John Oliver had a fantastic bit on taxes, and I meant to post it on April 15th. I forgot, somehow, but then resolved to post it anyway, albeit a few days late. Now we are well into May, and I realize that I completely spaced this post. So even though this post may not have the same punch as it does on tax day, when we lament the amount of money that we have to pay to fund Trump’s increased security needs or Jeff Sessions’ quixotic renewal of the absurd “war on drugs,” it’s still worth taking a look.
Quite the fascinating article today by Chris Hughes, one of the group of plucky young Harvard students who founded Facebook. In response to the recent Facebook fracas, Hughes suggests not merely that we regulate Big Data companies like Facebook but that we find a way to share the revenue with the pubic, with the users. Here’s how Hughes puts it: “the principle underlying it should be clear: companies that benefit from the data we voluntarily provide should be required to protect it and to share that wealth with the people who made it possible.”
Elizabeth Warren was an accomplished scholar and law professor before she got pissed off enough to run for the Senate. In 2012, she became the first female Senator from the state of Massachusetts. The video posted below went viral, in 2011, and helped launch Warren’s campaign. It also gained her a great deal of respect among progressives. “There is no one in this country who got rich on his own” ~ Elizabeth Warren
As Trump and his cronies are busy rolling back environmental regulations, many are appalled and up in arms, shocked by the audacity! But I’m a socialist, so I’m one of the few Americans who are not really surprised. We’re just watching capitalism at work. And in truth, it’s always been that way, it’s just that now Trump & Co. are too brazen and/or too stupid to hide it. In a sense, I suppose, they are doing us all a favor by making it all very obvious. One recent example of all of this is that mining companies no longer have to promise to clean up their messes. #thankscapitalism
Armed with a massive bill that no one took the time to read — a bill filled with last minute scrawls and scribbles in the margins and with pages crossed out with a ball point pen — Republicans passed a tax bill that will put us at least a trillion dollars in debt. Woohoo! #thankscapitalism Here are 5 quick thoughts:
Even the rich don’t want the tax cuts, and I’m not just talking about that good ole, salt-of-the-earth Omaha billionaire Warren Buffet, who has been preaching against tax cuts (and wealth inequaliy) for at least a decade or so. Now other billionaires are “coming out.” Eric Schoenberg is one of them. “I pay a lower tax rate than you do, which is startling” “To illustrate this problem, Schoenberg posted portions of his returns online. He wanted to show how much he, a very wealthy person, benefits from our system. He has always benefited from low taxation on his investment income, for instance.” From Meet The New Class Traitors
I’ve reviewed (and highly recommend) 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang, but I’ve always meant to do more blogging on the details. For one thing, the layout of Chang’s book is such that it is conducive to blogging. Taking it bit by bit is also useful for digesting the (ridiculous) mythologies that surround the religion of capitalism. There is such a staunch reverence for capitalism that it’s helpful to take it in small bites. Perhaps the greatest myth about capitalism is the idea that capitalism is a form of free market economics. We are told that markets should be free, that real capitalism is about a truly free market, and if we want to practice pure capitalism and good economics, then we will make the market free, truly free, because free markets make everything fair, gives everyone a chance, makes everything a level playing field. There’s just one thing, one little problem here. There is no such thing as a free market. And actually that’s a pretty big thing, and in …