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Milt Priggee | Trickle Up Fact / politicalcartoons.com

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Let's Think Big: The Tax Reform We Need

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  • Here's how we could raise more money from those who have the most and invest it social insurance, public investments, and safety nets that would make the vast majority of Americans richer.
  • Related: Series | The Facts on Tax Reform, Parts 1-3

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20icon.jpg Democracy Editor's Note: In the wake of the Republicans’ passage of their tax plan in both houses of Congress, we decided to ask a number of progressive policy experts and thinkers a simple question: When the day comes that the Democrats have control of the White House and Congress, what kind of major tax reform should they pass and why?

We started this project in early December and will post a series of such pieces in the coming weeks. Click here to read the rest of the essays from our series on “The Tax Reform of Our Dreams.” Today, Thea Lee, the incoming president of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and Hunter Blair, EPI’s budget analyst, weigh in.

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Thea Lee and Hunter Blair, Democracy / Portside 

December 15, 2017 | Progressive tax reform needs to raise enough revenue to honor our current commitments to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other social insurance programs, as well as to finance expanded public investments and income supports that ensure opportunityfor all. Rising inequality and the threat of “secular stagnation” make a solid foundation for the case that this revenue should be raised progressively, as taxing wealthy households with large savings does not drag heavily on growth of aggregate demand. Net tax cuts for high-income households and corporations won’t help our demand problem.

A number of specific progressive measures are available that can raise revenue, many of them included in recent years’ editions of the budget proposalsforwarded by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), with some technical assistance from the Economic Policy Institute. They can largely be grouped into four (often overlapping) buckets: broadening the tax base, enacting more and higher top marginal rates, taxing capital and wealth, and taxing economic “bads.”

Thea Lee is the incoming president of the Economic Policy InstituteHunter Blair is the Economic Policy Institute’s budget analyst.

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I’m a Depression historian. The GOP tax bill is straight out of 1929.

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People gather on the subtreasury building steps across from the New York Stock Exchange in New York on “Black Thursday” on Oct. 24, 1929. The Great Depression followed thereafter. (AP)

  • Republicans are again sprinting toward an economic cliff.
  • The plain fact that the trickle-down approach has never worked leaves Republicans unfazed.
  • Related: Revolution Ahead for U.S. if GOP Tax Plan Rigged for the Rich Is Not Defeated.

Robert S. McElvaine, Washington (DC) Post

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November 30, 2017 | “There are two ideas of government,” William Jennings Bryan declared in his 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech. “There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.”

That was more than three decades before the collapse of the economy in 1929. The crash followed a decade of Republican control of the federal government during which trickle-down policies, including massive tax cuts for the rich, produced the greatest concentration of income in the accounts of the richest 0.01 percent at any time between World War I and 2007 (when trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the hyper-rich, and deregulation again resulted in another economic collapse).

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://s3.amazonaws.com/arc-authors/washpost/8535294b-0c76-44f2-9f6b-a046ff957ffc.png&w=80&h=80&t=20170517a Historian Robert S. McElvaine teaches at Millsaps College. He is the author of "The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941" and currently at work on a novel.

 

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Revolution Ahead for U.S. if GOP Tax Plan Rigged for the Rich Is Not Defeated, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • Part 1: Huge Human Inequality Study Hints Revolution is in Store for U.S.
  • Every society has a tipping point.
  • Part 2: How to Stop a Tax Plan Rigged for the Rich
  • Average Americans today face political elites hellbent on a tax ‘reform’ that funnels new fortunes to the already fortunate.

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Revolution Ahead for U.S. if GOP Tax Plan Rigged for the Rich Is Not Defeated.

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  • Part 1: Huge Human Inequality Study Hints Revolution is in Store for U.S.
    • Every society has a tipping point.
  • Part 2: How to Stop a Tax Plan Rigged for the Rich
    • Average Americans today face political elites hellbent on a tax ‘reform’ that funnels new fortunes to the already fortunate.

 

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Huge Human Inequality Study Hints Revolution is in Store for U.S.

Every society has a tipping point.

