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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14141 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-October-31, 09:48

So... Impeachment has formally begun

Looks like the Republicans are now decrying the lack of Regular Order
Alderaan delenda est
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#14142 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-October-31, 10:16

It's their party and they can decry if they want to.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14143 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2019-October-31, 13:07

‘He is right on all counts’: Obama finds rare bipartisan support by bashing ‘woke’ shaming

Quote

On Tuesday, Obama was roughly 50 minutes into a discussion with young leaders about their activism when he mentioned that he had started to notice a worrisome trend “among young people, particularly on college campuses.”

“There is this sense sometimes of, ‘The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,’ and that’s enough,” he said, noting that the mind-set was only “accelerated by social media.”

Obama went on to describe an example of the behavior he was cautioning against.

“If I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself, because, man, you see how woke I was?” he said, drawing laughter from the audience. “I called you out.”

But the act of public shaming on social media, Obama said, is “not activism.”

“That’s not bringing about change,” he said. “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”

And the accompanying video of an excerpt from Obama's talk offers a stark reminder of how much the presidency has been diminished with the current occupant.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. — Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell. — Bertrand Russell
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#14144 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-October-31, 16:51

View Posty66, on 2019-October-31, 10:16, said:

It's their party and they can decry if they want to.


:lol: :lol: :lol:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14145 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-October-31, 19:06

Eff'n trumped again :rolleyes:

Giuliani needed Apple genius to help unlock iPhone after being named Trump cybersecurity adviser

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Less than a month after he was named President Donald Trump’s cybersecurity adviser in 2017, Rudy Giuliani walked into an Apple store looking for help. He forgot his passcode, entered the wrong one at least 10 times, and was locked out of his phone.

It's a good thing that the Felon in Chief only hires the best. This country would be in terrible trouble if the Manchurian President hires less than the best. B-)
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#14146 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 07:27

From Elizabeth Warren Releases $20.5 Trillion Plan to Pay for ‘Medicare for All’ by Thomas Kaplan, Abby Goodnough and Margot Sanger-Katz at NYT:

Quote

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday proposed $20.5 trillion in new spending through huge tax increases on businesses and wealthy Americans to pay for “Medicare for all,” laying out details for a landmark government expansion that will pose political risks for her presidential candidacy while also allowing her to say she is not raising taxes on the middle class to pay for her health care plan.

Ms. Warren, who has risen steadily in the polls with strong support from liberals excited about her ambitious policy plans, has been under pressure from top rivals like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to release details about paying for her biggest plan, “Medicare for all.” Her new proposal marks a turning point for her campaign, in which she will have to sell voters on a tax-and-spending plan that rivals the ambitions of the New Deal and the Great Society while also defending it against both Democratic and Republican criticism.

Under Ms. Warren’s plan, employer-sponsored health insurance — which more than half of Americans now receive — would be eliminated and replaced by free government health coverage for all Americans, a fundamental shift from a market-driven system that has defined health care in the United States for decades but produced vast inequities in quality, service and cost.

Ms. Warren would use a mix of sources to pay for the $20.5 trillion in new spending over a decade, including by requiring employers to pay trillions of dollars to the government, replacing much of what they currently spend to provide health coverage to workers. She would create a tax on financial transactions like stock trades, change how investment gains are taxed for the top 1 percent of households and ramp up her signature wealth tax proposal to be steeper on billionaires. She also wants to cut $800 billion in military spending.

Ms. Warren’s estimate for the cost of Medicare for all relies on an aggressive set of assumptions about how to lower national health care costs while providing comprehensive coverage to all Americans. Like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, she would essentially eliminate medical costs for individuals, including premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Critically, her new plan would not raise taxes on middle-class Americans, a question she has been asked over and over but has not answered directly until now. When confronted on the campaign trail and debate stage, she emphasized instead that her plan would result in higher overall costs for wealthy people and big corporations but lower costs for middle-class families.

More..

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#14147 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 09:12

Quote

NEW: Pres. Trump's approval rating is 38% in the new @ABC News/WaPo poll.

Among Republicans, he's at a career low of 74%


The 74% does not bode well for 2020, even if he's not removed through impeachment and conviction; however, the Republican party has tied itself to the Russian-influenced theocratic-oligarchy model of government so it's either win or "Da" trying..

