Paul Krugman points out that proposals to introduce higher taxes on the rich — like the Buffett rule — have received serious pushback from conservatives:
As inequality has become an increasingly prominent issue in American discourse, there has been furious pushback from the right. Some conservatives argue that focusing on inequality is unwise, that taxing high incomes will cripple economic growth. Some argue that it's unfair, that people should be allowed to keep what they earn. And some argue that it's un-American — that we've always celebrated those who achieve wealth, and that it violates our national tradition to suggest that some people control too large a share of the wealth. [The New York Times]
But, as Krugman rightly points out, high taxes on the rich are hardly un-American. He points to Theodore Roosevelt and Irving Fisher as examples of the fact that "in the early 20th century, many leading Americans warned about the dangers of extreme wealth concentration, and urged that tax policy be used to limit the growth of great fortunes."
In fact, as Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century points out, "confiscatory taxation of excessive incomes — that is, taxation whose goal was to reduce income and wealth disparities, rather than to raise money — was an American invention."
This shouldn't really be very surprising. America was founded by a group of men deeply distrustful of monarchies, aristocracies, concentrated wealth, and inherited privilege, and who enacted laws to prevent wealth from concentrating in too few hands.
As Steven Budiansky noted in 2010:
With Thomas Jefferson taking the lead in the Virginia legislature in 1777, every Revolutionary state government abolished the laws of primogeniture and entail that had served to perpetuate the concentration of inherited property. Jefferson cited Adam Smith, the hero of free market capitalists everywhere, as the source of his conviction that (as Smith wrote, and Jefferson closely echoed in his own words), "A power to dispose of estates forever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fullness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural." Smith said: "There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death." [Liberal Curmudgeon] John Aziz
Following Trump's mean tweet, Jimmy Fallon is making a donation in his name to Texas nonprofit helping immigrants
President Trump's tweet chastising Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon has resulted in a windfall for a Texas nonprofit that helps immigrants and refugees.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fallon said he received instant backlash after he asked to tousle Trump's hair on the Sept. 15, 2016, episode of The Tonight Show. People accused Fallon of "normalizing" Trump, he said. "It just got bigger and out of control."
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Fallon is now "whimpering" and saying "that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have 'humanized' me-he is taking heat. He called & said 'monster ratings.' Be a man Jimmy!"
Not long after, Fallon made a big announcement on Twitter: "In honor of the President's tweet I'll be making a donation to RAICES in his name." The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a nonprofit that assists underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in central and south Texas. Catherine Garcia
David Bossie, who once served as President Trump's deputy campaign manager, apologized on Sunday after appearing on Fox & Friends and telling his fellow panelist, Joel Payne, he was out of his "cotton-picking mind."
On Fox News, David Bossie, former Trump Deputy Campaign Manager, telling a black panelist that he's "out of his cotton-picking mind." pic.twitter.com/wpoqHKbINw
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) June 24, 2018
Bossie and Payne, who served as an aide to former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), were on the show discussing comparisons between concentration camps and detention centers where the children of undocumented immigrants are being held. At one point, Bossie told Payne, "You're out of your cotton-picking mind," to which Payne replied, "Cotton-picking mind? Brother let me tell you something, I've got some relatives who picked cotton and I'm not going to sit here and allow you to attack me like that on TV."
The show's host, Ed Henry, later said Bossie's comments were "obviously offensive," and he wanted to "make clear Fox News and this show, myself, we don't agree with that particular phrase." Bossie tweeted his apology, saying, "During a heated segment on Fox & Friends today, I should have chosen my words more carefully and never used the offensive phrase that I did. I apologize to Joel Payne, Fox News, and its viewers." Payne told MSNBC he has accepted Bossie's apology, but felt "demeaned" and struggled to keep his composure. "Unfortunately, that's par for the course for this president and the people who surround him," he said. Catherine Garcia
In an interview published Sunday, Roseanne Barr said she's made herself "a hate magnet," and "as a Jew, it's just horrible. It's horrible."
The interview was conducted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach the day after Barr's show was canceled by ABC due to a racist tweet she made about former President Barack Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett. Barr referred to Jarrett as "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby," and she told Boteach she "didn't mean what [people] think I meant," and "that's what's so painful. But I have to face that it hurt people."
