‘A new report by Oxfam says that since 2020, or over the span of the pandemic, the richest 1% of people have accumulated close to two-thirds of all new wealth created around the world.’
‘No surprise there,’ Camp said. ‘The rich get richer and the poor stay poor.’
‘According to the report the pace at which wealth is being created has sped up, as the world’s richest 1% amassed around half of a new wealth over the past ten years. Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International, called for taxes to be increased for the ultra-rich, saying that this was a “strategic precondition to reducing inequality and resuscitating democracy.”
‘Tell that to the new US Congress,’ Camp said. ‘They want to reduce spending on social and health programs and give the rich and corporations another tax break.’
‘Tax the rich, feed the poor,’ used to be rallying cry for more equal distribution of wealth and support by a majority of the people but unfortunately in this world where winning is everything and people are pitched against each other on a race to the top (or the bottom, depending on your perspective) money equals power and the golden rule applies.’
‘The golden rule?’
‘Who has the gold rules.’
We both reached for the golden liquid in front of us.
‘When you look at the richest, most coveted cities in the world, San Francisco and Vancouver come to mind you can also find the highest amount of homeless people. In the bay-city a median income of US$ 117’000 for a family of four counts as low income and the city has an ever-increasing homeless population, driving the lower middle class downwards and in many cases out of house and home. Add to that the many transients who flock to these west coast cities due to the better weather and to San Francisco in particular because of the generous handouts, liberal drug programs and lenient petty crime policies,’ I said.
‘Even Elon Musk apparently has to step over homeless people camped out in front of his Twitter headquarters.’‘
Here in BC, we now have decriminalized possession of small amounts of opioids, cocaine, ecstasy and meth. People still can’t sell them but the police won’t be able to confiscate the drugs and charge users. Between Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria we had 2200 drug overdoses in 2022, about half of all Covid death in BC. A horrific number when you consider the impacted families and friends.
‘Bonnie Henry said the new policy was a vital step of keeping people alive.’
‘Fact is that many of these drug users and addicts are also home and penny less,’ Camp said. About 3000 people have no place to call home in Vancouver and without shelter you cannot manage your health. Simple as that.’
‘And many have debilitating mental health issues, unable to organize their lives, work or plan anything beyond their next meal or fix.’
‘While the rich bitch, the poor suffer.’
‘Is it better to be poor in a poor country or a rich one?’ I said but regretted it immediately.
‘Are you kidding?’ Camp said. ‘As Muriel’s daughter Sophie once said to me while being a poor perennial student: ‘Man, it sucks to be poor. Anywhere. Any time.’
‘Who is poor?’ Vicky wanted to know, having overheard the last bit or our conversation.
‘Not us. We’re talking about the homeless.’
‘I’m practically homeless, living with my mom and son,’ Vicky said. ‘I’m a student and a server and cannot afford to rent anything on my own, even here in Gibsons. Mind you, I feel lucky to have my mom. In the end, the poorest ones are those without family.’
We both drank to that and left Vicky a fat tip.
Brecht said it a century ago. The DDR tried to enforce it, but it didn’t work, the bigshots always won. As I argue in my blogs, our parents, Mother Nature and Father Time engender inborn human greed. More on this in my recent Meteors and in the forthcoming Eclipse, now being edited. This is not a new opinion, read Ecclesiastes. I call myself a realist, not a misanthrope.