Posts by Escapegoat…heirs-call-for-wealth-tax

    ‘We Are Part of the Problem’: Billionaires and Heirs Demand Wealth Tax

    By Tom Metcalf
    and Suzanne Woolley
    June 24, 2019, 5:04 AM PDT Updated on June 24, 2019, 11:08 AM PDT

    They’re an eclectic bunch -- some of the nation’s most privileged heirs alongside entrepreneurs who have made spectacular fortunes in real estate, finance and Silicon Valley. But collectively they’re united on the need to tax more of the richest Americans’ assets.

    George Soros, heiresses to the Pritzker fortune, Abigail Disney and Facebook Inc. co-founder Chris Hughes are among those calling for a wealth tax to help address income inequality and provide funding for climate change and public health initiatives.

    Liesel Pritzker

    Liesel Pritzker Simmons Photographer: Vaughn Ridley/Sportsfile

    “We are writing to call on all candidates for President, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, to support a moderate wealth tax on the fortunes of the richest one-tenth of the richest 1% of Americans -- on us,” according to a letter signed by 19 individuals -- one anonymously -- and posted online Monday. “The next dollar of new tax revenue should come from the most financially fortunate, not from middle-income and lower-income Americans.”

    One of the youngest signers, 35-year-old Liesel Pritzker Simmons, whose extended family is worth more than $33 billion, framed the situation simply: “We are part of the problem, so tax us.”

    Why Taxing the Rich Is Popular But Isn’t Always Easy: QuickTake

    The signers “thought it was important for people who would be affected by a wealth tax to come out publicly and say we want this, this is OK, this leads toward the America we want to see,” she said in a phone interview.

    relates to ‘We Are Part of the Problem’: Billionaires and Heirs Demand Wealth Tax

    The first page of the letter

    In the short term, the group hopes the letter “sparks a debate with the 2020 candidates" and that a wealth tax, or alternatives to one, are discussed during the upcoming Presidential debates, said Pritzker Simmons, who supports Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic nomination. “These are conversations that have been had in the past, but now the time is right,” she said.

    Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, as well as fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke support the idea, according to the letter. Warren has proposed a 2% tax on assets of $50 million or more, and a further 1% on assets over $1 billion. It is estimated to generate nearly $3 trillion in tax revenue over 10 years.

    Read more: Sanders to propose taxing Wall Street to pay off student debts

    Key Speakers At The 2019 Milken Conference

    Abigail Disney Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

    The wealth tax isn’t embraced by all Democrats, though, with some arguing it would be difficult to objectively assess the value of wealth like artwork and jewels or illiquid assets. There are also concerns that such a tax is unconstitutional because the federal government is prohibited from taxing property, only income.

    “If your main argument is that it’s going to be hard, that’s a lazy argument,” Pritzker Simmons said. “We can figure it out.”

    European countries have experienced mixed results with a wealth tax. Of 15 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that had them in 1995, only four -- Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Spain -- still do. France, Sweden and Germany are among those that backed away from the levy because of the difficulties implementing them.

    Some of those signing the letter have already expressed concerns about rising inequality. Hughes has evangelized for higher taxes on the rich in his book “Fair Shot.” Disney, whose grandfather and great-uncle founded Walt Disney Co., recently called Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger’s $65.6 million compensation package “insane.”

    The New York Times reported on the letter earlier Monday.

    Day Three Of The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018

    George Soros Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

    Read more: Meet the Facebook Co-Founder Who Wants to Tax the Rich

    Another signatory, entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, first warned his “fellow zillionaires” about the country’s growing wealth divide in 2014, writing that “there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out.”

    Such inequality has only deepened. Last week, Bernard Arnault joined Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates as the third person with a fortune of at least $100 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, whose 500 members have a total net worth of $5.5 trillion, up from $4.9 trillion two years ago.

    “If we don’t do something like this, what are we doing, just hoarding this wealth in a country that’s falling apart at the seams?” Pritzker Simmons said. “That’s not the America we want to live in.”…ary-members-idUSKCN1TP124

    Democrat O'Rourke proposes 'war tax' on affluent U.S. families without military members

    Tim Reid

    3 MIN READ

    FILE PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke delivers a speech during the SC Democratic Convention in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., June 22, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

    (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Monday proposed taxing affluent American families who do not have members in the U.S. military as a way to fund healthcare for veterans.