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14148 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 09:13

Ezra Klein at Vox explains how Warren's team came up with their cost estimate and how their plan pays for M4A.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14149 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 09:33

Quote

According to reports from this Friday morning, US employers added 128,000 jobs.


Quote

“Wow, a blowout JOBS number just out, adjusted for revisions and the General Motors strike, 303,000,” Trump tweeted Friday morning
.

Which number does the frothy right accept, I wonder?

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14150 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 12:15

Paul Krugman's take on Warren's M4A plan:

Quote

Last week I worried that Elizabeth Warren had painted herself into a corner by endorsing the Sanders Medicare-for-all plan. It was becoming obvious that she couldn’t stay vague about the details, especially how to pay for it; and some studies, even by center-left think tanks, suggested that any plan along these lines would require large tax hikes on the middle class. So what would she come up with?

Well, the Warren plan is now out. And I’d say that she passed the test. Experts will argue for months whether she’s being too optimistic — whether her cost estimates are too low and her revenue estimates too high, whether we can really do this without middle-class tax hikes. You might say that time will tell, but it probably won’t: Even if Warren becomes president, and Dems take the Senate too, it’s very unlikely that Medicare for all will happen any time soon.

Nonetheless, Warren needed to show that she was working the problem. And she did. She brought in real experts like Donald Berwick, who ran Medicare during the Obama years, and Betsey Stevenson, former chief economist at the Labor Department. And they have produced a serious plan. As I said, experts will argue with the numbers, but this is the real thing — not some left-leaning version of voodoo economics.

How does the Warren plan expand Medicare to cover everyone without raising taxes on the middle class? There are four main components.

First, the Warren team argues that a single-payer system would provide significant savings in overall medical costs — more than other studies are assuming. Some of these would come from bargaining down prices, especially on drugs. Others would come from a reduction in administrative costs.

Are these savings plausible? Well, America does pay incredibly high prices for drugs compared with other countries, and the complexity of our system imposes a huge administrative burden — not just the overhead of insurance companies, but the sheer number of people doctors and hospitals have to employ to deal with multiple insurers. I’ve been puzzled at the reluctance of other studies to credit Medicare for all with big savings on these fronts.

And we should note that even with these assumed cost savings, U.S. health spending per capita would remain far above that of other advanced countries. So there’s a case — not an open-and-shut case, but a reasonable one — for optimism here.

Second — and the cleverest item in the plan — the Warren team would basically require employers who are now offering health insurance to their employees to pay the cost of that insurance to the government instead. Bear in mind that large employers are already required by law (specifically, the Affordable Care Act) to provide insurance. So this would just redirect those funds.

Third, state and local governments currently spend a lot on health care, mainly but not only through their share of Medicaid spending. The Warren plan would require “maintenance of effort,” basically requiring that states continue to spend that money, but on supporting a national plan.

Am I enthusiastically endorsing this plan? No. I still think that a public-option-type plan, which lets people buy into Medicare, would have a better chance of actually becoming reality — and may well be where a President Warren actually ends up if she gets to the White House. And the plan’s optimism on costs and revenues could be wrong.

But this is a serious plan that reflects hard thinking. In particular, it’s nothing like the snake oil that passes for policy analysis on the right, whether it’s the continual insistence that tax cuts pay for themselves or Paul Ryan budgets that assumed that discretionary spending could be cut to Calvin Coolidge levels.

So what has Warren achieved here? Realistically, her health care plan is more aspirational than her other plans. Enhanced financial regulation and universal child care are things she might well be able to accomplish if she not only wins, but wins big, next year. Medicare for All, not so much. And may I say, it would serve the public well if these topics — plus climate change! — got more attention in future debates, and health care a bit less.

Warren’s task was, instead, to counter criticism that she was being evasive on a big issue. I think she has met that challenge.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14151 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 13:50

View Posty66, on 2019-October-31, 10:16, said:

It's their party and they can decry if they want to.


Is it time for the party of Putin to start crying? Not nyet.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14152 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 18:56

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-October-30, 03:28, said:

A week passed already and still no defence has been offered. Could it be that the actions are simply indefensible?


