Nick Hanauer, a successful capitalist, on why inequality is bad and taxes on the rich are good for job creation:
Advancing democratic alternatives to oligarchy:
Extreme inequality undermines democracy, the economy, public health and culture. Concentrated wealth translates into political power to further shape elections, legislative priorities and rules in favor of global corporations and the already wealthy. This in turn leads to the kind of economic distortions that caused the 2008 financial collapse. In the lead up to the collapse, the bottom 70 percent of the U.S. population responded to stagnant wages by borrowing beyond their means, while the top 1 percent engaged in reckless speculation on highly rated but essentially worthless securities in financial markets freed from essential regulation and public oversight.
Chris Parker writes in the Village Voice:
From 2008 to 2010, at least 30 Fortune 500 companies—including PepsiCo, Verizon, Wells Fargo, and DuPont—paid more for lobbyists than they did in taxes. They collectively spent $476 million sucking up to Congress, buying protection for tax breaks, loopholes, and special subsidies.
It didn’t matter that these same 30 firms brought home a staggering $164 billion in profit during that three-year period. They not only managed to avoid paying taxes, but they also actually received $10.6 billion in rebates.
Welcome to the U.S. tax code, where companies like General Electric and Boeing contribute less to the federal treasury than a retired machinist living in Florida.
Check out his top ten corporate tax loopholes here.
Mattea Kramer of the National Priorities Project writes:
Ironically, those in Washington arguing for urgent deficit reduction claim that we’ve got to do it “for the kids,” that we must stop saddling our grandchildren with mountains of federal debt. But if your child turns 18 and finds her government running a balanced budget in an America that’s hollowed out, an America where she has no chance of paying for a college education, will she celebrate?
Read her guide to what’s missing from the presidential debates here.
James Henry, author of “The Price of Offshore,” interviewed by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman:
In “Capitalism Unmasked,” Econ4′s joint project with AlterNet, Paul Davidson tours a fairytale world:
Conservative economists and their friends like to trot out a mythical being whenever they want to make arguments that favor an economy built for the wealthy at the expense of ordinary people. This imaginary being, known as the Confidence Fairy, is only happy when capitalists are given free rein to do whatever they want even if it brings us to the brink of a global economic meltdown.
Read his essay here.
Jerry Friedman recounts the gripping story of the greatest heist ever in the first installment of “Capitalism Unmasked,” Econ4’s joint project with AlterNet:
Elites say that we need inequality to encourage the rich to invest and the creative to invent. That’s working out well — for 1% pooches.
Read all about it here.
Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz defines rent-seeking as “using political and economic power to get a larger share of the national pie, rather than to grow the national pie” – and he says that America today has become a rent-seeking society. Hear him interviewed here (the 7:40-8:55 interval for the rent-seeking passage), discussing on his new book, The Price of Inequality.
Something funny happened when millionaire Nick Hanauer’s was invited to give a TED talk on income inequality in America. He advocated higher taxes on the rich – including people like himself. Then the good people at TED decided his talk was too “political.” They decided not to post it. Here’s an excerpt from Hanauer’s non-talk:
We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.
Read the full text of Hanauer’s non-talk here.
See his powerpoint slides here.
Read the backstory here.