First Columbia took on their drug lords, now they're taking on their billionaires...why can't we?

America’s billionaires are driving this nation’s poverty epidemic. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

As we speak, working-class Americans are getting screwed over by policies that favor the wealthy elite, and leave everyone else in the dust. As a result, more and more Americans are living in poverty.

In 2013, over 45 million Americans were living in poverty, including 1 in 5 children, and today, around 4% of our population lives on $2 per day or less. Unfortunately, our lawmakers in Washington would rather continue pandering to the needs of the rich and famous, than confront the very real poverty epidemic that is crippling our country.

Like America, Colombia is struggling with its own poverty epidemic brought on by extremely high levels of wealth inequality and by wealthy Colombians who aren’t doing their fair share to help the economy. Colombia is the seventh most unequal country in the world, with a staggering 32% of Colombians living in poverty. In rural areas of that country, the poverty rate jumps to just under 47%.

Meanwhile, just like here in America, there is a small number of very wealthy people who are doing very little to help the Colombian economy and working-class Colombians. But that’s changing. More and more Colombians are being lifted out of poverty each year because the Colombian government isn’t afraid to ask the wealthy elite to do their fair share to help the economy.

Last week, the Colombian government, under the direction of President Juan Manuel Santos, extended a wealth tax that was first introduced in 2002. Speaking about the wealth tax, Colombia’s finance minister Mauricio Cardenas told the Financial Times that, “It is very important to collect revenues from the wealthiest Colombians to be able to invest in security and defence on the one hand, and in social sectors on the other hand.”

What a novel idea: taxing the rich to help improve an economy.

Naturally, Colombia’s rich and powerful are arguing that the wealth tax will hurt the Colombian middle-class and hamper investments in the country. But the results of Colombia’s wealth tax over its first 12 years speak for themselves. Over the past decade, Colombia’s economy has become one the fastest growing economies in Latin America. Meanwhile, unemployment in that country has been steadily decreasing, and inflation has remained relatively low.

Now, imagine what could happen to our economy, and to working poor people in America, if our lawmakers weren’t afraid to make the wealthy elite pay their fair share.

According to CNBC, if we were to bump up the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6% - where it was during the Clinton era – for all Americans making $250,000 or more per year, our economy would take in an extra $40 to $45 billion per year.

Just imagine how much good that money could do, and how many Americans it could help lift out of poverty. And if we rolled the top tax rate back to where it was from the 1950s through the 1980s, we could actually do away with our deficit and fully fund necessary social programs.

Ever since Ronald Reagan stepped foot inside the White House, we’ve seen the devastating effects of putting too much wealth in the hands of too few people. While the wealthy elite continue to get richer and richer, working-class Americans are finding themselves sinking deeper and deeper below the poverty line, struggling to survive day-to-day.

It’s time for this insanity to stop and to make America’s millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share to support our economy.

We are the wealthiest and most developed country in the world. There is no reason why 1 in 5 children should be struggling with poverty, or why 12.5 million Americans should be living on $2 per day.

Let’s take a page out of Colombia’s playbook, stand up to the wealthy elite, and finally eliminate poverty in America.


Kend's picture
Kend 9 years 39 weeks ago

Taxing the wealthy will help, but you have to tackle the biggest problem first. Single parent families. Since 1960 children being raised without a father in the US has almost tripled. 1/3 of American children are brought up in a single parent family. About 20 million American children are raised without a father in the home. The problem is staggering with black children where almost half are raised in a single parent family. All we have to do is look at how the standard of living drops after any divorce in almost any family.