As yet I have seen no evidence of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Therefore, I see no need to offer a defense for a crime I haven't seen committed. If you have, I respect your right, as an American citizen, to voice your displeasure to your duly-elected representative to Congress. Who is your duly-elected representative to Congress?

#14153 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-November-01, 19:41

View PostChas_P, on 2019-November-01, 18:56, said:

As yet I have seen no evidence of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."


Have you actually bothered to look?
You might find the following to be a useful primer...

https://www.vox.com/...chment-whitaker

Quote

Therefore, I see no need to offer a defense for a crime I haven't seen committed.


When has your own ignorance and stupidity every stopped you from bloviating in the past?
Alderaan delenda est
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#14154 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-November-02, 04:42

While I'm generally a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, I'm not a fan of her plan to pay for Medicare for All.

Her plan involves a new tax on businesses which is exactly what they've paid for health care in previous years. This penalizes exactly the kind of "socially conscious" businesses that Democrats usually support, as they will have to pay a high tax (since they provided high-quality insurance) while their competitors pay a much lower tax or none at all. Adding a tax on employers to support medical care seems okay to me (employers bear most of the cost of the current system anyway) but it should be applied in a more equitable manner.

I've also got questions about how much tax is fair for the wealthiest citizens. While I agree that they should pay more than they do today (it seems fairly uncontroversial that the very wealthy should pay a higher percentage of income than the average citizen, and today they pay less) there must be some limit. Under Warren's plan, a billionaire who earns 10% on her wealth by investing will pay more than 40% of that in capital gains tax (taxed as income, when the money is made and not when shares are sold). Then she will pay 6% of her net wealth, landing her at a net loss even though she had better-than-average investments. Ordinarily I don't think people should have to pay more in tax than they made in income! While I support a low-level wealth tax because it seems to prevent some of the shenanigans surrounding capital gains (i.e. reclassifying/delaying income), I don't think a punitive wealth tax that typically charges people more than they could make by "normal" investment of the wealth would be fair.

Ms. Warren's plan seems like a political way to claim she will not raise middle class taxes, but given that the middle class receives a massive benefit (free health care) for which they are currently paying a lot of money, it seems quite reasonable that middle class taxes should go up a bit. I thought this was the point she was making earlier (costs will go down) and understood the unfair framing that the right wants to tar her with (basically, $5000 in "taxes" is somehow horrible while $10000 in payment to "private insurance business" is somehow better). But this plan seems like it's either a terrible idea or proposed in bad faith.
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#14155 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-02, 08:28

View Postawm, on 2019-November-02, 04:42, said:

While I'm generally a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, I'm not a fan of her plan to pay for Medicare for All.

Her plan involves a new tax on businesses which is exactly what they've paid for health care in previous years. This penalizes exactly the kind of "socially conscious" businesses that Democrats usually support, as they will have to pay a high tax (since they provided high-quality insurance) while their competitors pay a much lower tax or none at all. Adding a tax on employers to support medical care seems okay to me (employers bear most of the cost of the current system anyway) but it should be applied in a more equitable manner.

I've also got questions about how much tax is fair for the wealthiest citizens. While I agree that they should pay more than they do today (it seems fairly uncontroversial that the very wealthy should pay a higher percentage of income than the average citizen, and today they pay less) there must be some limit. Under Warren's plan, a billionaire who earns 10% on her wealth by investing will pay more than 40% of that in capital gains tax (taxed as income, when the money is made and not when shares are sold). Then she will pay 6% of her net wealth, landing her at a net loss even though she had better-than-average investments. Ordinarily I don't think people should have to pay more in tax than they made in income! While I support a low-level wealth tax because it seems to prevent some of the shenanigans surrounding capital gains (i.e. reclassifying/delaying income), I don't think a punitive wealth tax that typically charges people more than they could make by "normal" investment of the wealth would be fair.

Ms. Warren's plan seems like a political way to claim she will not raise middle class taxes, but given that the middle class receives a massive benefit (free health care) for which they are currently paying a lot of money, it seems quite reasonable that middle class taxes should go up a bit. I thought this was the point she was making earlier (costs will go down) and understood the unfair framing that the right wants to tar her with (basically, $5000 in "taxes" is somehow horrible while $10000 in payment to "private insurance business" is somehow better). But this plan seems like it's either a terrible idea or proposed in bad faith.


