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Author: Robert Reich

When the rich paid taxes: Why Republicans hide the real cause of America’s $31tn debt

The dire warnings of fiscal hawks are once again darkening the skies of official Washington. They are demanding that the $31.4tn federal debt be reduced and government spending curtailed, thereby giving cover to Republican efforts to hold America hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. It is always the same when Republicans take over a chamber of Congress or the presidency. Horrors! The debt is out of control! Federal spending must be cut! When they are in power, they rack up giant deficits, mainly by cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy – which amount to the same...

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Monsters of American Capitalism: Trump, Bankman-Fried, and Musk show how greed is a public danger

If 2022 presented any single lesson, it was the social costs of greed. Capitalism is premised on greed but also on guardrails — laws and norms — that prevent greed from becoming so excessive that it threatens the system as a whole. Yet the guardrails cannot hold when avarice becomes the defining trait of an era, as it is now. Laws and norms are no match for the possibility of raking in billions if you’re sufficiently ruthless and unprincipled. Donald Trump’s tax returns, just made public, reveal that he took bogus deductions to reduce his tax liability all the...

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Why mainstream media remains mostly silent over the danger of Moore v. Harper to democracy

Sometimes I feel like screaming at the mainstream media for failing to alert people to crucial, although complicated, issues affecting our democracy coming from different parts of government simultaneously. Case in point: Moore v. Harper, argued on December 7 before the Supreme Court, and the Electoral Reform Act, which must be enacted before the end of this Congress because Republicans won’t touch it once they control the House. The two are intimately connected but you wouldn’t know that from the mainstream media, which is treating them as two separate stories. Let me make the connection. In Moore, North Carolina...

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Abandoning Democracy: Congressional Republicans are refusing to be bound by the 2022 election results

“Far Right Republican extremists have been running their dry mouths, claiming that any election in which they receive less votes than the opposition must be rigged. Well, I’ve got some news for you. Actual Patriots are sick and tired of shameless opportunistic charlatans who invent dangerous conspiracies, and peddle mendacious propaganda … you can’t stop us from voting. We’re gonna do it. Not because it’s fun, because it’s not really fun. But because it’s the right thing to do America.” – Nick Offerman, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver One of the most horrific legacies of Trump is the...

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Free Market Myths: How the ultra-rich sustain control and a growing share of the nation’s vast wealth

The Congressional Budget Office released a study of trends in the distribution of family wealth between 1989 and 2019 on September 27. Over those 30 years, the richest 1% of families increased their share of total national wealth from 27% to 34%. Families in the bottom half of the economy now hold a mere 2%. Meanwhile, a record share of the nation’s wealth remains in the hands of the nation’s billionaires, who are also paying a lower tax rate than the average American. How do the ultra-wealthy justify their wealth and their low tax rates? By using three myths...

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Crime, inflation, and taxes: The false talking points used by Republicans to sway midterm voters

Republicans are telling three lies they hope will swing the midterms. They involve crime, inflation, and taxes. Here is what Republicans are claiming, followed by the facts. 1. They claim that crime is rising because Democrats have been “soft” on crime. This is pure rubbish. Rising crime rates are due to the proliferation of guns, which Republicans refuse to control. Here are the facts: While violent crime rose 28% from 2019 to 2020, gun homicides rose 35%. States that have weakened gun laws have seen gun crime surge. Clearly, a major driver of the national increase in violence is...

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