As far as raising taxes it is a great idea as long as the Government cuts its budget by the same percentage right across the board.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 39 weeks ago

Could we PLEASE have some honesty about America's poverty crisis and the successful crushing of any American left/progressive movement? The campaign to redistribute public dollars out of public needs and into corporate bank accounts was initiated by the Reagan Republicans. It continues to be driven by the Clinton Democrats in Congress and most of the media marketed to middle class Dems. Every step of the way, the middle class has supported this agenda. Dems and the media marketed to liberals have maintained our "war on the poor," implicitely preaching that our deregulated corporate system is so perfect that everyone is able to work and there are jobs for all who need one (therefore no need for poverty relief). This leads directly to current Dem Party efforts to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Can anyone explain why lib media appears to have gone into overdrive to promote, of all people, Hillary Clinton? The 2016 Demn Party candidate is, of course, VP Joe Biden, and this media almost never mentions his name. Clinton or any other Dem can challenge Biden for the nomination, but won't. Above all, the Dem Party leadership knows that H. Clinton, with her long, consistent record of support for the right-wing agenda, is unelectable on the Dem Party ticket, due to her record (though she might consider the Tea Party ticket). The Clinton (neoliberal) branch of the Dem Party is powerfully responsible for today's poverty crisis/phasing out the middle class. Most notably, B. Clinton's NAFTA/free trade has resulted in a massive loss of working class jobs,m while cutting the rungs off the ladder out of poverty. At the same time (with a nod from media libs) B Clinton ended the Great Society as a necessary step toward ending the New Deal, making it cool to throw the poor off the cliff. These two factors have created a poverty crisis while deeply dividing Dems and liberals. I can only hope voters take a little time to examine H. Clinton's own record.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 39 weeks ago

With all due respect, you are incorrect on virtually every point, although this has long been a popular theme. Yes, one person earns less than two. Two earn less than three. None is this is relevant to the issue at hand. It is important to note that the majority of poor, and the majority of single parent families, are white. Not black. You indicate that we need a solution to single parent families. Any suggestions? With very rare exception, the reason there are single parent families is that American men routinely walk away from their responsibilities toward their own children, something that women almost never do. Our brutality toward women and children in poverty won't change this. I can assure you, a marriage license does not change this fact. Marriage has no impact on this. Poverty has soared to crisis levels precisely because of the poilicies chosen by this generation. Since Reagan, the US shipped out a huge share of our working class jobs. Clinton then effectively cut the rungs off the ladder out of poverty, making it cool to scapegoat the powerless poor. In short, we looked at all the policies and programs that took the US to its height of wealth and productivity, from FDR to Reagan, and chose to reverse course, doing just the opposite. And on your recitation of the old call for "across the board cuts," that notion is as simplistic and irresponsible today as it was 30+ years ago. We need to look at the agenda that brought the US to this miserable point, look back to see what actually DID work, and plan a course of action.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 39 weeks ago

I don't need to examine past Whitewater and the Rose Law Firm to count me out on Hills.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 9 years 39 weeks ago

A wealth tax? Won't happen soon, but it would be nice to see this idea make it to national TV. It would get shot down but the real victory would be more people taking notice. Baby steps. Bring it up again.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 39 weeks ago

Yay Leigh! Thanks for showing your face again. I missed it. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 39 weeks ago

As to the topic of the day, I agree with Branski that Reagan wasn’t the only culprit. The Clintons played a significant role in the meltdown of this economy with their endorsement of so-called “free” trade. Every president since Reagan has furthered the damage to the working class of this country, to the commons and our social safety net. Including Obama, with his aggressive efforts to fast-track the TPP.

Branski, I still reject any notion of today’s corporatized media as a “liberal” media, unless what you mean by that is “neoliberal”. Call me old fashioned, but I still embrace the dictionary's version of what "liberal" means, which is polar opposite of "neoliberal". - AIW

larlamo's picture
larlamo 9 years 39 weeks ago

hmmm , we should have a tax increase to offset the cost of the new war.......


