All Billionaires Must Be Eliminated For The Good Of Society And Mankind
I'm not a religious guy, but I want to start by quoting three prophets. Actually Jesus was even a step beyond a mere prophet if Christian traditions are to be taken at face value and he's famous for having said "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." A few hundred years later, Muslim tradition reports that Muhammad said “Our true wealth is the good we do in this world. None of us has faith unless we desire for our neighbors what we desire for ourselves.” And quite some later, Brigham Young told his followers that "The course pursued by men of business in the world has a tendency to make a few rich, and to sink the masses of the people in poverty and degradation. Too many of the elders of Israel take this course. No matter what comes they are for gain-- for gathering around them riches..." Jesus, Muhammad and Joseph Smith all threatened dire consequences for the greedy and avaricious.
Now three from Vermont's Independent Senator Bernie Sanders:
"We now have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income distribution in our modern history."
"Today, the wealthiest 400 individuals own more wealth than the bottom half of America - 150 million people."
"Today, the 6 heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, own more wealth than the bottom 30% – 90 million Americans."
In finishing up his chapter, "Tax Cuts Aren't A Solution To Every Problem," Joshua Holland, author of The Fifteen Biggest Lies About The Economy, decided to borrow from Larry Beinhart's Tax Cuts: The B.S. and the Facts
In 2008, Beinhart took a look at a fog fact about taxes. He compared two sets of data, historic income tax and GDP growth rates in the United States, and concluded, “The brute facts” are as follows:
• High income taxes correlate with economic growth.
• Income tax increases are followed by economic growth.
• Moderate income tax cuts are followed by a flat economy.
Beinhart went through the specifics:
1. High taxes correlate with strong economic growth. The four periods of greatest economic growth in U.S. history, by pretty much any measure, are
• World War II (1941–1945): The top tax rate varied from 88 to 94 percent.
• Postwar under Truman and Eisenhower: The top rate bounced around from 81 to 92 percent.
• The Clinton years: Clinton raised Bush’s top rate of 31 percent to 37 percent and then to 39 percent.
• The first two Roosevelt administrations (1933–1940). When Roosevelt came into office, Hoover had already raised the tax rate in 1932 from 25 percent to 63 percent. Roosevelt raised it again in 1936 to 79 percent.
A lot of ink, sweat, and ranting have gone into proving that the New Deal did not end the Great Depression. Nonetheless, the economy grew 58 percent from the time Roosevelt came into office to when the United States entered the war. Some of that anti–New Deal rhetoric also claims that the recovery began under Hoover. Perhaps, but to say so is also to say that it began with tax hikes.
Likewise, many right-wing critics insist that the Clinton boom actually started under Bush the First. It is necessary to remember that Bush the First also raised taxes (from 28 percent to 31 percent) and was soundly thrashed by the conservatives for doing so. Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute called it “The Crime of the Century” and explained at length how it had brought ruin to America.
2. Tax increases are followed by economic growth. Three of the four high-growth periods cited previously followed significant tax hikes. The fourth, the Truman-Eisenhower years, began with a top tax rate of 91 percent-- it couldn’t get much higher.
3. Moderate cuts are followed by flat growth. John F. Kennedy is generally credited with starting the tax-cut craze. He proposed it, but, as with all of his ideas, it was Lyndon Johnson who actually got it enacted. The top rate was cut from 91 percent to 77 percent, then to 70 percent, on all income more than $200,000 for a single person and more than $400,000 for a married couple. That’s where it stayed, through the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. The Dow Jones average was pretty much the same when that period ended as when it began. Median personal income stayed roughly the same.
As surely as water rushes in to fill any opening or crevasse, wealth rushes in to take over any society it is embedded in. We've all seen in recent years how a few wealthy families and their corporate enterprises have sought to undermine American democracy. When I say all billionaires must be "eliminated," I'm not talking about violence-- God forbid; I'm talking about going back to sensible, equitable tax policies that serve society rather than a handful of wealthy parasites.
And, as Russ Feingold, noted yesterday, the Supreme Court has sparked a "constitutional crisis" by becoming "a partisan arm of corporate America."
Feingold is particularly concerned about the Supreme Court's relationship to corporate power. "What they have clearly become is a partisan arm of corporate America. This is a real serious problem for our democracy," he said. "It's essentially a court that rules in one direction."
"Even if they do uphold the health care law, this court is no longer perceived as the independent arbiter of the law that the people expect them to be," Feingold added, referring to the highly anticipated decision coming Thursday.
According to a study by the Constitutional Accountability Center, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the chief business lobbying group in Washington, has a 68 percent win record in the Roberts Court on cases in which it has filed briefs, far higher than during similar recent periods of stability in the court's membership.
Linking the Roberts Court to previous courts that stymied progressive change-- the Supreme Court of the Gilded Age, the 1905 decision in Lochner v. New York and the court's initial resistance to the New Deal-- Feingold said, "This is one of those moments where the court thinks it's the legislature."
Next Tuesday Blue America will be hosting a live chat at Crooks and Liars with Raúl Grijalva. It's worth watching his speech on the floor of Congress yesterday about the dangers of Dark Money the very wealthy are using to undermine democracy.