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Your host, PM 'Papa' Carpenter


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June 28, 2019


Unsurprisingly I concur. I really do like Warren both as a person and an articulate spokesperson of what a just society should look like. I could hardly criticize her for being a policy wonk when my main reason for favoring Clinton in the last election was Hillary's deep knowledge of policy nuance. I imagined, fool that I am, that such a person was what America and the world both needed and wanted.

She may even be making a pragmatic political call in offering policies that are, let us say, a little on the optimistic side in terms of adoption into law. Clinton did not do that. Maybe she needed to do that. Ridiculous bullshit certainly didn't seem to hurt Trump did it? But my gut feeling on this is that it isn't going to help her win the primary. Republicans aren't the problem now. The problem is in house in the Democratic party. Powerful and perfectly legitimate interests within the party know what these policies imply for their own constituencies. And they won't like it.

What amuses me about the wealthy and wealth taxes is that the wealthy invariably label the beneficiaries of the wealth tax as being rapacious. Let them eat cake.

Does she have a plan for beating Trump first?

I quite like the idea of a wealth tax myself. And inheritance taxes too progressively implemented. There is a wonderful piece at Vox about the twenty American billionaires who collectively came out in favor of it. I just don't know how you go about doing it. No one does yet really. No one knows how to calculate it since your "wealth" can vary considerably by the minute. If your wealth is, say, mostly in stocks and bonds, at what second do you decide it is taxable? Or say your notional wealth is in a booming internet company that does not yet trade publicly. Does it have any taxable value at all?

It turns out this is also a much debated and complex subject. PM didn't say why a wealth tax would turn into a tax lobbyist bonanza. But this is why.

I thought the tax code was long and complicated because it was written by the accountants and attorneys who represent the wealthy?

Oh no. It was everybody. Everybody wants carve outs and exemptions. And they all have really really good reasons for it. A few of them actually are good reasons. There is overlap mind you. If a congressman favors a tax fiddle that favors a corporate or economic interest vital to the major employers in their district are they evil corporatists? I hope not because that would be just about all of them including Bernie.

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