Yasmin Tayag, Inverse Science

https://fsmedia.imgix.net/8f/c9/d5/4b/44ff/4bbf/b481/c6b58544f62b/a-recent-credit-suisse-report-shows-that-the-richest-1-percent-of-humanity-owns-half-the-worlds-wea.jpeg?auto=format%2Ccompress&w=700 A recent Credit Suisse report shows that the richest 1 percent of humanity owns half the world's wealth.

November 15, 2017 | There’s a common thread tying together the most disruptive revolutions of human history, and it has some scientists worried about the United States. In those revolutions, conflict largely boiled down to pervasive economic inequality. On Wednesday, a study in Nature, showing how and when those first divisions between rich and poor began, suggests not only that history has always repeated itself but also that it’s bound to do so again — and perhaps sooner than we think.

In the largest study of its kind, a team of scientists from Washington State University and 13 other institutions examined the factors leading to economic inequality throughout all of human history and noticed some worrying trends. Using a well-established score of inequality called the Gini coefficient, which gives perfect, egalitarian societies a score of 0 and high-inequality societies a 1, they showed that civilization tends to move toward inequality as some people gain the means to make others relatively poor — and employ it. Coupled with what researchers already know about inequality leading to social instability, the study does not bode well for the state of the world today.

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Yasmin%20Tayag%2C%20Inverse%20Science.jpgYasmin Tayag is a writer and former biologist living in New York. A Toronto girl at heart, her writing also appears in The Last Magazine and SciArt in America. You might recognize her as a past host of Scientific American's YouTube series.

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Part 2: How to Stop a Tax Plan Rigged for the Rich

Average Americans today face political elites hellbent on a tax ‘reform’ that funnels new fortunes to the already fortunate. Back in 1932, average Americans faced the same scenario — and dealt their political elites a history-shifting defeat.

Sam Pizzigati, Inequality 

http://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/images/story/everything-is-rigged-the-biggest-financial-scandal-yet-20130425/1000x600/20130423-national-affairs-600-1366749334.jpg Illustration by Victor Juhasz

November 24, 2017 | The Earth doesn’t quite shake when lawmakers in Washington, D.C. take one of their periodic votes on tax “reform.” But sometimes history does turn, and this coming week’s expected vote on the Senate version of the GOP tax plan could be one of those rare times that history actually turns for the better.

Indeed, this year’s situation bears a remarkable resemblance to the epic tax battle of 1932, a largely forgotten struggle that set the stage for an entire generation of increasing equality. Could this history repeat? It certainly is already echoing.

Sam Pizzigati co-edits Inequality.org. Interested in digging deeper into the 20th-century struggles that toppled America’s original Gilded Age? Check his 2012 book, The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970.

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To many, America’s racial wealth gap remains invisible.

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  • Economic progress has been agonizingly slow for black Americans — but many whites don’t see it that way
  • Related: The Road to Charlottesville: Reflections on 21st Century U.S. Capitalist Racism

Chauncey DeVega, Salon

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09.21.2017 | In 1992, Andrew Hacker described the state of race relations in America as "separate, hostile, unequal." He could have easily added "delusional" and "confused." 25 years later, such a description remains all too accurate.

New research from Yale University psychologists Jennifer Richeson and Michael Kraus demonstrates how many white and black Americans possess radically different perceptions -- and lived experiences -- on the economy, wealth and income.

Chauncey DeVega is a politics staff writer for Salon.

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Related:

Paul Street | The Road to Charlottesville: Reflections on 21st Century U.S. Capitalist Racism, Paul Street, Counterpunch / Dandelion Salad 

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  • Can reparations, and the demand for a shift to an ecologically sustainable economy and society be introduced under the existing U.S. regime of class rule called capitalism? It must therefore be considered a revolutionary demand and be combined with multi-racial working-class struggle to remove the “One Percent” not just from its wealth but also and above all from its command of the structuring and purpose of “our” (their) political economy. It must be interwoven with the struggle for the broad redistribution of wealth and power and for peoples’ socialism. This is very different from the reactionary, “divisive,” and zero-sum way in which reparations is advanced by its bourgeois champions both white and Black.
  • Related: To Defeat Racism, We All Need to Dismantle Racial Capitalism

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