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Thursday, March 23, 2006

34 - The Right-Wing's Worst Nightmare: A Tax On Extreme Wealth

As Congress repeatedly passes tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the richest among us, it might seem quixotic to speak of a tax on wealth.

But political precedent -- you won't believe what you hear FDR say about the greedy right-wingers of his day -- and emerging public opinion trends indicate that enacting a wealth tax could well become feasible in the near future.

Jack Clark 2:57 PM [+]
Post #114309221562268067

Comments:  This section is for listeners. To receive a reply from Jack Clark, you should call the comment line.

You're a delusional bunch of idiots. I'm a 33 year old white male (the new minority) with a wife and a 15 month old baby boy and we are expecting another in 9 months. I'm certainly a conservative, but not glued to any political party. Some of the ideas you spout on your podcast sound good, I do agree that executives in American companies are way overpaid, but raising the minimum wage will not fix that. Raising the minimum wage would only drive up the over-all cost of living for everyone. There is no way to raise the minimum wage to bring households out of poverty, because inflation will just compensate. If the minimum wage is raised to something like 10/hr. then you will only eventually put more people at the poverty level and drive more jobs out of America. Big companies will just move any operations they can out of the country to take advantage of the cheaper labor. Of course this is already happening, but if you raise the minimum wage it will only work to escalate that migration of jobs out of the country, making big problem only bigger with the lack of employment growing for those your trying to help. As for taxing the filthy rich more, that will work for a while, but again, those people are usually employers and you will only work to drive more of them out of the country to live in Mexico or some other tropical area that will have much lower cost of living. Then you'll lose the income generated from those wealthy people buying products and services, and again you'll make a big problem even bigger. It's ridiculous to think that the greedy wealthy people will just suck it up if the government starts to tax them heavily, I'm sure they will get out of Dodge and leave the country with there massive amounts of cash in their pockets to spend elsewhere. Wake up liberals, your social programs only contribute to the welfare state we are already to deeply involved in. Just ask Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, or even some of the New Orleans city council members, we need people to get off their butts and work instead of taking government handouts so they can stay fat and happy on their couch. Get out work your butt off and make your own fortune, then you won't have to whine about the others who made their great fortunes by being ambitious.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  10:39 AM   [+]
Another brilliant show, Jack.

The sound clips from FDR were so stirring, I just couldn't believe it.

Your theme came through loud and clear: Our society is suffering from an absurdly unfair concentration of wealth... just like it experienced back in 1932.

As for the previous poster: Typical young guy who has a couple of decent points to make, but needs the ad hominem attacks because he doesn't know how to respond to your major points.

-- Steve in Houston
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:44 PM   [+]
OK Jack, by now you've established that you're a decent guy who cares about other people.

BUT, I think a reality check is needed.

How could you sell your idea, if media is dominated by powerful interests, expert at manipulating peoples' beliefs (such as the first poster actually buying into the dog-vs-dog approach preferred by the powers-that-be)?

How could a guy like FDR get any traction today? I mean, seriously, much more moderate politicians than him are now painted as whackos.

Supposing he did take power by some freak popular movement. Remember how far the Kennedy brothers got?
See how many "accidental" deaths occurred around the Clinton administration?

How do you get the masses to understand how the psychological manipulation works, and get them to embrace independent media?

How do you get people to put aside the petty left-vs-right bashing long enough to agree on a common set of objectives?

And, as the first poster noted, you have not addressed the logistics of getting the wealth redistribution to work.
If the minimum wage is raised and companies go elsewhere, would you have to back out of free-trade agreements?
Or would you only trade with countries that have similar wage policies?
Would an estate tax (death tax) be more politically viable than a wealth tax (surely even conservatives cannot argue that being born into a billion-dollar empire is consistent with "all men created equal")?
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  2:32 AM   [+]
I am writing in response to the first and last comments. To the comment made by the anonymous conservative, I would like to ask him where he is getting these rediculous ideas. The minimum wage must be raised from time to time to compensate for inflation. There is no evidence whatsoever that raising the minimum wage causes inflation, on the other hand. As for CEO's and corporations leaving the country to get cheaper labor, that's a problem we have already. However, this could easily be fixed without making America heaven for the CEO's and hell for the worker. We don't need to suck up to the corporations.
To the third comment, I agree that it is difficult in this day and age to put progressive legislation through and educate the masses, but that is no reason that we shouldn't keep trying. We must never settle for living in a country conrolled by right-wing wackos and we must never give up hope.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  10:39 AM   [+]
Anonymous said:
To the third comment, I agree that it is difficult in this day and age to put progressive legislation through and educate the masses, but that is no reason that we shouldn't keep trying. We must never settle for living in a country conrolled by right-wing wackos and we must never give up hope.

