“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
The View hosts shudder at creepy-crawly accounts of bedbugs at Trump’s club hosting G7
President Donald Trump awarded a government contract to his struggling Florida resort to host next year's G7 summit, and "The View" co-hosts cringed at accounts of the club's bedbug infestation.
The White House insists the president won't make money off the deal, but whatever free advertising he's getting from the most likely unconstitutional venture is being undercut by reminders of a settlement Trump Organization reached with a guest who was bitten by bedbugs.
Clinton drops a stunning claim: Russia is grooming a 2020 Democrat to launch third-party presidential run
Hillary Clinton just dropped a bombshell. The former 2016 Democratic presidential nominee who won the popular vote by close to 3 million more votes than the current president is accusing Russia of grooming a current 2020 Democrat, specifically a woman, to launch a third party run for the White House – to ensure Donald Trump wins re-election.
Russia knows they “they can’t win without a third-party candidate,” Clinton told David Plouffe on his podcast Campaign HQ, as Mediaite reports.
Kellyanne Conway accused of violating Hatch Act at least 50 times this year — on Twitter alone
According to a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has "surpassed 50 violations of the Hatch Act on Twitter alone this past year."
Explaining the numbers, the report states, "CREW’s report on Conway’s continued violations outlines five categories of tweets that violate the Hatch Act: attacking or mocking Democratic presidential candidates, attacking the Democratic Party, promoting President Trump's re-election, promoting the Republican Party, and attacking President Trump's political adversaries. Conway has multiple violations in each category," before noting that Twitter's Terms of Service indicates one of Trump's closest aides is in violation and should have her account suspended.