2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 39 weeks ago

Funny how the billionaires started their "Taxed Enough Already " movement at a point in history when they have been taxed by far the least. In fact I believe guys like Romney may be paying well under 10% given how easy tax fraud has become. Obviously the Tea Bagger movement has been used by the Fascists as a way to redirect the gullible masses away from the giant sucking sound of all the wealth as it goes into the pockets and offshore bank accounts of a few nut jobs who would destroy our democracy and country for a god damn buck.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 39 weeks ago

I gotta hand it to ya "Mrs. Kend", your spelling and grammar is a helluva lot better than your husband's... except for that upper-case "G" in "Government". Unfortunately your sociopolitical views are no less myopic. - AIW

ken ware's picture
ken ware 9 years 39 weeks ago

I will hold back my comments concerning today’s topic, primarily because it would just be an echo to what has already been said by DHBranski and AIW. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the free trade agreements have devastated our ability to provide an adequate amount of jobs to keep our population working and providing for themselves and their families, even single parent families. Free-trade in reality means free to ship our jobs to low pay markets around the world, to maximize profits for the Corporations and the Wealthy. Why produce a good here, when you can make it in Mexico, Vietnam or China (or Canada) and ship it here with little or no tariffs. Now we are faced with a secret trade agreement pushed by Obama and his goonies. Even Congress has had difficulty in actually seeing and reading the “secret document” or the TPP as it is called. As long as CORPORATIONS are viewed as people and MONEY is free speech according to the Supreme Court, you can forget about anything changing in our political arena. Whether you call it liberal or conservative, it all comes out sounding, smelling and being the same agenda in Washington, MONEY TALKS AND IT OWNS OUR POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON. I have generally refrained from commenting on this blog site, mainly because it just ends up being nothing more than a verbal brawl. But, after reading what Kend had to say concerning single parent families, which has not changed much over the last year or more, except for the fact he actually agreed that taxing the wealthiest Americans could benefit our society! That is definitely a switch from his stance in the past that taxing the wealthy would not help, but would drive the rich out of our country and into countries like his beloved Canada which has lower income taxes.

Kend, I take personal offense to your attitude towards single parents! I, my friend was and still am a single parent. I raised my daughter, my only child and did a damn good job of it by myself. My daughter not only has high morals and cares about her fellow men, women and children, she is also highly educated. She has earned a B.S. in child psychology, but also holds an M.S. in education. She has chosen to teach the youngest of children in a low income area of the Southland and has been commended on her efforts and work in reaching out to children in need, many from two parent families, from her colleagues, acting Principals and Vise-Principals. She has married a well educated man with an M.S. in History and they are the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy, Aiden Kenneth. So my friend, before you start your slurs and generalizations about how single parents are one of the main problems in our society, think before you rattle off any more of your offensive babble. Of course I do take into account that you are speaking from a damn frozen lake most of the year and that must affect your logic on many levels all year long, even during the summer, which is what we experience all year long… Your not so friendly friend, K.W.

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 9 years 39 weeks ago

The corporatization of America (and the world) and The Second Gilded Age are the results of bipartisan efforts. We need democracy, not corporatocracy.

U.S. Citizen's picture
U.S. Citizen 9 years 39 weeks ago

The corporatization of America (and the world) and The Second Gilded Age are the results of bipartisan efforts. We need democracy, not corporatocracy.

thevoice 9 years 39 weeks ago


Lets look at these great ideas

Lie #1

You purposely confuse an individual making over $250,000 in taxable income with a corporation making $1,000,000,000/year...thus, $250,000/year are the wealthy elite? Really?

Lie #2

You claim that increasing taxes on indivduals making over 250,000 will fix the deficit. I thought george was an idiot. Where is your math? We have a $500 billion deficit. How does an extra 40-50 bil make up 500? Even if you raised the tax rate to 90% on these Americans, your math is simply full of shit.

It should also be added here that all government jobs are created by working americans, thus income taxes collected by the Fed from government employees, in reality, are the property taxes of hard working Americans who have already been taxed.

With two-thirds of everyone's personal income taxes wasted or not collected, 100% of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal Government contributions to transfer payments.

In other words, all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services which taxpayers expect from their government.


Who is going to fix everything for us? The wonderful Government. The same goverment who works for the elite and created this mess in the first place. What great logic.

