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The Triumph of the Oligarchs

By       Message Robert B. Reich       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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From Robert Reich Blog

From flickr.com: Donald Trump Portrait {MID-211710}
Donald Trump Portrait
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The Republican tax plan to be voted on this week is likely to pass.

"The American people have waited 31 long years to see our broken tax code overhauled," the leaders of the Koch's political network insisted in a letter to members of Congress, urging swift approval, adding that the time had come to put "more money in the pockets of American families."

Please. The Koch network doesn't care a fig about the pockets of American families. It cares about the pockets of the Koch network.

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It has poured money into almost every state in an effort to convince Americans that the tax cut will be good for them. Yet most Americans don't believe it.

Polls shows only about a third of Americans favor the tax plan. The vast majority feel it's heavily skewed to the rich and big businesses -- which it is.

In counties that Trump won but Obama carried in 2012, only 17 percent say they expect to pay less in taxes, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Another 25 percent say they expected their family would actually pay higher taxes.

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Most Americans know that the tax plan is payback for major Republican donors. Gary Cohn, Trump's lead economic advisor, even conceded in an interview that "the most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan."

Republican Rep. Chris Collins admitted "my donors are basically saying, 'Get it done or don't ever call me again.'" Senator Lindsey Graham warned that if Republicans failed to pass the tax plan, "the financial contributions will stop."

By passing it, Republican donors will save billions -- paying a lower top tax rate, doubling the amount their heirs can receive tax-free, and treating themselves as "pass-through" businesses able to deduct 20 percent of their income (effectively allowing Trump to cut his tax rate in half, if and when he pays taxes).

They'll make billions more as their stock portfolios soar because corporate taxes are slashed.

The biggest winners by far will be American oligarchs such as the Koch brothers; Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley investor; Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate; Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets football team and heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune; and Carl Icahn, the activist investor.

The oligarchs are the richest of the richest 1 percent. They've poured hundreds of millions into the GOP and Trump. About 40 percent of all contributions for the entire federal election came from the richest 0.01 percent of the American population.

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The giant tax cut has been their core demand from the start. They also want to slash regulations, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and cut everything else government does except for defense -- including Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

In return, they have agreed to finance Trump and the GOP, and mount expensive public relations campaigns that magnify their lies.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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