Greedy Billionaires Stole Our Democracy & The American Dream:
CORRUPTION IN ACTION:
Cold-hearted, corrupt politicians kill us, make us poor, & work to “save” (actually destroy) Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid, just to give their billionaire donors ever more tax breaks.
Congress & our government is corrupt because of:
Revolving door politics: corporate executives becoming government officials and vice versa
Lobbying is bribery made legal. All other Western democracies outlaw it. Experts estimate corporations spend $9 billion a year lobbying Congress!
Because of this corruption, decade after decade, corporations & the rich keep paying far less taxes:
Sixty years ago, the richest people paid an income tax of 91% on the extra money earned beyond the lower tax brackets. By 2012, it was only 17%.
In 1943, corporations paid 40% of all government’s federal income tax revenue. By 2009, it was only 6.6%. That forces regular Americans to carry far more of the tax burden.
And all this was before Trump’s massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
Because of government corruption, average Americans no longer have:
retirement plans or savings
health care from work
affordable rent for homes
Now few families can survive without both parents working. And the cost of housing, health care, and medicines are skyrocketing.
Using campaign donations, armies of lobbyists, and think tanks, greedy billionaires dictate the policies they want in every area of life, including taxes, energy, banking, defense contracting, telecommunications, and healthcare and medicine industries.
Republicans (and many Democrats) follow the orders of their greedy billionaire donors, controlled like puppets or slaves:
Republicans in Congress no longer fund their campaigns in small amounts. They can’t even run their campaigns without massive funding from a dozen or so billionaire donors.
Those greedy billionaires FORCED Republicans to pass EVEN MORE tax breaks for the super wealthy in 2017. The donors actually told Republican members of Congress, if you don’t pass these tax cuts, we won’t give you campaign funds in 2018!
Republicans knew the tax bill was extremely unpopular because it would throw 13 million people off of their health insurance and cut Medicare by $400 billion. They knew hurting Americans this way in order to further enrich the wealthy might even result in Republicans losing both houses of Congress in the mid-term elections of 2018. BUT THEY HAD NO CHOICE!
What kind of people are these billionaires controlling our country?
Most of them make their money from fossil fuels, massive industries, hedge funds, banking, financial services, or real estate development. These people benefit from our massive subsidies for dirty fossil fuels or from the massive tax loopholes detailed in our chapter “Rigged For The Rich.”
Their wealth depends on making sure our government stays rigged for the rich. They are America’s ruling class, the very, very few, extremely wealthy people who hold the most power, like the kings and queens of Medieval Europe. These people can afford many mansions each and all kinds of extravagant luxuries.
For example, hedge fund billionaire Republican donor Ken Griffin has an average monthly after-tax income of $68.5 million. He held his wedding reception at Versailles, the historic palace of French kings outside Paris, and hired Donna Summer to perform. Katy Perry performed at his hedge fund’s 25th birthday party.
Hedge fund billionaire Republican donor Paul Singer buys up the debt of both countries and cities facing massive debts for pennies on the dollar, then sues and forces them to cut money for health, education, and pensions to pay him back. He even bought the debt of Lehman Brothers during our financial crisis and made a massive amount of money from our government bailout.
Hedge fund billionaire Republican donor Robert Mercer uses computer algorithms and high frequency trading to cheat regular Americans on the stock market. He complained America started going wrong after passing the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s. He funded Donald Trump’s rise, Steve Bannon, and the white-nationalist Breitbart News.
Mercer collects guns, including machine guns, and has a $2.7 million model train set. His staff recently sued him for failing to pay overtime and for docking pay for failing to replace shampoos and other toiletries if the bottle had less than 1/3 remaining, for failing to level pictures, and for improperly counting beverages.
Casino billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson has links to Asian mafias in his casinos in China and has been investigated for bribing foreign governments. He paid a $47 million settlement in 2013 to end an investigation into money laundering for the vicious, murderous Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel.
The fossil fuel billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch lead a coalition of approximately 450 Republican superrich donors to sabotage our democracy. Each of the two Koch brothers makes about $1.8 million per hour.
Koch businesses are the largest producers of toxic waste in the US and they’ve had to pay $400 million in fines for massive chemical waste releases and disasters. They’ve caused emergencies and deaths by refusing to pay for business safety measures.
Read our chapter “How Greedy, Lawbreaking Billionaires Stole The American Dream,” on this website to see how the Koch brothers and their wealthy friends have been manipulating public opinion for decades.
The Koch brothers and their wealthy friends have successfully turned many Americans against minimum wage laws, health care for all, unions, big government, public assistance, Social Security, Medicare, the Environmental Protection Agency, and climate science.
