“The question of our time is this: will we tolerate it? Or will we take back our democracy from the oligarchs who run this country?”
For the first time in U.S. history, the 400 wealthiest Americans paid less in taxes last year than people in any other income group, thanks to decades of tax cuts and loopholes benefiting the rich.
A year after the Republican tax plan—often called the #GOPTaxScam by critics—was passed into law, the richest people in the country were subject to a 23 percent rate in local, state, and federal taxes.
As New York Times columnist David Leonhardt showed Sunday in a graphic accompanying his op-ed, “The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You,” the tax rate wealthy Americans are forced to pay has plummeted over the last seven decades while middle-income households have paid roughly the same share of their incomes each year.
Watch how radically taxes on the wealthy have fallen over the past 70 years:
— David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt) October 7, 2019
In 1950, rich Americans paid 70 percent of their income in taxes—a system that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has suggested returning to, drawing derision from conservatives. By 1980, the 400 wealthiest people paid 47 percent of their incomes in taxes.
Leonhardt called the trend “maddening.”
“Inequality is driven by policy choices, not some inherent laws of nature.” —Don Moynihan, Georgetown University“Over the last 75 years the United States tax system has become radically less progressive,” Leonhardt wrote.
The op-ed also refers to the fact that billionaire Warren Buffett was dismissed by economists and journalists in 2012 when he said his secretary paid a larger share of her income in taxes than he had to pay.
Office workers who pay a greater share of their earnings to contribute to services for the greater good than the wealthy CEOs of their companies pay are “the norm now,” Leonhardt wrote.
The op-ed was praised by critics of the U.S. economic system, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“The question of our time is this: will we tolerate it?” tweeted the 2020 presidential candidate. “Or will we take back our democracy from the oligarchs who run this country?”
We now know the richest 400 Americans have rigged the system to pay lower taxes than everyone else in the country.
The question of our time is this: will we tolerate it? Or will we take back our democracy from the oligarchs who run this country? https://t.co/wn4DbztrTA
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 7, 2019
Leonhardt and other observers noted that the debate over whether to force wealthy Americans to pay their fair share versus protecting their wealth at all costs is centuries old, and those arguing for the former have triumphed in the past.
“Inequality is driven by policy choices, not some inherent laws of nature,” tweeted Don Moynihan, a professor at Georgetown University.
Want to understand US inequality?
In 1950 the overall tax rate for the richest 400 households: 70%
Middle and low income households rates did not change, now higher than the richest.
Inequality is driven by policy choices, not some inherent laws of nature. https://t.co/WspshykT4U
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) October 7, 2019
Others wrote that the increasingly regressive tax system explains a variety of issues facing today’s working families.
Why aren’t the subways functional? Why is college so expensive? Why is your health insurance premium so high? Why don’t you have a pension? This is the answer. https://t.co/TlMliOHlwt
— Sam Biederman (@Biedersam) October 7, 2019
What a crazy coincidence that carbon emissions have exploded over the same period that the wealthy have been allowed to hoard more and more wealth wonder if there might be a connection there https://t.co/UirCMjiUlG
— Kate Aronoff (@KateAronoff) October 7, 2019
On the same day Leonhardt published his op-ed, CNBC released a report claiming millennials are “stingy” and are to blame for a sluggish economy.
In the opening paragraph, Pippa Stevens suggested both that millennials spend too much money on avocado toast and that they save too much of their income:
Millennials—the selfie obsessed, avocado toast-loving generation—might be behind slower economic growth, according to a research note last week from Raymond James. This new generation, scarred by the financial crisis, is saving more than the free-spending boomers did before them, and it’s causing an economic imbalance.
“Hm. There’s also a theory that the 400 wealthiest people in America paid less taxes this year than ever in history,” tweeted one critic.
Ocasio-Cortez corrected CNBC, writing that millennials are “Not stingy. Broke.”
Not stingy. Broke.
And low wages, poor work standards, high cost of living, & a runaway student loan crisis have everything to do with it. https://t.co/rmSaALnQkZ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 7, 2019
Instead of blaming young Americans for a slowing economy, tweeted Disney executive John Drake, “Why don’t the 400 wealthiest people in the U.S. (who received a giant tax cut) stimulate the economy through spending?”
This is a wack take and a gross tee up.
Why don’t the 400 wealthiest people in the US (who received a giant tax cut) stimulate the economy through spending?
It’s comical to blame millenials for all the problems you caused. Yeesh! https://t.co/wu6WrbcBxu
— johntdrake (@johntdrake) October 7, 2019
Fox News hosts blasted for ‘cherry-picking’ IG report to spin it as a win for Trump: ‘They owe us an apology’
On Tuesday morning, CNN host Alisyn Camerota dropped the hammer on Fox News for spinning the Justice Department inspector general report that absolved the department of any conspiracy against Donald Trump, instead saying that it was an indictment of the department.
Joined by CNN contributor, ex-Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and CNN host Brian Stelter, Camerota shared Fox clips from Monday night featuring hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham and marveled at the obvious lies.
"Let's go back to reality-world instead of upside-down world right now," host Camerota smirked after rolling the clips, "which is what we just played a montage of. Charlie, when you hear, you know, the talking points from obviously the Trump cheerleaders as well as some of your former Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill, do they -- when Hannity says everything we've been reporting for years has been dead on accurate, we were right every step of the way, and the report completely negates that, do they believe that? Why are they saying that?"
Did Trump just signal he may fire ‘current’ FBI director hours before meeting Russian foreign minister?
President Donald Trump attacked his FBI director hours ahead of his White House meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, and other social media users noticed a big coincidence.
The president turned on Christopher Wray in an early morning Twitter rant after the FBI director broke with Attorney General William Barr and agreed the Justice Department's inspector general had found no evidence of wrongdoing at the start of the Russia probe.
‘Political Madness!’ Trump melts down over pending articles of impeachment release
President Donald Trump started off Tuesday morning in a frothy rage -- hours before Democrats were scheduled to release two articles of impeachment.
House Democrats plan to introduce articles of impeachment accusing the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and Trump raged against the constitutional process that's consuming his presidency.
"To Impeach a President who has proven through results, including producing perhaps the strongest economy in our country’s history, to have one of the most successful presidencies ever, and most importantly, who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness!#2020Election," Trump tweeted.