Government of the Plutarchs, by the Plutarchs and for the Plutarchs


Some of you have accused WC of being harsh about the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate and House. Some of you have accused WC of being unfair. But every now and then those multi-milionares do something so cynically self-serving that WC can’t resist pointing it out, if only to demonstrate that WC is, if anything, being too kind.

WC is referring to the latest effort to again repeal the federal estate tax.

It was repealed once, but because of the way the repeal was accomplished, the estate tax was only abolished for one year, and then came back. albeit at lower rates. Now the plutocracy is trying to drive a stake through the heart of the federal estate tax.

What’s the estate tax? It’s a tax on a portion of the estates of the very wealthiest Americans when they die. It’s an attempt to limit the impact of inherited money on our democracy. It impacts only the top 0.2% of Americans – about one in 500. Those are the ones whose estates are worth more than $5.4 million. It’s not a confiscatory tax. The rate starts at 18% and peaks at 40%. A married couple with a net taxable estate of $10 million doesn’t pay any estate tax at all. As tax bites go, it’s not much of a bite.

But, remember, our Congress is composed largely of zillionares. And, perhaps even more importantly, the folks who give the Congressmembers money, like the Kochtopus, are all zillionares, too.

It is absolutely, inarguably, indisputably a case of the rich protecting themselves and their cronies at the expense of the rest of us.

Our national infrastructure is in serious disrepair. Our roads and bridges are crumbling, our airports are out of date and the vast majority of our seaports are in danger of becoming obsolete. We have some 70,000 bridges that are structurally deficient. That’s about one iin nine nationwide. All the result of decades of neglect. None of this is really in dispute. Business leaders, labor unions, governors, mayors, congressmen and presidents have complained about a lack of funding for years, but aside from the one time cash infusion from the stimulus program, nothing much has changed. And yet the plutarchs want to cut taxes on themselves.

Young college graduates are entering the workforce with a monkey on their backs. In its ninth annual report on student loan debt, the Institute for College Access and Success found nearly 7 in 10 graduating seniors in 2013 – 69 percent – left school with an average of $28,400 in student loan debt, an increase of 2 percent from 2012. But instead of subsidizing a college education, Congress wants to give itself and its buddies a tax break.

Real wages – hourly wages adjusted for inflation – have been essentially dead flat for fifty years.

Hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, 1964-2014

Hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, 1964-2014

The American dream, giving your kids a chance to do a little better than you did, has been on the rocks for half a century. But instead of addressing the problem, Congress want to make certain its kids and its big donors’ kids, have a big, fat inheritance.

Where is the outrage? Why aren’t folks storming the Capitol with pitchforks, torches, buckets of hot tar and sacks of feathers? Especially young people? In WC’s day, this kind of arrogance would produce a mass march on Washington of a couple million people, or street riots on the campuses of the nation. Now the kids seem absorbed with selfies and inane social media. Yes, WC sounds like a crotchety old far (again), but Congress is pissing on America’s future in ways that are only going to get harder to repair in the future. The plutarchs are putting structures in place that will entrench them and their kids as a permanent upper class.

It’s more than just giving a big tax break to those who need it least. It’s fundamentally transforming America in gravely damaging ways.

Where’s the outrage?

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