The inescapable truth about rightwing billionaires and Trump

Thom plus logo Hint: It's all about the money

Some very wealthy people helped put Donald Trump in office, and have continued to subsidize the Trump presidency and those Republicans who enable it.

Why would they do this? Why would they play such a horrible game of Russian Roulette with the United States of America and its citizens?

Why would they take such a chance on destroying democracy all around the world by helping flip it's most iconic Founder, the international role model for democracy in a republic of laws, into oligarchy and strongman rule?

Is it possible they did this not out of ideology (even though a majority describe themselves as "conservative" or "libertarian"), but because they have a common interest that Trump and the GOP could help satisfy by maintaining, and, from their point of view, even improving, the status quo?

Sadly, like the old cliché, with rightwing billionaires like Trump, "It's all about the money." Here's how it works:

There are two ways to become a very wealthy person in the United States: earn that money or inherit/marry it.

A substantial percentage of American rightwing billionaires have inherited or married their money.

And the billionaires who did earn their money are, literally every day, creating children and spouses who'll be future billionaires who simply inherited or married their money.

Thus, Statista noted: "The number of billionaires in the U.S. has increased tenfold during this time [1987-2012], from 41 billionaires in 1987 to 425 billionaires in 2012." Today there are over 650 billionaires in America.

Of course, some of this growth in the number of billionaires since 1987 has to do with inflation, but not the majority of it. Which raises the question: "What is it about Trump and the Republican Party that makes rightwing billionaires so supportive of them?"

Not surprisingly, it's all about the money.

There are two ways our government taxes the income that sustains people in America, whether they live in the suburbs or a palatial mansion with 150 servants: income taxes and capital gains taxes.

Wages are what you get when you employ your body or mind, and are paid for that effort. Dividends and interest are what you "earn" when you make your living by sitting around the pool waiting for the dividend checks from your investments to arrive every month.

Working class people earn wages and pay income taxes; people who inherited or married their money, and those who invest their vast fortunes, pay capital gains taxes on the money their money earns.

Wages are taxed at a substantially higher rate than capital gains. Donald Trump, in fact, lowered the capital gains tax and promised to lower it all the way down to 15% if he remains president after January 20.

Thus, those who inherit or marry their money pay the lowest income tax rate in the United States. Rightwing billionaires want to keep it that way, and Donald Trump promised them he will.

After all, it's all about the money.

Similarly, there are two ways to pay taxes on your wealth, the stuff you own as opposed to the income you earn.

Working-class people, a majority of whom are homeowners (around 66%), pay an annual tax on their greatest source of wealth, their homes. It's called the property tax.

Every single year over 87 million working-class homeowners pay a small percentage of the value of their main store of wealth - their homes - to the state.

It's a wealth tax for the middle class that we refer to as a "property tax."

Even people who rent pay "the working class wealth tax," through their rent payments, which subsidize their landlords' property taxes.

But what about people who've inherited or married their money, or even earned themselves billions, and put it in investments?

The majority of their wealth is not in their home(s); that usually represents only the tiniest slice of their assets, even when it's a big, fancy mansion.

Instead, most of their wealth is invested. Think of it as sitting in a money bin, like Scrooge McDuck.

How much of a tax is there on those money bins, their investment portfolios? How much tax do they pay every year on their wealth?

It turns out there is none. No tax. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

They don't pay a penny in annual taxes on their invested wealth, and only a pittance on their overall wealth which includes their homes and land. Their homes, the only items on which they do pay a property/wealth tax, represent only the tiniest slice of wealthy peoples overall wealth portfolio.

Only working class people, whose principal store of wealth is their home, must pay a substantial annual wealth tax.

Fairness would dictate that money bins and investment portfolios face the same kind of wealth tax that middle class homes do, but elected Republicans oppose that and have promised the right wing billionaires they're going to keep it that way.

It's all about the money.

Meanwhile, Democrats are listening to Elizabeth Warren, who's been calling for a "two pennies on the dollar" wealth tax on rich people's money bins and investment portfolios to pay for a national healthcare system and free college education.

To further freak out this subset of greedy rightwing billionaires, many Democrats say they want to raise the top income and capital gains tax brackets for multimillionaires and billionaires back up to where it was between the 1930s and the 1980s.

The top income tax bracket was 74% when Ronald Reagan came into office, and that top bracket guaranteed that working class Americans saw their income and wealth rise at roughly the same rate as the very rich.