They funded the Republican wave in Congress in 2010, Mitch McConnell, and House speaker Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, who claims to be a devout Catholic, admits he’s been dreaming about cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid ever since he was a frat boy in college drinking kegs with his friends.
The Koch coalition spent nearly $1 billion manipulating the 2016 elections and plan to spend $400 million manipulating the 2018 elections. They funded the Republican gerrymandering that makes it difficult for Democratic candidates to win seats in Congress despite winning the popular vote.
Now they are in charge, with Trump stacking his cabinet with billionaires, corporate executives and bought-out politicians who hate and want to destroy the agencies they run, and people funded by the Koch coalition, like CIA head Mike Pompeo and budget director Mick Mulvaney.
How bad is the new Republican tax bill?
In the new tax bill, the top wealthiest 1% got 83% of the tax cuts. Trump will pocket $11 to $15 million a year. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner will pocket $5 to $11 million a year.
New tax breaks for multimillionaire real estate developers like Trump and Kushner, who already had massive tax loopholes (read about them in our excerpt on “Rigged For The Rich” on this website), will cost our government nearly half a trillion dollars ($414 billion).
People making over $5 million will get a yearly tax cut of $193,380 each. Each millionaire, including most members of Congress, will get $69,600 in tax cuts each year.
Americans earning between $10,000 and $20,000 a year will only get $50 a year, barely over $4 a month, and those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 will only get $180 a year, just $15 a month.
Before this tax bill, heirs could inherit estates up to $11 million tax free from their parents, so only the wealthiest Americans (around 5,500 estates or only 2 in 1,000 deaths) ever paid any estate taxes.
This bill cuts the estate tax so much that if their entire estates were passed on to heirs and weren’t already in tax shelters, Donald Trump’s children could inherit an extra $1.24 billion tax free and the heirs of David and Charles Koch could inherit an additional $38.8 billion tax free.
To fool Americans, Republicans built in noticeable tax breaks for higher-income middle-class Americans, but overall, the middle class only gets 10% of the tax savings and their tax cuts will expire and disappear. Wealthy Americans got the massive, permanent tax breaks.
By 2027, those earning over $5 million a year will get 60% of the tax savings, more than all the rest of Americans (99.9% of us).
By 2027, Americans earning over $1 million each year will SAVE $5.8 billion in taxes, while taxpayers with incomes of between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an extra $5.3 billion MORE in taxes.
Republicans gave 3 times the tax breaks to business owners that employees earning the same amount in wages or salaries got. Highly paid business owners got as much as 10 times the tax breaks that employees making the same money got.
This tax bill increases the deficit, automatically triggering $400 billion in cuts to Medicare. It also rewards companies even more to move jobs overseas and to move profits overseas, again hurting American workers and taxpayers.
By eliminating the individual mandate for health insurance, the bill will increase everyone’s health insurance costs and 13 million people will lose their health care.
And the bill gives huge Wall Street banks and telecommunications companies massive tax cuts. The top 7 banks will make 14% more money, even though those banks got $16 trillion in bailouts during our economic collapse, while Congress refused to help those who lost their jobs and homes.
In fact, notoriously corrupt Wells Fargo Bank got the most massive tax cut of all the banks, increasing its income by 17%. Wells Fargo paid a fine for ignoring warnings by police and taking $420 billion from Mexican companies banned by other US banks in order to launder money for Mexican drug cartels known for massacres and cutting off people’s heads.
More recently, Wells Fargo paid repeated fines for cheating customers with higher-than-agreed-upon fees and by opening 2 million unauthorized accounts.
Corrupt members of Congress have no heart or morals at all. They’re willing to kill people & sabotage our economy:
Cold-hearted members of Congress pretend to be Christian and pray while they screw and kill the poor and middle class and sabotage our economy to enrich billionaires.
For Republican votes, they will support woman abusers (Donald Trump, Roy Moore) and even the child molester candidate Roy Moore.
Mean-spirited, corrupt politicians will let hundreds of thousands of people die, in order to keep getting massive campaign contributions from their greedy billionaire donors.
Republicans claimed there’s just no money to continue the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), AT THE SAME TIME they voted for a massive ($1 and ½ trillion) tax cut for billionaires. Their refusal to fund CHIP will throw 8.9 million kids off health insurance, even disabled children and those in the middle of cancer treatment!
The estate tax, only charged on a married couple’s estate worth over $11 million before the Republican tax cuts, provided $5 billion more than enough tax money to pay for CHIP.
Instead of using this money to pay CHIP, Republicans gave wealthy heirs a huge tax break, doubling the tax-free value of estates up to $22 million. Clearly, Republicans think it is more important to give already wealthy heirs $11 million more dollars than to pay for thousands of disabled and sick children’s health care.
