Farhad Manjoo would like to end our "devastating national love affair with billionaires"—and he thinks the way to do that is to force-phase them out. Writing for the New York Times, Manjoo says he got to seriously thinking about the concept of abolishing the super-rich after reading an October blog post entitled "No Billionaires" by Hmm Daily editor Tom Scocca, a concept that Manjoo says he initially thought sounded "radical." But as he's been watching progressives argue the case against the wealthy class in recent months, Manjoo has come to the conclusion that "billionaires should not exist—at least not in their present numbers, with their current globe-swallowing power, garnering this level of adulation, while the rest of the economy scrapes by."
Manjoo looks at both the tech world and the greater world at large, noting that, in addition to the basic morality question behind such income inequality, there's also the question of why billionaires should be able to influence so much of today's politics via their wallets. Manjoo even talks to experts on whether it's possible to be a "good" billionaire, and ... it's complicated. He brings up the great philanthropy of magnates like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, for example, but in the end he concludes that most billionaires aren't like those two, and that "if we tolerate the supposedly 'good'" ones, especially in politics, "we inevitably leave open the door for the bad ones. And the bad ones will overrun us." More on his thoughts here, including how he proposes this "abolishment" be carried out. (Possible 2020 candidate Howard Schultz doesn't like the term "billionaire." (Read more billionaires stories.)