigns. Their increase in wealth has statistically meant an increase in income equality. While billionaires might participate in philanthropy, it is simply not enough to justify their existence. If we want to protect our democracy and reduce poverty across the world, billionaires have got to go. 

This may sound extreme, but billionaires have proven, time and time again, that their negative effects on the world are sometimes illegal and, more often than not, immoral and irreversible. Scholars Benjamin Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew Lacombe conducted an in depth study on the political effects of billionaires on our democracy. In their study, they found that, “Most US billionaires have given large amounts of money to advance unpopular, inequality-exacerbating, highly conservative economic policies.” Essentially, the study found that some of the richest people on the planet have spent millions of dollars influencing politics behind the scenes, expanding inequality and making it harder to tax billionaires. Many, if not all, do so quietly and anonymously, hiding their views from the public while pushing these views into law without public knowledge. The amount of power that any billionaire has is a threat to democracy in America and around the world. 

But what about philanthropy? Many billionaires support charities and organizations that benefit the lower classes. Senior Andrew Adams said, “Billionaires could either be exceptionally good for a community, depending on how they view an aspect, or really really bad.” Through philanthropy, a billionaire can use their wealth to impose their views on the lower classes, whether it helps us or not. Senior Kaelyn Whaley said, “Billionaires should share their money, either through taxes or donating it to charity because they’re too rich for their own good.” Philanthropy is often used as an example for why we should have billionaires. But charitable giving, even in billions of dollars, cannot offset the negative societal impact of billionaires. The only way to ensure that billionaires cannot meddle with our democracy is to take down the system that lets them buy and control our politics.