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Here’s the biggest untold story about how we pay for government

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- Commentary

The biggest untold story about how we pay for government involves a big switcheroo by America’s wealthy.

Decades ago, wealthy Americans financed the federal government mainly by paying taxes. Their tax rate was far higher than what it is today.

Now, wealthy Americans finance the federal government mainly by lending it money, and collecting interest payments on those loans, profiting when the rest of us pay them back.

Follow the money: As the debt continues to grow, interest payments are becoming huge. Taxpayers could soon be paying more in interest on the federal debt than we spend on the military or on Medicaid.

Interest on the debt is expected to hit $390 billion next year, nearly 50 percent more than in 2017, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Who’s receiving these interest payments? Mostly Americans, not foreigners. And most of these Americans are wealthy investors who park their savings in treasury bonds held by mutual funds, hedge funds, pension funds, banks, insurance companies, personal trusts, and estates.

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The richest 1 percent of Americans now owns 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, which is more wealth than the bottom 90 percent put together.

Which means a big chunk of the growing interest payments American taxpayers make on the federal debt is going to… rich Americans.

Now, keep following the money. One of the biggest reasons the federal debt has exploded is that tax cuts, starting with the Bush administration in 2001 and extending through Trump’s 2017 tax cut, have reduced government revenues by over $5 trillion.

The Trump-Republican tax cut will cause the debt to explode even further. Trump’s own Office of Management and Budget predicts an added $100 billion a year in deficits over the next decade, adding up to $1 trillion of additional debt.

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Keep following the money: Most of the benefits from those tax cuts are going to the wealthy. 65 percent have gone to the richest fifth of Americans, 22 percent to the top 1 percent.

So you see the big switcheroo? The rich used to pay higher taxes to the government. Now, the government pays the rich interest on a swelling debt, caused largely by lower taxes on the rich. Which means a growing portion of everyone else’s taxes are now paying the rich interest on those loans, instead of paying for government services everyone needs.

That’s wrong. America’s wealthy have never been wealthier. They should pay their fair share of taxes. The big switcheroo should be reversed.

This article was originally published at RobertReich.org

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Here’s how Trump’s latest comments dredge up his nasty treatment of John McCain

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Speaking to the Faith and Freedom Coalition on Wednesday, President Donald Trump once again made comments revealing he has little interest in treading sensitively around his feud with the late Sen. John McCain.

He lamented that fact that, during his first two years as president, he struggled to get the votes he wanted for his agenda because he only had 51 (initially 52) Republicans in the Senate.

"And sometimes, you know, they had a little hard time with a couple of them, right?" Trump added, referring to GOP senators who didn't bow to his will. “Fortunately they’re gone now. They have gone on to greener pastures. Or perhaps far-less-green pastures. But they are gone. They are gone ... I’m very happy they are gone.”

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2020 Election

How the GOP is embracing more ruthless power grabs in the face of huge political challenges

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On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases highlighting the collision between partisan power grabs and setting the ground rules for two of the most important elections in America—those for U.S. House and state legislative chambers.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

One ruling concerns whether the Trump administration can add a question to the 2020 census that asks if anyone residing in that address is not a U.S. citizen. The other concerns whether hyper-partisanship is unconstitutional when state legislatures run by a single party draw electoral districts to maximize their party’s likelihood of winning elections.

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Eric Trump offers a totally bogus reason for why he was spit on in a restaurant

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Eric Trump says he was spit on by an employee at Aviary, a high-end Chicago cocktail bar, on Tuesday night. The employee was briefly taken into Secret Service custody and then released.

This article was originally published at Salon

In an interview with Breitbart News, Trump said it was “a purely disgusting act by someone who clearly has emotional problems.”

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