After winning the presidency & both houses of Congress, all Republicans can think of to do is take away health care from poor & middle-class Americans to give greedy billionaires even more tax cuts. As we detail below, this will kill tens of thousands of Americans!
Corrupt politicians (both Democrat and Republican) take money from defense contractors and support permanent war, wasting our resources on death and destruction in desperately poor nations, which only causes more terrorism.
These politicians supported by defense contractors spent $6 trillion ($48,000 for each American household) on just the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
These politicians order weapons our military doesn’t want and flood the Middle East with weapons. They even break our laws by giving and selling weapons to countries while those countries use our weapons for war crimes.
Corrupt politicians take money from pharmaceutical companies and let them price-gouge all they want and hide dangerous side effects, paying only “cost of business” fines for deaths from this fraud.
As detailed in our petition for free medicines, likely over 200,000 Americans have died because of fraud by pharmaceutical companies. Almost 1 in 5 Americans report not filling a prescription because of the cost. Worldwide, millions of people die because they can’t afford medicines.
Corrupt Republican Congressmen supported by corporate sponsors and greedy billionaires would rather keep our economy in the sewer than let a Democratic president succeed by building up our economy.
These Republicans used “scorched earth” gridlock to block Obama’s massive jobs, research, and infrastructure programs, ranting and railing that any increase in the deficit would strangle our economy.
They filibustered bills proposed by Obama over 500 times. Now that these Republicans are in charge, suddenly they don’t care about deficits. Did they spend the money wisely to give health care to regular Americans so they can work or to build our infrastructure and create jobs?
No, these Republicans blew up the deficit spending $1 and ½ trillion just giving millionaires and billionaires whopping tax breaks!
Both Democratic & Republican politicians supported by Wall Street let Wells Fargo Bank pay “cost of business” fines for $420 billion in money laundering supporting Mexican drug cartels that murdered between 65,000 and 100,000 people.
Many people have died because both Democratic & Republican politicians supported by billionaires have loosened federal regulations on big businesses. This put many workers in danger, particularly in mining, fossil fuel, and chemical industries.
Many people die or become sick or disabled from air, water, and land pollution. Both Democratic and Republican politicians supported by billionaires have weakened regulations on pollution.
Air pollution alone kills 55,000 people in America each year. A December 2012 study found nearly 3,000 cities with double the lead poisoning rates found in Flint, Michigan at the worst of its crisis.
Our politicians let big businesses pay “cost of business” fines when they break our weak laws and after major tragedies. Otherwise, these companies avoid paying for the medical consequences of all their pollution and safety issues.
Years of Sabotaging of Health Care For Americans:
About 19,000 more Americans die each year because 19 Republican governors supported by billionaires refused federal money to expand Medicaid health care.
These governors didn’t even care they had to pay an extra $1 billion each year to treat uninsured people in hospitals. Because of these governors, their own citizens died while paying taxes supporting the expanded health care they never got.
Nearly 45,000 people die every year in the US because they can’t afford health care. Republican members of Congress supported by billionaires deliberately sabotaged the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) because it taxes the very richest Americans to help the middle class and poor afford health insurance.
The ACA only provided about 1/10th of the total money the law needed, depending on Congress to provide additional funding each year. Instead, every year, Republicans made sure the ACA didn’t get the funding it needed.
Republicans eliminated money promised to insurance companies to help them with the comprehensive benefits required in the ACA and with covering people with pre-existing conditions.
They slashed the “risk corridors,” payments to insurance companies meant to help finance the transition and stabilize the markets, which we used successfully when we established Medicare.
This forced premiums to skyrocket and made companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield quit the market in some states.
Republicans eliminated over half the $6 billion to establish nonprofit insurance co-ops in the ACA that would force regular insurance companies to compete.
Republicans also sued to change the ACA and won the right for states to keep getting Medicaid while refusing to expand Medicaid.
Besides losing money for their states and killing their people, the 19 Republican governors who refused to expand Medicaid also hurt the insurance companies.
Instead of these states getting extra federal dollars to take care of people with Medicaid, many of the most desperate, sickest people in these states bought ACA insurance, increasing losses for the insurance companies and driving up premiums.
In all, Republicans voted to repeal all or part of Obamacare 62 times.
When Trump became president, he immediately cancelled advertising educating people about the ACA options that our government already paid for, sabotaging the ongoing 2017 enrollment period.
Trump also used the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website and social media channels to criticize the ACA at taxpayer expense.
In the summer of 2017, Trump eliminated 90% of the federal promotional budget for educating people about the ACA choices and enrollment period deadlines, ending all radio and television ads for it.