I don't want a wasteful government job where I feel like I'm stealing the taxes of hard working Americans, I want to be an independent self-providing Citizen who can take pride in my work

There is obviously an agenda here and it has nothing to do with the truth.

k78333's picture
k78333 9 years 39 weeks ago

The problem also is that the Congress is full of self consumed millionaires who really don't think they are representing all of their constituents but a select group of their cronies from the country club! Just as they love to vote themselves payraises and grant themselves ( like yesterday) nice long vacations, let's not fool ourselves that they will willingly tax themselves and all the rest of their buddies ! Until we get a group of politicians that have some morality and empathy toward the needy, this will be a continuing cycle. Or maybe when a million people take this to the streets!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 39 weeks ago

Over 98 percent of all Americans earn less than $250,000 per year. FACT!!!

Quote quoting the IRS:Using statistics from the IRS website, we found that 137,988,219 tax returns out of 140,494,127 -- or 98.2 percent -- reported adjusted gross income of less than $250,000 a year in 2009, the most recent data available.

And although these figures hold true for 2009...the trend has been that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. So, I seriously doubt that there are now, in 2014, less than 98% earning less that $250,000 per year. So those who are earning $250,000 or more per year, the top 2%, would fit more into the category of "wealthy elite".

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 39 weeks ago

So, with no honest government, which requires honest government employees and honest politicians, to safeguard the majority of the people from the rapacious capitalist wolves, we're all dead meat. Privatize everything and the corporations and conglomerates will eat us up. Sure, the wolves would just love no controls and/or regulations...just like all thieves just love it when people are unarmed, unwary and incautious...or when they leave their houses unlocked and with no alarm system or cameras. They'd just love it if there were no police patrolling our neighborhoods looking for people who are acting suspiciously.

thevoice 9 years 39 weeks ago

I sincerely disagree Palindromedary

If if want to compare someone like Warren Buffet who made an estimated $37 million per day to someone making $250,000 in taxable income per year then that is your prerogative, I believe this does a great injustice to our struggle. Especially when you consider Warren Buffet is not a trillionaire and the true elite could buy Warren Buffet 1000x over.

thevoice 9 years 39 weeks ago

I don't know what your point is here.

If you are trying to suggest that without police crime would run ramped, I would have to say this notion is a little silly.

This is a common held myth and all one needs to do to see how silly this myth is ask yourself are you going to commit crime just because there is no police? Are you suddenly going to turn violent and start killing? No of course not. It is not in our nature. A vast majority of crime is not violent petty/drug offenses. A vast majority of violent offenders become violent after incarceration, usually for self defense. Thus, Police and the prison system create violence, as opposed to deterring it.

Crime is a function of poverty/the war on drugs which is imposed on us by the imperialists to control us. When people have good jobs, good families, and good communities, crime is not an issue.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 38 weeks ago

thevoice: what I was getting at in #16 is that I believe that most of those people who make $250,000 and above are most likely Republicans...they have a mindset that is in no way liberal or is, rather, cutthroat and conniving...much like most Republicans. They vote and they have created the economic quagmire for the 98% (those that make less than $250,000 per year) that is America today. And one cannot really draw the line at $250,000. There are a lot of people that make less than that and who live very comfortably and who may also have a strong desire to be in the top 1% or 2% and have been convinced that what stands in their way is a liberal/progressive government that wants to spread the wealth around to more people rather than allow a few people to live very high on the hog. Perhaps many of those people are business people who have no problem cheating their employees out of a decent wage/salary and benefits in order to increase the employers or his/her stockholders richer.