Barr cried throughout the interview, and said she apologized to those upset by her tweet. "I'm a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff," she said. "But I'm not stupid, for God's sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person...a monkey. I just wouldn't do that. I didn't do that."
Since the interview was conducted, ABC has ordered 10 episodes of a Roseanne spinoff called The Conners, with Barr not involved at all with the show. She remains active on Twitter, retweeting questionable accounts while at the same time sharing such deep thoughts as, "does Twitter exist to spread disinformation?" (Per Barr, "it was CIA created so...it was the original intention perhaps.") Catherine Garcia
Donald Hall, the poet laureate of the United States from 2006 to 2007, died Saturday at his home in New Hampshire. He was 89.
Hall began writing at age 12, and over his career wrote more than 40 books, with half of them poetry. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the National Medal of Arts in 2010 and the National Book Critics Circle prize. Hall wrote often about his childhood, baseball, and the loss of his second wife, poet Jane Kenyon, and lived at Eagle Pond Farm, property that his family has owned since the 1860s.
During a 2012 interview with NPR's Fresh Air, Hall said that his "body causes me trouble when I cross the room, but when I am sitting down writing, I am in my heaven — my old heaven." Catherine Garcia
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a second term Sunday, the country's election authority said.
Turkish state media says that of the votes counted, Erdogan received 53 percent and his closest opponent, Muharrem Ince, received 31 percent. Erdogan declared victory before the official results were announced.
After a failed coup in 2016, Erdogan moved to consolidate his power, and a new constitution that received 51 percent of the vote last year will soon go into effect. Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the attempted coup.
State media reports that 96 percent of votes for parliament have been counted, with Erdogan's AK Party receiving 42 percent and main opposition party CHP 23 percent; the pro-Kurdish HDP party is expected to receive at least 10 percent of the vote. The final election results will be announced Friday, and should Erdogan not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, a second-round vote between Erdogan and Ince will be held July 8. Catherine Garcia
President Trump has faced institutional checks and balances to his power, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) argued on ABC's This Week Sunday, but they haven't come from Congress.
It's difficult "for a lot of my colleagues to say, 'Hey, let's stand up to the president," Flake told host George Stephanopoulos. "But, boy, we ought to more jealously guard our institutional prerogative. I think in this crisis we're in, I think the judiciary has stood up well. The press has stood up well in terms of institutions. The balance. But the Congress has been lacking."
Flake highlighted tariffs as an issue where congressional Republicans ought to be pushing back, and he suggested that refusing to confirm judicial nominees might prod Trump to shift his stance. "I do think that unless we can actually exercise something other than just approving the president's executive calendar — his nominees, judges — that we have no reason to be there," Flake said. "So I think myself and a number of senators, at least a few of us, will stand up and say, 'Let's not move any more judges until we get a vote, for example, on tariffs.'"
In his final question, Stephanopoulos asked whether Flake, who is not seeking re-election, might "be prepared to challenge the president in 2020." Watch his answer below. Bonnie Kristian
GOP Sen. Jeff Flake says he hopes that somebody challenges Pres. Trump in the Republican primary "just to remind Republicans what it means to be conservative" https://t.co/2AGIg96u5B #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/ta4EWEvbfC
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 24, 2018
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) declined to join other progressive politicos in endorsing the call to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.
"More than a dozen Democratic congressional candidates reportedly support abolishing ICE," said host Jake Tapper. "Do you agree that ICE should be abolished?"
"I think that what we need is to create policies which deal with immigration in a rational way," Sanders answered, sidestepping the question. "And a rational way is not locking children up in detention centers or separating them from their mothers."
Tapper also pressed Sanders as to whether the left "only seemed to start caring about these [immigrant children detained by the government] under Trump," noting that some Democrats circulated photos "taken in 2014 under the Obama administration during the unaccompanied minors crisis from that year," unfairly attributing the situation depicted to Trump in 2018.
Sanders pushed back, arguing that Democrats had "a lot of concern about how undocumented people were treated under Obama," and that Trump's immigration policy operates at a distinct level of abuse. Watch an excerpt of his comments below. Bonnie Kristian