By Paul Street for Truthdig. Two things are clear going forward. First, progressives hoping to defeat Trump and Trumpism will need to drive a class wedge between the new administration’s big basket of deplorable, super-wealthy plutocrats and the president’s conservative WWC base. Second, Trump is going to provide a lot of ammunition for that wedge-building task with policies that mock his posture as some kind of great white working-class hero. It is distressing that candidate Trump got away with taking that populist pose in the first place. Born to significant real estate wealth, Trump owed his rise to hyper-opulence “to his relentless manipulation of the corporate-controlled media market … to increase the market value of his name, which he then licensed to be sold. … The result,” author Mike Lofgren notes, “was Trump resorts, Trump steaks, even Trump dietary supplements retailed through multilevel marketing, the polite biz school euphemism for a pyramid scheme. As for Trump University, the principal lesson it imparted … was how to avoid being victimized by such scams in the future. … Such is Donald Trump, friend of the working class.”
By Joanna Walters for The Guardian – The new president has driven some to make a statement with their bank accounts – despite fears such a protest could send demonstrators to jail. Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, Donald Trumpis the dealbreaker. He’ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration. Newman is not alone. A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance – last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries. “My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people.
By Grant Stern for Occupy Democrats – The State of California’s elected officials are exploring ways to combat President Trump’s Executive Order cutting off funding to sanctuary cities. National legal experts say that Trump’s sanctuary cities order is unconstitutional because, at its core, the order is an attempt to commandeer state and local officials in violation of the 10th Amendment. California’s Democratic leaders believe there are numerous federal programs receiving state funds as well, which they will seek to cut, to make up for anything Republicans siphon out of their budgets. San Francisco’s CBS affiliate reports that the federal government only spends 78 cents in California for every tax dollar sent from that state to Washington…
By Staff for the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, Tax refusal has a long history in the U.S., from the Boston Tea Party, to Thoreau’s refusal of the poll tax collected for the Mexican-American War, to widely practiced tax resistance during the Vietnam War. Refusal to pay taxes for war has been continually practiced since World War II, at times by only small groups of pacifists; at other times, such as before and since the invasion of Iraq, by thousands opposed to war. Today the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) calls on U.S. taxpayers to reinvigorate this form of resistance in order to challenge federal policies, spending priorities, and actions. We oppose Trump administration plans to boost the Pentagon budget and cut social spending. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (border and immigration control, and the 1033 program that sends military weapons to local police forces) and the Energy Department (nuclear weapons), among other agencies, are major parts of the military budget.
By David Cay Johnston for The Washington Spectator – Millions of voters believe putting Donald Trump in the White House will lift them out of the economic hell they have endured for decades, working more and getting nowhere except deeper in debt. They could not be more wrong. Their concerns are real. The latest income tax data show that in 2014 the average income reported by the bottom 90 percent was just $328 higher than in 1967. That’s an increase of 1 percent more than inflation after 47 years, not that anyone would notice such a trifling change. But Trump’s own words show that he thinks the working-class Americans who have invested their hopes and perhaps votes in him earn too much.
By Josh Hoxie for Inequality.org – At the end of Thomas Piketty’s 2013 blockbuster Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the French economist makes a compelling case for a global wealth tax. Levying a tax on wealth, Piketty explains, would be a preferable alternative to global war or economic calamity, the only other drivers for a significant redistribution of wealth he could find in the historical record. A global tax on wealth back in 2013 sounded quaint to many seasoned wealth researchers, a nice idea but something destined to go nowhere. The election of Donald J. Trump seemed to only confirm this political assessment.
By Kim Brown for The Real News Network. During the past week, protests took place throughout Mexico in reaction to a 20% price increase for gasoline. The protests have so far resulted in four deaths and the arrests of over 700 people. Also, over 300 stores are said to have been looted throughout the country. The gasoline price increase is part of a plan by President Enrique Peña Nieto to eliminate subsidies in the wake of the partial privatization of the country’s oil industry. On Wednesday, President Peña Nieto vowed to continue with the price increases despite the protests. Well, joining us today from Mexico City to analyze the situation in Mexico, we’re joined by John Ackerman. John is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist with both La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.
By Tahir Nasser for RNS – Piketty “proves” that the more one’s income derives from wealth than from wages, the richer one becomes, faster. Specifically, he showed that the yearly rate of return on wealth (think houses, land, gold, etc.) usually exceeds the yearly increase in wages, known as the growth rate. The inter-generational consequence, says Piketty, is that “people with inherited wealth need save only a portion of their income from capital to see that capital grow more quickly than the economy as a whole,” making it “almost inevitable that inherited wealth will dominate wealth amassed from a lifetime’s labor by a wide margin.”
By Sam Pizzigati for Inequality – We don’t know exactly how much Donald Trump paid in taxes last year. He hasn’t released his 2015 federal income tax return yet. He most likely never will. But let’s keep in mind that we don’t actually know how much any individual American billionaire paid in taxes last year, with just one exception. Investor Warren Buffett last month released his own basic tax info as a protest of sorts against candidate Trump.
By Frank Clemente for Inequality – On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised the biggest tax cuts since the Reagan era and proposed reforms that would drastically increase our country’s already extreme levels of inequality. Now theRepublican-controlled Congress is considering ramming through tax reforms in the first half of 2017, using a “fast-pass” process called reconciliation that requires just 51 votes in the senate. If Trump’s plan becomes the blueprint for this reform, these would be the six worst features.
By Bernie Sanders for Medium – Our infrastructure is collapsing, and the American people know it. Every day, they drive on roads with unforgiving potholes and over bridges that are in disrepair. They wait in traffic jams and ride in overcrowded subways. They see airports bursting at the seams. They see the need for a modern rail system. They worry that a local levee or dam could fail in a storm. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump correctly talked about rebuilding our country’s infrastructure.
By Brett Arends for Market Watch – Americans, when are we going to get our heads back where the sun shines and implement a wealth tax? How many tax outrages by the super rich do we have to witness before we actually pass the only reasonable measure that would end them? How much longer are we going to moan about Congress and special interests and banks in Panama and various other scapegoats before we actually start taking more responsibility as a nation for our own affairs?
By U.S. Public Interest Research Group. WASHINGTON – In 2015, more than 73 percent of Fortune 500 companies maintained subsidiaries in offshore tax havens, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Collectively, multinationals reported booking $2.5 trillion offshore, with just 30 companies accounting for 66 percent of this total. By indefinitely stashing profits in offshore tax havens, corporations are avoiding up to $717.8 billion in U.S. taxes. “Corporate tax dodging may be legal, but it’s certainly not good for everyday taxpayers and responsible small businesses,” said Michelle Surka, advocate with U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “It disadvantages small businesses that don’t have scores of tax lawyers, creates an economic environment that favors accounting tricks over innovation and real productivity, and forces the rest of us to foot the bill.
By Hunter Blair for EPI – Since 1952, corporate profits as a share of the economy have risen dramatically (from 5.5 percent to 8.5 percent), while corporate tax revenues as a share of the economy have plummeted (from 5.9 percent to just 1.9 percent). This trend has worsened since the end of the Great Recession. Between 2010 and 2015, corporate profits averaged 9.2 percent of gross domestic product, while corporate income tax revenue averaged just 1.6 percent.