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Author: Robert Reich

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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Poverty shaming: Why the ultra-wealthy perpetuate the rags-to-riches myth of being “self-made”

Why do we glorify “self-made” billionaires? Being “self-made” is a seductive idea. It suggests that anybody can get to the top if they’re willing to work hard enough. It is what the American Dream is all about. If Kylie Jenner can become a “self-made” billionaire at age 21, so can you and I. Even as wages stay stagnant and wealth inequality grows, it is a comfort to think that we are all simply one cosmetics company and some elbow grease away from fortune. Unfortunately, a nice idea is all it is. Self-made billionaires are a myth. Just like unicorns....

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A recipe for despotism: How the far-right is already planning to steal the next presidential election

The latest Republican plot to sabotage our elections could remove American voters from the process of selecting their president. A case headed to the Supreme Court could let Republican controlled state legislatures overrule the will of the people and pick the next president without you. This all hinges on a radical idea called the “independent state legislature theory.” It’s at the heart of a case the Supreme Court will decide called Moore v. Harper. The decision in this case could give state legislatures the power to disregard the popular vote and substitute their own slate of electors pledged to...

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Corporate Complicity: Why billionaires underwrite Trump and his allies to pay as little tax as possible

In 2016, when clashes with taxi drivers broke out in 2016 in Paris, Uber’s then-chief executive Travis Kalanick texted fellow executives that “violence guarantees success” in what was a key market for the company. Uber leveraged the violence against its drivers to win sympathy from regulators and the public, as it also did in South Africa where Uber drivers were burned when their cars were set on fire. I have been thinking about Uber’s capitalist thuggery in light of the corporations underwriting Trump’s thuggery, which includes violent groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, who led the...

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Telling the unvarnished truth: “Balanced journalism” does not exist halfway between facts and lies

Joe Biden’s message on August 1 evening was clear. American democracy is under attack. This was a rare primetime address on the most important challenge facing the nation. But the media treated the speech as if it were just another in an endless series of partisan vollies instead of what it was – a declaration by the president of the United States that America must choose between democracy and authoritarianism. The major networks did not broadcast the speech. The media coverage of the speech on the following day was just more he-said/she-said reaction. The New York Times quoted the...

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