Reagan collapsed both income and capital-gains taxes all the way down to 25%, which kicked off 40 years of exploding wealth for the very rich, and absolutely flat wage growth, and a reversal in wealth, for working class people.

While there are many very rich people who realize how destructive this 40-year GOP policy has been to the economic, social and political fabric of America, the small number of right wing billionaires who're fanatics about not paying their fair share of taxes have ignored these consequences and instead funded the Republican party in a huge way.

They've also spent the past 40 years setting up think-tanks nationally and in every single state, sponsoring Economics and Political Science departments in over 100 US colleges and universities, and flooding the internet with high-minded-sounding rationales for their greed.

Just google "middle class" and "tax" and you'll see how many billionaire-funded rightwing sites pop up telling working class Americans that tax cuts for rich people are good for them.

In the process of pushing wages and wealth out of the pockets of working class people and up into the money bins of the top one percent, to the tune of $50 trillion dollars over the last forty years, these billionaires and the politicians they own have gutted the income, and stripped away much of the wealth, of the American working class. It's tearing America apart, but their wealth has exploded by about a trillion dollars in the past year alone.

Because, for them, it's all about the money.

Over the past decade or two, white working class people figured out they're being screwed economically, but most don't realize its connection to forty years of GOP tax policy.

Instead, they listen to Republicans like Trump and the millionaire stars on rightwing billionaire-owned media who tell them Black people, women and "illegals" taking their jobs are the reason they can no longer afford a home, a new car every couple years, a vacation, and to send their kids to college.

Thus, the current wave of white supremacist violence sweeping the nation finds its deepest roots in the economic destruction of the white working class over the last 40 years, and that mostly flows out of Reaganomics' tax policies.

Multiple studies over the years have tied surges of racist violence to economic downturns. Economic crisis always drives the spread of racism and its corrosive effects on society.

From the founding of our republic to today, the core of racism has always been about the money. Slavery, for example, was 100% about the money, as is the rigged economy we've had since the end of the Civil War.

It's time to repudiate Reaganomics and return America to a rational tax policy where the wealthy and extremely wealthy pay their fair share of the cost of maintaining a civil society. And to make up for decades of massive theft from the working class, it's time to extend the wealth tax to everybody, including billionaires and their money bins.

-Thom

Originally posted at Medium.com.

Comments

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 35 weeks 2 days ago
#1

Can you spell GREED

Think it's AMERICA

Bonnie Frank 35 weeks 2 days ago
#2

rather than continue to focus on raising taxes on wealthy people, we need tax system which flat taxes corporations and stops corporate subsidies including by cities, counties and towns. as well as corporate junk bonds. i can't run my business like these large corporations with excessive loans and on the backs of taxpayers getting subsidies from anything to free property taxes to subsidizing their employer/employee costs. and these corporations pay no taxes whatsoever.

we are and have been an oligarchy so start taxing the corporations and prevent anyone but a person from donating to politicians. focus on the real culprit and where the real money is and stop perpetuating the class warfare.

Riverplunge's picture
Riverplunge 35 weeks 2 days ago
#3

The answer to why they would do it is simple Thom.
The LOVE of money is the root of all evil. I Timothy 6:10
Yes, it can also be used for good. But most people, especially very "well to do" love it so much, that they take the other path to accumulate more.
Money is no less than cocaine or heroin.

Un-Spam-Me's picture
Un-Spam-Me 35 weeks 2 days ago
#4

Wake up. The growing wealth inequality is a sign we are not the egalitarian society we should be. That is proof there has been class warfare going on and you shouldn't need to ask Warren Buffett who's winning.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/123058-there-s-class-warfare-all-right-...

Likewise, a flat tax does nothing to fight inequality either, Thom has discussed that too.

"Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt from all taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical proportion as they rise."
~ Thomas Jefferson to James Madison "Equality" 28 Oct. 1785
source: https://bit.ly/jefferson-on-equality 

Yes, we should tax corporations as citizens, forbid corporations from political donations, curtail their limited liability, unless there is a defined public service they are serving. End all dark money political donations. Tax churches and televangelists too.

The businesses that are not paying living wages and benefits, and externalize pollution costs are not good corporate citizens and should not exist

Your pleas to not tax the wealthy reminds me of the Republicans that want to stop the Senate's guilty impeachment verdict in the name of unity before there is a full accounting, as if there should be no consequence for insurrection and treason.

