Covid has cost Ireland an extraordinary €30 billion. It has made Jeff Bezos an even more extraordinary €40 billion

Jeff Bezos. He’s a definition of what too much is…

IT’S probably because I’m old. And sick. And locked down. And grumpy.

But I’ve just come across something that has annoyed me more than most things annoy me.

Yes, I’m easily annoyed. I’m a grumpy driver and give out incessantly about people breaking the lights whether they’re in cars or on bikes or those damned scooters.

I seethe when television reporters walk towards the camera or wave their arms about thinking it makes them look cool. It doesn’t.

I froth at the mouth when co-commentators speak. That’s all they have to do. Speak and I lose it.

But I also get angry about things that matter.

I know we can’t all be equal. This isn’t Mao’s China.

But there can be an awful lot less inequality than there is.

There is no excuse for homelessness for example.

There is no reason the health service can’t be reformed to remove the multiple and maddening layers of bureaucracy which cost gazillions which could be spent on the front line.

One example? I am reimbursed the cost of my oxygen under the Drug Payment Scheme. I have been reimbursed every month for a couple of years now.

Yet every month I have to fill in a two page form, get a detailed two page receipt from the pharmacy and a one page receipt from the oxygen company and send it in to the appropriate department who, a few weeks later, send me a cheque.

I cannot understand why, in 2021, a system cannot be put in place which eliminates all that paper all that wasted time.

But that’s not what has me angry today.

Unlike the legions of whingers I think we’re doing ok in this country when it comes to the pandemic. We’re not top of the class. But we’re well over half way up the list of countries doing it right.

It’s costly. So far it has, we’re told, cost the exchequer (that’s us, the taxpayers) €30 billion.

It’s a lot of loot. But it’s well spent looking after those who have lost their jobs, paying for vaccines and paying for staff to roll out the vaccines.

But guess what.

This very same pandemic has made Jeff Bezos, he of Amazon, €40 billion richer.

That’s right. As Ireland has slipped €30 billion further into debt, Jeff has made another €40 billion.

He is now worth something utterly ridiculous like €170 billion.

Why?

Why do we live in a world which allows people to be worth €170 billion? 

Why would anyone want to be worth €170 billion?

(Just by the way, I refuse point blank to make him any richer and buy my books directly from publishers or from local bookstores like alanhannas.com. I doubt this worries Jeff much. But it makes me feel better.)a

Would Jeff’s life be a misery if he was only worth €169 billion?

Indeed, unless Jeff public gives away €169 billion, no, €169 and a half billion, I will consider him to be sinfully rich.

The ten richest people on earth are, apparently, worth €1,153 billion.

Can you see the point of being worth that much money when there are millions of people hungry, millions with no medical care, hundreds of millions with more chance of walking on the moon than they have of getting a Covid vaccine?

And no, I’m not aligning myself with the eejits who think that wrecking things, looting, throwing petrol bombs, injuring policemen and women and causing chaos is the answer.

I don’t know what the answer is to ending excessive wealth.

But, probably because I would feel uncomfortable being much better off than I already am – I have a family a house, and a car –  the question is bugging me. 

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