I'm not arguing with that. I'm just saying that it's not enough to have a goal - the goal should be realizable, given the real-world environment.
So what is the plan?
Political compromise with moderate conservatives and independants?
Praying that they suddenly adopt your philosophy despite media bombardment?
Citizen-owned radio?
Tighter control of bank transfers to tax havens?
Building an independent microeconomy?
If you agree that the obstacles I listed are real, then you should agree that any solution shoud realistically account for these obstacles. Otherwise it is just dreaming.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  1:18 PM   [+]
This is my favorite cast to date!
I recieved so much retrospective information from this cast, that it inspired me to tears (as well as the Martin Luther King Jr. cast.)
Jack, I would have to put you on the same articulation pedistool as Randi Rhodes and Al Franken.
I love your podcasts, you speak with a slow, and calm clarity that reminds me of the wisdom of my Grandfather (and he was a republican! Irony? Maybe.)
Keep up the good work.
PS - and to the first blogger who remained anonymous -
You're an idiot.
Inflation is inevitable.
America is already outsourcing jobs.
These things are already in motion and have been for the past 30 years.
So you think we should combat this economic shift by keeping the minimum wage stagnant?
Yeah, real fucking logical.
Go back to school, moron.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  7:58 AM   [+]

Free citizens' media is here, at least for now. Get it before they shut it down.

Do a search on youtube.com for "wtc 7" or just go to:

You will see in living color a confession that World Trade Center Building 7 was "pulled", i.e. brought down by a planned demolition.

Believe your own eyes and ears, not your pride, then we can begin the work of rebuilding this once-great nation, together, my friends.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  12:46 AM   [+]
Jack we already tax extreme wealth. simply possessing stocks doesn't ensure a luxurious lifestyle. the stocks can either be sold (at which point, a tax is collected) or dividends are collected (again, more taxes). simply having something doesn't constitute extreme wealth that needs to be taxed in my opinion, nor do I believe it should. for example, I don't think bill gates should have the hell taxed out of him for owning 12% of microsoft (or whatever it is by now), because it is necessary for him to own that much of the company in order for him to have a say in how it is run. would we be better off if the WHOLE company was controlled by fund managers who care nothing about the company beyond the bottom line. the biggest problem we have is that the wealth of the country is controlled by corporations, which in turn are controlled by shareholders that don't give a crap about anything but making money. if corporations were instead controlled by only employees and customers and possible state/local governments, we wouldn't have many of the wealth concentration problems we have today.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  1:05 PM   [+]
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Great podcast - a must listen to
Jack Clark documents the right's wars on the poor, civil liberties, the right of workers to organize at work and obtain a decent working wage and work conditions, and against other countries who refuse to accept American domination. Jack provides all the sources so that you can see for yourself how the right is out to enrich itself at the expense of everyone else. Great job, Jack!
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awesome show
Clark always backs up his statements against the right wing with fact and data, which gives him all the more credibility. As conglomerate media controlled by politics clouds the mainstream news media, Jack Clark, along with NPR and Democracy Now! have become my primary news source. Awesome podcast!
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This podcast is not just entertainment, humor, chimp-bashing, or gee-whiz recap of the weeks events. Instead, it hits hard and in-depth on the world economic situation and how right-wing policies impact the poor and less advantaged all over the world. He examines Americas support of the World Bank, IMF,multinational corporations, etc., and connects the dots. This is a podcast for grown-ups. He gives good reasons why the right wing is NOT living up to its precious Bible, without putting down the Bible. As a Jesus-loving Christian and moderate Democrat, I respect this podcast for its subject matter. The grown-up manner of the speaker is just icing on the cake. He IS funny, but hes not trying to be, he just has a deadpan delivery but doesnt have to make jokes to make it interesting. The facts make it interesting and devastating.
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