    The former congressman from Texas unveiled a plan for military veterans that includes a “war tax,” in which taxpayers who earn over $200,000 a year would pay $1,000 in a new tax for each war embarked on by the United States.

    O’Rourke, who did not serve in the military but sat on the House of Representatives Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees, said the tax would be levied on households without current members of the U.S. military or military veterans. He did not specify what types of war, or the scale and origins of the wars, on which the tax would be levied.

    The money raised from the war tax would be deposited into a newly created Veterans Health Care Trust Fund, which would be created at the start of each new war and be used to support veterans’ healthcare, disability and other medical needs when they return from conflict, O’Rourke said.

    The proposal was part of a broader plan by O’Rourke, who has

    struggled to gain traction in opinion polls among Democratic contenders, to improve services for military veterans. He also urged an end to “wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and reinvestment of the savings in veterans programs.

    The military has about 1.36 million active-duty members out of a total U.S. population of some 327 million people. The country’s armed forces have been all-volunteer since the military draft ended in 1973 as the United States wound down its involvement in the Vietnam War.

    In language borrowed from former Democratic President John F. Kennedy, O’Rourke said Americans must be “willing to pay any price, and bear any burden” to provide care, support and resources to all veterans. He called for ending the “blank check for endless war” waged by the United States and to invest spending on the care of those who had served in armed conflicts.

    O’Rourke, 46, launched his presidential bid in March after rising to national prominence last year when he narrowly lost his bid to defeat Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in Texas. His national support among likely Democratic primary voters is currently around 4 percent.…t-the-press-a8971181.html

    News > World > Americas > US politics


    Trump struggles to explain why Obama’s jobs numbers were better than his

    ‘The whole place was a disaster. And I don’t – I’d never take that away’

    Click to follow

    The Independent US

    Donald Trump has repeatedly struggled to explain why the number of jobs created during his presidency compared unfavourably with the new employment figures under Barack Obama.

    Presented with a chart which depicted the unemployment rate from the peak of the recession, the president was asked to account for slower rate of job creation since he entered the White House.

    In the interview on NBC’s Meet the Press – after Mr Trump had claimed his economy was “great” – Chuck Todd said: “Your economy is great. I’m not saying it’s not great.

    “But this recovery started and in the 28 months that you’ve been president and the last 28 months of Obama’s presidency, he averaged more new jobs than your first 28.”

    Mr Trump initially responded by claiming that Mr Obama started with a “bad base”.

    Trump 2020 launch: Fascist Proud Boys, baby blimps and Uncle Sam

    He was then asked if his jobs numbers were merely a continuation of those under his predecessor.

    Mr Trump said: “Yeah, but Chuck, you have to understand, nobody was working. The whole place was a disaster. And I don’t – I’d never take that away.”

    Mr Trump continued to attempt to explain, he said “But it’s very easy -- because when that turned around they pumped a tremendous amount of money into the economy.

    “He also had a Federal Reserve person who kept the interest rates low. I don’t. I don’t have that privilege.”

    Mr Todd retorted: “Sounds like you do now. Do you feel like you have sent the threat, your threat to demote him, do you think that’s had an impact?”

    The president dismissed suggestions he had threatened to demote Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, which Mr Todd questioned, saying: “There’s been some talk that you might demote him to the number two slot.”

    Mr Trump responded: “Well, I’d be able to do that if I wanted but I haven’t suggested that.

    “No, no, I have the right to do that. But I haven’t said that. What he’s done is $50 billion a month in quantitative tightening. That’s ridiculous. What he’s done is he raised interest rates too fast.”

    Mr Todd then asked the president if he was concerned that the raised interest rates would harm his chances at re-election.

    “I think the economy’s so strong we’re going to pull through it,” Mr Trump said.

    “But I’m not happy with his actions. No, I don’t think he’s done a good job. I think this, if he didn’t raise rates Obama had very low rates. So Obama was playing with funny money. I wasn’t. I’m playing with the real stuff.

