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Sen. Chuck Schumer is a Democrat and, by gollies, he’s taking a bold stand for poor people in America. Is he proposing a national push for affordable housing? Uh… no. A jobs program? Uh-uh. What then?
Schumer is fighting tooth and nail to preserve a very, very special tax break for billionaire executives at private equity firms and hedge funds. These are the most privileged of the privileged on Wall Street – speculators who are reaping fantasy-levels of income and living lives of royalty. What galls these royals, however, is the thought of having to pay taxes like us commoners. Their lobbyists, therefore, have rigged the tax laws so that their incomes are assessed at only about half the rate paid by typical Americans.
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This favoritism takes more than $6 billion a year from our public treasury, with nearly a third of that going to only 25 individuals! That’s $2 billion a year going to 25 people – money that could provide health care for a million uncovered children. Thus, some populist-minded Democrats in congress are finally pushing to end this unconscionable giveaway by raising the tax rates on these elites to the level of ordinary Americans.
This is where Schumer’s “poverty program” comes in. Since he receives oodles of campaign cash from these billionaires, he has rushed to their aid, opposing any effort to make them pay their fair share of taxes. What does this have to do with poverty? Schumer and the billionaires’ lobby assert that raising their taxes means that they would be less inclined to finance developers doing projects in poor urban areas. So, Schumer’s shameful battlecry is, “To help the poor, save the billionaires’ exorbitant tax break!”
How pathetic. There was a time when being a Democratic senator meant fighting the outrages of Wall Street elites – not kissing their butts.
“Private Equity Warns Against Raising Taxes,” The New York Times, August 1, 2007