I think this is a reasonable criticism. Most working middle class pay a portion of the cost for insurance while the company they work for pays the rest. Warren's plan redirects the company's part to the government - and I would hope that the same would apply to the portion paid by employees. Yet, I think it is important to talk about redirection of payments rather than increased taxes. As Fox knows, how you frame an idea is critical, and it is much easier to defend a change of direction for money you already pay each month than talk about higher taxes.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14156 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2019-November-02, 09:58

Did Warren Pass the Medicare Test? I Think So

Quote

Am I enthusiastically endorsing this plan? No. I still think that a public-option-type plan, which lets people buy into Medicare, would have a better chance of actually becoming reality — and may well be where a President Warren actually ends up if she gets to the White House. And the plan’s optimism on costs and revenues could be wrong.

But this is a serious plan that reflects hard thinking. In particular, it’s nothing like the snake oil that passes for policy analysis on the right, whether it’s the continual insistence that tax cuts pay for themselves or Paul Ryan budgets that assumed that discretionary spending could be cut to Calvin Coolidge levels.

Constance and I went to Des Moines yesterday to hear the democratic candidates speak at the Liberty and Justice dinner there, and Warren had a lot of enthusiastic supporters cheering her on. So did Mayor Pete and Kamala Harris.

There's always some oddly interesting things at events like this. For example, a neatly dressed man introduced himself to us at the dinner, handing us cards identifying himself as Michael E. Arth and told us that he was withdrawing from the race for the nomination. He wanted to be sure that we knew that he is throwing his support to Elizabeth Warren.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. — Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell. — Bertrand Russell
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#14157 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-November-02, 11:48

View Postawm, on 2019-November-02, 04:42, said:

While I'm generally a supporter of Elizabeth Warren, I'm not a fan of her plan to pay for Medicare for All.

Do you have a link to the plan itself? All I can find are news stories that describe in general terms.

Quote

Her plan involves a new tax on businesses which is exactly what they've paid for health care in previous years. This penalizes exactly the kind of "socially conscious" businesses that Democrats usually support, as they will have to pay a high tax (since they provided high-quality insurance) while their competitors pay a much lower tax or none at all. Adding a tax on employers to support medical care seems okay to me (employers bear most of the cost of the current system anyway) but it should be applied in a more equitable manner.

I read in one of the articles that it's actually 98% of what they've been paying, to sweeten the deal. But it does seem weird to base the tax on what that company was previously paying, rather than just a specific tax rate (probably graduated by the size of the business). If companies see this coming, they'll probably cut their health insurance spending in the year before the law takes effect.

Quote

I've also got questions about how much tax is fair for the wealthiest citizens. While I agree that they should pay more than they do today (it seems fairly uncontroversial that the very wealthy should pay a higher percentage of income than the average citizen, and today they pay less) there must be some limit. Under Warren's plan, a billionaire who earns 10% on her wealth by investing will pay more than 40% of that in capital gains tax (taxed as income, when the money is made and not when shares are sold). Then she will pay 6% of her net wealth, landing her at a net loss even though she had better-than-average investments. Ordinarily I don't think people should have to pay more in tax than they made in income! While I support a low-level wealth tax because it seems to prevent some of the shenanigans surrounding capital gains (i.e. reclassifying/delaying income), I don't think a punitive wealth tax that typically charges people more than they could make by "normal" investment of the wealth would be fair.

How do you figure it's a net loss? I ran the figures for someone worth $2B and earning 10% on it. It comes out to $55M in wealth tax and $80M if the CG tax is 40%. That's $135M of the $200M growth. Admittedly, that's a huge tax (67% of the growth), but it's not a net loss.

Also, your assumption of 10% growth seems extremely generous. That's been the average historic growth of the stock market, but they probably won't have all their wealth in the market. A big chunk of it will be things like expensive homes, cars, yachts, private jets. I'm not even sure how the wealth tax will account for these -- will they need to do annual assessments? But I'm not sure that they grow like the market.

#14158 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-02, 12:15

View Postbarmar, on 2019-November-02, 11:48, said:

Do you have a link to the plan itself? All I can find are news stories that describe in general terms.

I read in one of the articles that it's actually 98% of what they've been paying, to sweeten the deal. But it does seem weird to base the tax on what that company was previously paying, rather than just a specific tax rate (probably graduated by the size of the business). If companies see this coming, they'll probably cut their health insurance spending in the year before the law takes effect.


