Tag Archives: Oligarchy

A government shutdown for Christmas? (Updated)

Tea-Publicans return to Congress today facing a packed agenda with little time to enact it, as GOP leaders aim to quickly pass their “tax cuts for corporations and plutocrats” bill, and then turn to a budget deal with Democrats before midnight on Friday to avert a government shutdown. GOP faces 5-day scramble to pass tax bill, avoid government shutdown:

Republicans’ tight timing on taxes is self-imposed. GOP lawmakers have for months been racing to meet President Trump’s demand that they send him tax legislation before Christmas — a timeline that gained new urgency when Alabama Democrat Doug Jones won the Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Luther Strange (R).

GOP leaders hope to hold tax votes early in the week before moving to the budget bill. They need Democrats’ help to pass the budget measure through the Senate, and thus far they have made little progress bringing them aboard amid disagreements over spending levels, protection from deportation for certain undocumented immigrants (DACA) and a federal health insurance program for low-income children (CHIP).

The outcome of the tax votes, however, appears certain after Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.) on Friday pledged their support. The two gave the GOP the Senate votes to pass the bill, even as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, returned to Arizona on Sunday. He is not expected to vote on the final bill.

The tax measure’s passage would mark the first major legislative “accomplishment” — defined as actually passing a bill, a low bar — for Trump and GOP leaders in a year of stumbles, the products of months of negotiations and late adjustments aimed at winning over the last holdouts.

It’s only an “accomplishment” for the oligarchy, not the American people:

Congress’ nonpartisan tax analysts, joining several other nonpartisan assessments, concluded that the bulk of the bill’s benefits would go to the wealthy and corporations. Those analyses have also projected that the cuts will produce far less economic growth than Trump and administration officials are promising.

Continue reading

2018 World Inequality Report: inequality in U.S. is a result of deliberate policy decisions (updated)

Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post reports, U.S. lawmakers are redistributing income from the poor to the rich, according to massive new study:

Back in 1980, the bottom 50 percent of wage-earners in the United States earned about 21 percent of all income in the country — nearly twice as much as the share of income (11 percent) earned by the top 1 percent of Americans.

But today, according to a massive new study on global inequality, those numbers have nearly reversed: The bottom 50 percent take in only 13 percent of the income pie, while the top 1 percent grab over 20 percent of the country’s income.

Since 1980, in other words, the U.S. economy has transferred eight points of national income from the bottom 50 percent to the top 1 percent.

That trend is even more remarkable when you set it against comparable numbers for wealthy nations in Western Europe. There, the bottom 50 percent earn nearly 22 percent of the income in those economies, while the top 1 percent take in just over 12 percent of the money.

Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 5.27.33 AM

The income situation in Western Europe today, in other words, is similar to how things were in the United States nearly 40 years ago.

The 2018 World Inequality Report, written by a team of leading international economists including Thomas Piketty of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” fame, finds that the rise of income inequality in the United States is “largely due to massive educational inequalities, combined with a tax system that grew less progressive despite a surge in top labor compensation since the 1980s, and in top capital incomes in the 2000s.”

Since the 1970s the price of higher education has skyrocketed, putting the price of tuition out of reach for many low-income students. Over the same time, the tax code became more generous to the wealthiest Americans — the top marginal income-tax rate fell from 70 percent in 1980 to 39.6 percent in 2017, taxes on capital gains fell by more than half from the mid-1970s to the mid-2000s, and the estate tax has fallen as well.

Those changes have made it easier for high-income Americans to grab more and more of the income pie in any given year.

Continue reading

Senate passes GOP tax bill for the Oligarchy

While you were sleeping, the Senate passed the Senate GOP tax bill in the wee hours of Saturday morning on a party line vote of 51-49, with only Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who is retiring, having the courage of his convictions to vote no. Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory:

Vice President Pence presided over the final passage vote. GOP senators, who stayed on the Senate floor until the vote closed after midnight, broke out into applause after Pence announced the bill had passed.

“This is a great day for the country,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said during a 2 a.m. press conference after the vote.

The headline from The Hill above is typical of the headlines appearing in other media today: a “major GOP victory.” The media makes it appear as if this bill has been enacted and awaits president Trump’s signature. This is reminiscent of president Trump and House Tea-Publicans kegger party at the White House after the House voted to repeal “Obamacare,” only to see it defeated in the Senate.

The Senate GOP tax bill could be voted upon by the House without any amendments, but that is highly unlikely because it contains provisions which are opposed by the radical GOP House Freedom Caucus. This bill is headed to a conference committee where the Senate and House versions of the bill will be reconciled into a conformed bill which both chambers must pass. There is still a chance that this terrible tax bill can be defeated in the next round.

And I would point out to the media that this was a “major victory” for millionaire and billionaire GOP campaign donors, because they are the ones who demanded this terrible tax bill in exchange for their campaign donations and they are the only ones who will ultimately benefit from the GOP tax bill in the end. The U.S. government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful. Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy. And the lickspittle GOP servants of corporations and plutocrats who voted for this bill? Millionaires’ Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus. They voted to benefit themselves as well, the American people who elected them be damned.

Continue reading