Likewise, there should a punitive 2% tax on the money bins of those with over 50 million dollars. Billionaires should not exist.

.

alis volat's picture
alis volat 35 weeks 2 days ago
#5

For a nation of Monopoly players we are not very smart about letting individuals, corporations, and even foreign countries accumulate wealth and property in the USA. We let them use our infrastructure and commons without paying their fair share. Biden mentioned something today, and I think he has an open mind about solutions. I really like Senator Warren's idea, but I'd like to see Rep. DeFazio's proposal added to it. That would be a very small tax added to each stock transaction.

The purchase of politicians is a real bargain when you start researching what they pay them compared to the amount of taxes they should be paying. Enacting new and fairer taxes won't cure the process, because legislation on all sorts of subjects will still be a valuable commodity. We have a lot of work to do on this subject.

What good is all that money, especially to an individual? How many houses, yachts, jewels, pieces of art, and vehicles are enough? Thom has talked about the accumulation of wealth being a mental illness. I think that is true to some extent. With the CEO psychopaths, the amount of their money is just a way of keeping score.

We have all discovered who is essential....billionaires are not on the list.

Legend 35 weeks 1 day ago
#6

23000 Americans earned more than 10 million. 7 were audited. They hire tax consultants for 100000 to save a million. They have numerous tax write offs. Recently the 3 martinni lunch was brought back.

Name something that you can purchase with no sales tax. Stock and Bonds, any quantity.

Homeless population was high in the 30's due to the Great Depression. Not so in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and maybe even the 90's. It is a 2000+ problem. The poor are in the Great Depression era and the wealthy have never been richer. About the same time as Trickle Down Economics started to take affect and when the exporting of our manufacturing overseas took affect. A Double whammy.

The 63 billionaires that bankrolled Trump. These people expect and get a Return on Investment.

You had the choice to go in or not. Everyone that went in knew they were breaking the law.

djgilbert 35 weeks 1 day ago
#7

What I am missing in all of this is a tax on the casino of the rich, i.e. the stock market. It is time for a financial transaction tax on certain transactions that are essentially gambling. Also should consider discarding the carried interest exclusion for large amounts.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 35 weeks 1 day ago
#8

"STOP THE STEAL! STOP THE STEAL! STOP THE STEAL!"

"Big protest in NYC. Be there, will be wild!"

On Monday morning at the opening bell, the child-raping, baby-eating, Satan-worshipping, radical-left-wing of the Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the "Squad" will start an armed, violent, seditious insurgency against the New York Stock Exchange at 11 Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City to stop the illegal counting of stock trades and the stealing of middle-class wealth.

Oh, wait. Democrats aren't like Republicans. Guess that whole left-right equivalency meme isn't really a thing.

Legend 35 weeks 1 day ago
#9

The Capitol has countless cameras and days worth of video. Not to mention all of the video from storm troopers and news media, There will be hundreds of arrests and thousands of charges. These people had a chance to walk away. They listened to lies from the POTUS, The POTUS Cronies, Right Wing Politicians, Right Wing media etc. They are gullible idiots that will pay for their stupidity. Trump will not pardon you, he could give a shit about you. Was the only cause the "Stop The Steal Movement"? A movement of Lies! You literally have everything else I could think of. The plea bargains will only bring out more.

jastroeve 35 weeks 1 day ago
#10

Thom, ask the Patriotic Millionaires and the Lincoln Project folks on the show. Get their take on taxes for the wealthy and what's the way forward. They seem to be coming at this from the Business Perspective. what do you think?

SueN's picture
SueN 35 weeks 1 day ago
#12

The Patriotic Millionaires have been on the show several times.

P51pilot's picture
P51pilot 32 weeks 5 days ago
#13

How does the audit rate compare to all income levels? Bet its not that different.

Todays so called poor drive a car to the food pantry and heats it up in a microwave, stores the leftovers in a refrigerator and does little to improve themselves despite the fact they have more free time than humans have ever had in the history of the species.

P51pilot's picture
P51pilot 32 weeks 5 days ago
#14

Awfully convenient of you to leave out the facts. 67% of all millionaires are self made. 11% inherent their money. 70% of family wealth is squander after one generation and 80% after two. Only 5% of the population of this country stays in the bottom 20% of household income their entire life. 20% of the population spends time in both the top 20% and the bottom 20%. No matter what you do there will always be a bottom 20%, unless of course your a Marxist. Stop calling yourself progressive, comrade, and admit your an unabashed Marxist.

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