Thursday, October 29, 2015

In The End, It All Comes Down To Taxes


The Koch brothers even looked like fascists when they were kids

Last night two Hillary partisans, Peter Daou and Tom Watson, authors of July's persuasive The Great American Brainwash: Half a Billion Dollars to Turn the Public against Hillary. published a follow-up, Republican Billionaires Bankroll Shadowy New Anti-Hillary Group. They start by quoting Rebecca Ballhaus' piece at the Wall Street Journal yesterday about "[a] collection of top GOP operatives, financed by prominent Republican donors... launching two new groups to take aim at Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton."
The groups-- Future45, a super PAC, and 45Committee, an issue-advocacy organization-- will be bankrolled by some of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and causes, including hedge-fund billionaires Ken Griffin and Paul Singer and the family of TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts. Ron Weiser, a former finance chairman at the Republican National Committee, will serve as chairman of Future45, heading up the group’s fundraising efforts.
These billionaires are investing their money into an effort meant to define Hillary's character in such a way as to make her unpalatable to American voters: "calculating (scheming, crafty, manipulative), secretive (suspicious, paranoid, uncommunicative), polarizing (divisive, alienating), untrustworthy (corrupt, deceitful, dishonest, unethical), over-ambitious, inauthentic (disingenuous, fake, unlikable, insincere), inhuman (machine-like, robotic, abnormal, cold), over-confident (inevitable, defiant, imperious, regal) and old (out of touch and representing the past)... talking points crafted for maximum impact, designed for the kind of mindless repetition that can turn falsehoods into conventional wisdom."

Although fanatic right-wing billionaire sociopaths-- the Wilks brothers ($15,000,000), Robert Mercer ($11,000,000) and Toby Neugebauer ($10,000,000)-- have made the biggest contributions so far this cycle, each to Texas neo-fascist Ted Cruz, their status at the top of the shit-pile is only because the Kochs and the Adelsons haven't committed yet. The Adelsons are committed to cementing Rubio's vapid Zionism with a massive infusion of cash into his weak campaign. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Kochs are biding their time to decide how to deploy $750 million. " [Charles] Koch," they remind their readers, "is chief executive of Koch Industries, one of the nation’s largest privately owned companies, and his calls for reduced taxes and regulations have long found a fruitful home among Republican politicians... 'How much I give to the political side will depend on to what extent the candidates out there are going to make a difference on the things I care about.' ... Detractors have called the Koch brothers modern-day robber barons whose energy business pollutes the environment and whose political spending represents all that is wrong with money in politics."

Koch admitted to Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus that he and his brother are especially terrified of Bernie Sanders. You get the idea that a Hillary presidency, although far from desired by the plutocratic brothers, isn't going to be looked at as the end of the world for them. It really does all come down to taxes, for the Kochs, for the Adelsons, and almost all the billionaires underwriting the campaigns of the GOP extremists. When Zach Carter exposed how the new budget deal mandates the very rich to pay a bit more... well, it is exactly the kind of thing the billionaires do not want to hear. "Boehner may be reluctant to acknowledge it," wrote Carter, "the latest budget deal between Congress and the White House includes a provision that will require wealthy Americans to turn over more money to the IRS... The proposed deal is expected to generate $11 billion in new federal revenue from what both sides are calling "tax compliance" measures, including $9 billion from new auditing standards for hedge funds, law firms and other business partnerships. In plain English, that means the IRS is going to be getting more money by improving its tax collection policies for rich people." There was some grumbling about that during last night's CNBC Republican debate. One of the crazy people on the stage-- Cruz, I think-- vowed to abolish the IRS, to the cheers of the Republican faithful in the audience.

Raising taxes on the rich-- forcing them to pay their fair share-- is at the heart of every single political policy dispute. Conservatives (i.e., all Republicans and the New Dem/Blue Dog Republican wing of the Democratic Party) represent the interests of the wealthy and oppose raising taxes on their benefactors and progressives have come to understand that there is virtually no other way to deliver on the promise of even the barest modicum of social and economic equality. The billionaire class is funding the candidates-- whether Jeb, Rubio, Clinton, Cruz-- who will conserve and expand their place-- and their future generations' place-- at the top of the food chain.

A couple of days ago, Jesse Drucker, writing for Bloomberg, pointed out that the top 100 CEO retirement savings vehicles equals that of 41% of American families. That's what Bernie is talking about when he rails against economic inequality.
The retirement savings accumulated by just 100 chief executives are equal to the entire retirement accounts of 41 percent of U.S. familie -- or more than 116 million people, a new study finds... the 100 largest chief executive retirement funds are worth an average of about $49.3 million per executive, or a combined $4.9 billion. David C. Novak, the recently departed chief executive officer of Yum! Brands Inc., is at the top of the list, with total retirement savings of $234.2 million... Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, used to offer pensions to most workers but eliminated that option for employees who joined after 2002, replacing it with 401(k) plans.
Novak is not a huge political player but he helps fund the YUM! Brands PAC which used to give money to Republicans and conservative Democrats but lately only hands out the cash to right-wing Republicans. The last "Democrat" they funded was Oklahoma Blue Dog Dan Boren, now retired but once the most far right Democrat in the House. Somehow YUM! and Novak never got around to contributing to Bernie Sanders. How about you?

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At 9:02 PM, Blogger tamtam said...

True to their gangster characters, the young Koch brothers in that picture look like they're out to fuck somebody up.

At 1:01 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Look what else those bad boys are doing.


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