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Philadelphia Inquirer - May 22, 2022

America’s Billionaire Boys Club has been on the top of the world in the fraught-for-everyone-else 2020s — except when they’ve liquidated a few billion dollars here or there to climb into their spaceship and soar above it.

During a global pandemic that has killed one million of their fellow U.S. citizens, the nation’s roughly 600 or so billionaires saw their wealth spike by an estimated 55%, with the richest of the rich doing even better than that. What’s more, even 2021′s (just-barely) Democratic Party takeover on Capitol Hill can’t produce the votes to increase taxes on these high earners, even as the middle class struggles with the cost of health care, college ... and now everything else.

So why, all of a sudden, are America’s oligarchs so gosh-darned miserable?

Exhibit A, of course, has been the ridiculously public midlife crisis of the world’s richest human (at least as of this afternoon), the electric-car-and-space mogul Elon Musk, whose estimated $210 billion under his mattress is equal to 1% of the U.S. gross domestic product. In recent weeks, the just-turned-50 Musk has tried to prove that “poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king ain’t satisfied ‘til he rules everything” is more than just a Bruce Springsteen lyric. ...
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