Under ACA they are required to provide it so it is not optional. They would have to reduce staffing.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14159 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-November-02, 12:30

It's no surprise that a businessman would demand a quid pro quo; after all, a quid pro quo is necessary for any valid contract.
That leads to the possibility of a previous Ukraine quid pro quo with Trump, as reported by the WaPo:

Quote

....What led to Trump’s first meeting on June 20, 2017, with Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko? Ukraine had hired the lobbying firm BGR Group in January 2017 to foster contact with Trump, but nothing had happened . . . and then the door opened. Why?

On June 7, less than two weeks before Poroshenko’s White House meeting, Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, had visited Kyiv to give a speech for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, headed by a prominent Ukrainian oligarch. While Giuliani was there, he also met with Poroshenko and his prosecutor general, Yuriy Lutsenko, according a news release issued by the foundation.

Just after Giuliani’s visit, Ukraine’s investigation of the so-called black ledger that listed alleged illicit payments to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was transferred from an anti-corruption bureau, known as NABU , to Poroshenko’s prosecutor general, according to a June 15, 2017, report in the Kyiv Post. The paper quoted Viktor Trepak, former deputy head of the country’s security service, saying: “It is clear for me that somebody gave an order to bury the black ledger.”

The New York Times reported in May 2018 that Ukraine had “halted cooperation” with Mueller’s investigation. The paper quoted Volodymyr Ariev, a parliament ally of Poroshenko, explaining: “In every possible way, we will avoid irritating the top American officials.”

Was there any implicit understanding that Poroshenko’s government would curb its cooperation with the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of Manafort, who would later be indicted by Mueller?

Why was Marie Yovanovitch , the U.S. ambassador to Kyiv, fired in May? Trump, Giuliani and their allies had been attacking her since early 2018, but for what reason? Lutsenko, the Ukrainian prosecutor, told the Hill in March that she had given him a “do not prosecute” order, an incendiary charge that Donald Trump Jr. promptly echoed on Twitter. But Lutsenko later recanted, and the State Department said the story was a fabrication.

So why were Trump and Giuliani so eager to dump the ambassador? Here’s what Yovanovitch said during her Oct. 11 testimony to House investigators: “Individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

The former ambassador may have been referring to Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas , two Giuliani clients who were indicted last month on suspicion of arranging secret contributions to help foreign governments. (Fruman and Parnas have pleaded not guilty.) Their biggest project, according to an Associated Press Oct. 7 story, was a plan to sell U.S. natural gas to Ukraine, aided by Giuliani and Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s lobbying of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian gas company.

Trump’s effort to play politics in Ukraine is described in an ever-widening stream of documents and testimony. The House must now assess whether Trump’s behavior makes him unfit to continue in office.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14160 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2019-November-02, 12:33

View Postbarmar, on 2019-November-02, 11:48, said:

How do you figure it's a net loss? I ran the figures for someone worth $2B and earning 10% on it. It comes out to $55M in wealth tax and $80M if the CG tax is 40%. That's $135M of the $200M growth. Admittedly, that's a huge tax (67% of the growth), but it's not a net loss.

Also, your assumption of 10% growth seems extremely generous. That's been the average historic growth of the stock market, but they probably won't have all their wealth in the market. A big chunk of it will be things like expensive homes, cars, yachts, private jets. I'm not even sure how the wealth tax will account for these -- will they need to do annual assessments? But I'm not sure that they grow like the market.


It wasn't a very complex calculation. If a very rich person has wealth W, then they pay (6%)W in wealth tax, plus (40%)(10%)W in capital gains on 10% appreciation, which means they pay 0.1W in tax on 0.1W in gains. The max capital gains rate is actually a little more than 40%, so net negative. Admittedly the wealth tax is not 6% on the full amount of wealth (I think the 6% bracket starts at a billion) and income tax is not 40+% on the full amount of income, but for someone sufficiently wealthy these numbers are about right. I agree that the 10% capital gains is generous; if you reduce this you have a lot more people winding up net negative (by a much larger amount).

Again, these are the wealthiest people in the world and I'm okay seeing them pay more in tax, but these rates seem a bit extreme.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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