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Thu Oct 4, 2018, 09:20 AM

The Times' Trump Expose Is a Compelling Case for Class War

From NYMag here: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/10/the-new-york-times-trump-taxes-wealth-investigation-is-a-compelling-case-for-class-war.html

In the summer of 2012, Barack Obama informed America’s capitalists that they were not the sole authors of their success. “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” the president explained. “Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The internet didn’t get invented on its own — government research created the internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet.”

The Republican donor class recoiled in horror at this declaration of “class war.” In fact, Obama’s suggestion that the Mitt Romneys of the world hadn’t built their fortunes off gumption, alone — but rather owed some portion of their wealth to the existence of publicly financed infrastructure, technology, schools, and law enforcement — struck Paul Ryan’s party as so manifestly outrageous and out-of-touch, they made a refutation of it the centerpiece of their national convention.

Four years later, the GOP’s billionaire standard-bearer developed a (characteristically) narcissistic variation on Romney’s mantra, telling crowds, over and over again, “I built what I built myself.” On Monday, the New York Times revealed that this wasn’t just false in the Obamanian, “actually, social institutions made your entrepreneurial triumphs possible” sense, but in a much more literal one: Donald Trump “built what he built” with $413 million of his father’s money — much of which Fred Trump effectively stole from the federal Treasury.

That said, no small amount of the one percent’s wealth is unearned and ill-gotten in the most colloquial, uncontroversial sense. In the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, America’s one-percenters reported an average inheritance of $1.47 million. And that figure is based on solely on how much one percenters admit to inheriting — which, if Trump is any guide, is likely orders of magnitude less than they actually inherited. Meanwhile, Trump is hardly the only fat cat in the U.S. who’s been dining out on the Treasury Department’s rightful dimes. Thanks in no small part to the congressional GOP’s tireless efforts to defund the IRS’s enforcement operations, American business owners evade roughly $125 billion in taxes each year — enough revenue to finance, for example, universal public day care and a child allowance large enough to lift 3.2 million American kids out of poverty. And wealthy individuals evade even more. As of 2013, the global superrich were storing between $21 trillion and $32 trillion worth of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, according to a study authored by James Henry, the former chief economist at McKinsey & Co.


Eat the rich!

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