July 2, 2014
Sen. Bernie Sanders
332 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Re: S. 268; "Carried Interest Loophole"; Regulation of Hedge Funds
Dear Sen. Sanders:
I am writing to you because you are a champion, fighting to change the disastrous course our country has taken. You seek a more just, humane, and ultimately stronger union. Though I know you are aware of the many areas our country significantly lags behind OECD member nations, there are two areas where we hold the shameful distinction of leading all others: income inequality and social immobility. Indeed, this has not been the land of opportunity for some time. The playing field, as some have aptly put it, has been "rigged." And though you have been leading efforts to deal with the student loan crisis, the corrupting influence of money in politics, and raising the minimum wage, among others, there is one area conspicuously absent: tax and regulatory reform.
Let me suggest what could be the poster child of unjustifiable policy, the taxation and lack of regulation of hedge fund manager earnings. The top hedge fund manager in 2013 reportedly made $3.5 billion. Based on a forty-hour workweek for 50 weeks, he made $1,750,000 per hour or $29,167 per minute. Let me repeat that, $29,167 per minute! In 2 minutes the manager made 15% more than the national median household income. At this rate, the following is a list of the median annual incomes in 2013 of a number of occupations compared to the number of minutes of "work" of the hedge fund manager:
3.15 minutes $92,000 Engineers
2.02 minutes 59,000 Police Officers
1.89 minutes 55,000 Teachers
1.58 minutes 46,000 Construction Workers
1.66 minutes 48,000 Firefighters
2.57 minutes 75,000 Scientists
39 seconds 19,000 Fast Food Workers
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