    “Obama had somebody that kept the rates very low. I had somebody that raised the rates very rapidly. Too much. He made a mistake.

    “That’s been proven. And yet my economy is phenomenal. We have now the best economy, maybe in the history of our country. One -- just to finish off, when I took over, this country, the economy was ready to collapse. You take a look at the numbers. It was ready to collapse.”

    Mr Todd suggested the numbers indicated the economy was stronger than the president implied, saying: “I just showed you the numbers. It was not ready to collapse.”

    Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

    Mr Trump disagreed: “You showed me unemployment numbers. Excuse me. Take a look at your GDP, take a look at your jobs, take a look at your optimism.

    “Take a look at all of the charts. When I took over from election day on, I mean, you show me one chart which, where I did. Take a look at some of the optimism charts and everything else. It went from 57 to 92. Nobody’s ever seen anything that right after I won.”

    Mr Todd conceded that job optimism was at a higher rate after Mr Trump was elected, but still maintained that his jobs numbers were lower than those of his predecessors.

    Mr Trump replied: “Well, optimism is a big part of success in business.”…-sentencing-a8970791.html

    White supremacist who killed woman after driving car into Charlottesville protesters begs judge to show him ‘mercy’

    Fields kept picture of Adolf Hitler next to his bed

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    The Independent US

    The self-avowed white supremacist who ploughed his car into protesters opposing a far-right rally in Virginia two years ago, killing one person and injuring dozens of others, has asked a judge for mercy and a sentence shorter than life in prison.

    James Alex Fields Jr’s legal team has argued in a new sentencing memo that the 22-year-old defendant should not spend his entire life in prison because of his age, a traumatic childhood and a history of mental illness.

    Fields has pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes in relation to the Charlottesville attack and is set to be sentenced on 28 June.

    “No amount of punishment imposed on James can repair the damage he caused to dozens of innocent people. But this Court should find that retribution has limits,” his attorneys wrote in a court document submitted on Friday.

    Fields’ attorneys said that giving him something less than a life sentence would be akin to an “expression of mercy” and a “conviction that no individual is wholly defined by their worst moments”.

    Charlottesville one year on

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    The attorneys highlighted his difficult upbringing and history of mental illness, but many of the details were redacted. The document did reveal he was raised by a paraplegic single mother and suffered “trauma” by growing up knowing his Jewish grandfather had murdered his grandmother before committing suicide.

    In their own sentencing memo, prosecutors said Fields had shown no remorse since he drove the car into the counter-demonstrators on 12 August, 2017, killing anti-racism activist Heather Heyer and injuring others protesting against the white nationalists.

    They argued that Fields deserves a life sentence, adding that would help deter others from committing “similar acts of domestic terrorism”.

    sei41592901.jpgJames Alex Fields Jr, (L) seen attending the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville prior to arrest (REUTERS)

    Prosecutors focused on years of documented racist and antisemitic behaviour by Fields, which they said included keeping a picture of Adolf Hitler on his bedside table. They also said that he was recorded on a jail phone call making disparaging remarks about Ms Heyer’s mother as recently as last month.

    Read more

    They also argued that while Fields has a history of mental illness issues, it did not excuse his behaviour in a way that would demand a lenient sentence. “Any mental health concerns raised by the defendant do not overcome the defendant’s demonstrated lack of remorse and his prior history of substantial racial animus,” prosecutors wrote.

    Under a plea deal, federal prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty against Fields after he pleaded in March to federal hate crime charges and admitted that he intentionally drove his car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters.

    The charges he pleaded guilty to call for life in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

    In December last year he was convicted in a Virginia court of first-degree murder and other state charges for killing Ms Heyer and injuring others who were protesting. Sentencing on the state charges is scheduled for next month.

    Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

    The 2017 rally drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Hundreds of counter-protesters demonstrated against the white nationalists.

    Donald Trump infamously said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the clashes in the Virginia city.

    Additional reporting by AP

    I'm against fucktards who claim to be capitalists while sucking on the government tit and voting for politicians who sabotage and dismantle the very institutions on which they depend for their survival, thereby guaranteeing that their kids and grandkids will not receive the benefits that they paid for.