The "great injustice to our struggle" comes mostly from all of those super-rich wannabees (and to most of us, $250,000...the top 2%... is super rich) who are only earning much less than they think they are entitled. They have enough money to influence elections...and there is far more of them, probably voting in their elite interests, than the many fewer in the top 1%. They have many more votes than the top 1%. They both have lots of money to influence other dummies in the bottom 98% to vote in the interests of the wealthy elite (ie: voting for Republicans or Democrats that suck up to the monied interests). But if that 98% voted for say, the Green Party, or some other party other than the crooked main-stream two-party cabal then it would shake up the system and we could possibly have some real changes for the better. But things will never change for the betterment of the 98% if we keep voting for the same old crooks in the political system in the US.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 38 weeks ago
Quote thevoice:If you are trying to suggest that without police crime would run ramped, I would have to say this notion is a little silly.
What I am saying is that even with the police crime is running rampant because the police are owned by the wealthy in this country...just as the politicians are owned by them as well. We have plenty of police but no bankster has ever been put in prison unless you consider the one that turned himself in...Bernie Madoff. And if we keep voting for one of the two main political parties, keeping them in the majority, we will continue to be ruled by criminals.

If you think it is a myth that the police don't deter crime then I'd have to disagree with you. We don't have police just to sit and eat donuts and drink coffee all day. Criminals would much rather there were no police that might catch them and put them in jail...or shoot them. You wouldn't like it if we had no police to deter would be criminals. Yes, occasionally, police do go overboard and/or make mistakes. They have a very tough job and their attitudes, and reactions to perceived threats, get formed by the kinds of garbage-people they have to deal with all the time. And when people mouth-off and argue with police and resist lawful orders then they are just asking for it. The law enforcer's lives are often at risk by some twerp who might shoot them in the back. Not a very safe profession to be in.

We know that people coming back from war conditions in the Middle East often suffer from PTSD. The police are often under the same kinds of conditions in the US. We are at war...because the criminals are constantly trying to mug us, steal from us, rape us, etc. But, the entrenched criminality of the ruling elite gets away with the things they do because, on their level, they own the police and the politicians. But on the street level, we'd be living in a real jungle of predatory animals ready and willing to pounce on us all were it not for the police.

thevoice 9 years 38 weeks ago

We have gotten off subject.

Look, if you want to tax those individuals then I will not vote against you, obviously $250,000 is more than enough to live happily. Taxation will never create equality. If 300 years of American history hasn't proven that I don't know what will.

However, Thom is in a position of spreading knowledge and he needs to be responsible with his statements. If he says taxing these individuals will solve the deficit then I want to see the math. This was a bold face lie and it is doing more damage than good.

What we are talking about is a re-distribution of wealth, not taxing to create more corruption.

It is simply disgusting that some own trillions while so many people starve. How can a person have ten houses and watch another human suffer our planet suffer miserably. I don't understand these people, it is like they are not even human. They are disgusting pigs.

So I came up with some demands, I am calling them the ten demandments but I only have seven

thevoice 9 years 38 weeks ago

#1 Everyone in the world is entitled to own a home and no one can own more than one because then everyone would be entitled own more than one. The Banks cannot own anything.

#2 Everyone in the world is entitled to clean drinking water. All industries/governments that endanger drinking water must be eliminated and held accountable.

#3 Everyone in the world is entitled to eat without suffering from hunger.

#4 Everyone in the world is entitled to good health care.

#5 Everyone in the world is entitled to pursue their dreams and passions, to reach their full potential so long as it is sustainable and does not harm others or the planet.

#6 Everyone in the world is entitled to know the truth and there shall be full transparency in media and the government and the two shall never bed.

How do we accomplish this? Easy, we tell the banks to take a hike.

#1 The house you live in now is yours and you don't owe the bank shit. Interest is criminal

#2 We are not going to finance any more polluting industries and the banks are going to pay for the cleanup/restoration of our water.

#3 All farm debt is erased including debt owed by third world countries. Farmers may grow to feed the world, and money generated will go straight to the farmer and not to the bank for interest. Everyong is entitle to farm their own land and grow as much food as needed as long as it is sustainable.

#4 All medical debt is erased including student loans. Medical college will be affordable to anyone passionate about medicine and taught by those passionate about medicine and will be compensated for their contribution to society.

#5 Do as much or as little as you like as long as you live by the golden rule.

#6 Media will be held to a strict standard of truth and no individual or party will be able to "own" the media. Propoganda will be severely punishable by law.

Interest is imperialism

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