The pandemic was brutal for mom-and-pop economics; in the first year of lockdowns in the U.S. alone, 200,000 extra (mostly small) businesses went under while Amazon and Walmart remained open thanks to cozy relationships with the political class.

According to a recently released report from Oxfam, this disparity in lockdown enforcement, coupled with other factors, produced predictable results:

The scale of wealth being accumulated by those at the top, already at record levels, has accelerated… Since 2020, according to Oxfam analysis of Credit Suisse Data… the richest 1% have captured almost two-thirds of all new wealth. This is six times more than the bottom 90% of humanity. Since 2020, for every dollar of new global wealth gained by someone in the bottom 90%, one of the world’s billionaires has gained $1.7m.

The new brand of insurgent Republicans often postures as economically populist, probably mostly because they see the mass appeal.

Rep. Matt Gaetz doesn’t take PAC money to run his campaigns, which means he’s not beholden to corporate interests. Tucker Carlson (although he eschews the term “populist” to describe himself) trashes the Davos tyrants at the World Economic Forum. For the first time in decades, mainstream Republicans openly challenge big business.

That’s all great, but, meanwhile, little has changed to reverse the biggest wealth transfer afoot from the once-great American middle class, the envy of the world, to a tiny cabal of parasitic elites who write the governing rules.

Virtually every government initiative of the last 40 years –- from Obamacare to the Wall St. bailouts to the never-ending foreign wars –- has served to enrich a tiny sliver of the population housed in Washington with access to the levers of power while the middle class shrank.

Even for free-market proponents, whose predisposition is leave-it-alone laissez-faire capitalism (even though the current U.S. system could be better described as corporate socialism rather than capitalism), this is bad news. Preposterously large wealth gaps are inherently destabilizing. Nation-states that do not correct them through whatever means best suit their governing ideologies can and do crash and burn. This is an iron law of political science. It’s cause and effect.

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