He cut by 40% programs that helped people navigate the buying process and sign up in time for 2018. And he also ordered regional officials at DHHS not to even meet with local groups helping with enrollment.
Trump cut the open enrollment period to less than half the normal length, giving customers less time to study and make health insurance decisions.
Trump also closed the enrollment website for maintenance for a substantial part of each weekend, making it much harder for working people to complete an application in one sitting.
After disrupting the health insurance market with repeated threats, Trump eliminated billions in cost-sharing for health insurers serving poor people. He plans to end all the cost-sharing payments.
Of course, all of this Republican sabotage forced many health insurers out of the ACA market. (Their stocks are doing great because they kept the more lucrative insurance through work market.)
Meanwhile, the sabotage forced the ACA insurance companies to greatly increase their premiums and shrink their provider networks.
Trump also signed an executive order letting insurance companies sell policies that exclude people with preexisting conditions and have less benefits than those required by the ACA.
Officials in Iowa, Oklahoma, and Minnesota applied for permission to fix their ailing health insurance marketplaces but Trump’s DHHS either refused or added penalties that completely sabotaged their efforts.
And the whole time Republicans starved, strangled, and sabotaged the ACA, they constantly claimed the law was fatally flawed and doomed to a death spiral.
Republicans first tried to replace the ACA by taking away health insurance from 24 million people, taking away $673 in tax credits and subsidies for middle-class and poor families, skyrocketing health insurance premiums by 750%, and cutting Medicaid by $880 billion, just to give the richest Americans a tax cut of $600 billion. Researchers estimated this failed bill would have killed an additional 43,956 Americans each year!
The new Republican tax bill eliminates the individual mandate for most Americans to buy health insurance, even though this mandate was originally a Republican idea.
This will surely eliminate many healthier customers, sabotage the insurance market, and make premiums skyrocket. Government experts estimate ending the individual mandate will throw 13 million Americans off of health care.
In the last 5 years, doctors and hospitals have lost $424.5 billion in uncompensated care. Eliminating the mandate will only make this problem worse.
Corrupt politicians also don’t mind sabotaging our economy.
- Republican Congressmen supported by billionaires would rather keep our economy in the sewer than let a Democratic president succeed by building up our economy.
- These Republicans used “scorched earth” gridlock to block massive jobs and infrastructure programs. They filibustered bills proposed by Obama over 500 times and voted to repeal all or part of Obamacare 62 times.
- These Republican Congressmen supported by billionaires have been trying for decades to destroy Social Security & Medicare. They want to cut and privatize both, so private healthcare and financial investment companies can profit by charging fees and commissions and the wealthiest Americans can make money by investing in their stocks on Wall Street.
- Republicans have cut 14 of Social Security’s last 16 budget requests, constantly refusing to let Social Security use ITS OWN $2.8 trillion we’ve already paid into it.
- These Republican cuts have eliminated 25,000 Social Security workers and closed 597 offices, even while baby boomers retire and their workload explodes.
- Now Republicans use the long waits for assistance & disability decisions they themselves caused to argue for overhauling and privatizing Social Security.
- Republicans have been trying to destroy the Post Office. They passed a law forcing it to prefund 75 years of retirement benefits, forcing it to set aside money for the retirement of its future employees not even born yet.
- No other government agency has to prefund its retirement like this. Now Republicans use the Post Office’s financial problems they themselves created to cut Post Office jobs, services, and locations.
- Both Democratic & Republican politicians supported by Wall Street made bankruptcy much easier for billionaires and much harder for average Americans.
- Now billionaires can walk away from their debts while holding onto most of their assets, even while shafting their investors and workers. Now average Americans can’t declare bankruptcy on their mortgages or even renegotiate them during bankruptcy.
- And now students burdened with so much debt they can’t buy cars, homes, or start families can’t get rid of the debt or even renegotiate it in bankruptcy. In fact, now lenders can deduct payments for old student loans from Social Security checks in old age, many decades later.
- Read our excerpts on “Rigged For The Rich” and “Rigged Against Average Americans” to see how our puppets for billionaires in Congress have changed our laws to constantly shower more wealth on the rich and hurt the middle class and poor.
- Both Democratic & Republican politicians supported by Wall Street deregulated our financial system, nearly destroying our economy in 2008. In just a few months, 8 million people lost their jobs, over 5 million people lost their homes, and the value of American homes dropped nearly $7 trillion.
- The politicians bailed out Wall Street banks with $16 Trillion ($128,000 for each American household) while refusing to help those who lost their jobs and homes and refusing to fix our schools, infrastructure, or health care bills.