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Kroger’s “heroes bonus” didn’t last long. 

What is it about billionaires and multimillionaires that make them both self-entitled and clueless about the impacts of their greed?

Even when they occasionally make a stab at doing something right, they tend to get it all wrong. For example, while major corporations rushed out PR campaigns at the start of today’s devastating pandemic, loudly proclaiming all-in-this-together solidarity with their workers — shhhhh — most quietly and quickly resumed their pre-pandemic policy of widely separating their rich fortunes from the well-being of their workforce.

Take supermarket giant Kroger. Last March, as the pandemic spread across America, Kroger honchos publicly hailed grocery workers for staying on the job, despite the health hazard. They ran national TV ads announcing a $2 pay hike for employees, calling it a “heroes bonus.” Nice!

But only six weeks later the honchos killed the bonus pay, even as the virus spread. Not nice.

Well, you might think, the economy was collapsing, so maybe the bosses had to scrimp. Hardly. Grocery sales and profits have boomed in the pandemic, and — as the investigative newsletter Popular Information now reports — Kroger’s profits have zoomed up by $1.2 billion since the disease surged last year.

Where did that bonanza go? To fat-cat executives and shareholders. In September, Kroger spent a billion dollars on a stock buyback program — a corporate manipulation scheme that artificially jacks up stock prices, thus enriching the already-rich handful of investors and executives who own most of the stock. How rich are they? One example: Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen’s latest annual paycheck was $21,129,648.

One man, one year. And, unlike the typical Kroger workers who draw only $27,000 a year, McMullen is not on the front line putting his life at risk.

Meanwhile, remember hedge-fund huckster Leon Cooperman? He first gained notoriety when he compared Barack Obama’s election to Hitler’s rise to power, and he later was dubbed “Crybaby Cooperman” after he got all teary-eyed during a TV interview in which he decried “the vilification of billionaires.” The sad rich man was weeping about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to make the uber-rich pay a modest surtax on the excessive fortunes of money manipulators like him.

Well, in January the whiner was back on TV, blaming stock market gyrations on manipulations by people “sitting at home, getting their [pandemic] checks from the government.” Then he plunged again into deep self-pity, deploring the likelihood that President Joe Biden will join Warren’s call for the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. “This fair share is a bullshit concept,” he wailed. “It’s just a way of attacking wealthy people.” Then he appealed to the real victims of the pandemic to rally behind billionaires like him. We make the world “a substantially better place” with our donations to charity, he asserted, pleading for public gratitude, and exclaiming: “We all got to work together.”

Together? While the working class and poor have been knocked down, cut off and stomped on in the past year, America’s 651 billionaires — including Cooperman — have collectively jacked up their wealth by a trillion bucks — an average of $1.5 billion each.

Shall we take up a collection and buy this guy a clue?