If the Top 25 Hedge Fund Managers Paid Taxes Like You and Me, We'd Cut 44 Billion of the National Deficit
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Republicans are perpetrating a fraud. They say they're concerned about reducing government deficits. But you don't need to look at how they treat all of the country's biggest corporations (which is extremely well) or even how they kowtow to its richest 400 families, who now have 6900 times as much income as the average household.
You only need to look at the way they treat 25 people.
The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people -- police officers, for example, or teachers -- the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.
We're not talking about "raising taxes on the rich," either -- although that's an excellent idea. (There's an automated petition here that will encourage your representative to do just that.) This money could be raised simply by removing a tax loophole that protects hedge fund managers. And that's not counting all the other people who run hedge funds. We'd get that $44 billion from just 25 people. They can certainly afford it, and at least one of them (George Soros, #2 on the list) undoubtedly would approve.
But they won't do it. Instead of taking a simple step that could net as much as $4.4 billion per year, House Republicans have passed a budget that cuts $30 million for flood control and emergency funds that would help people avoid being hurt or killed in storms like the ones we've seen in New Orleans, Birmingham, the Midwest, and all across the country. They voted to cut $336 million from the National Oceanographic and Aeronautical Administration to track and predict violent storms.
You could call their bill the "Tony Montana budget," too, since it cuts funds from all the law enforcement activities that Al Pacino's character in Scarface loathed and feared: $74 million from the FBI. $256 million from "State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance." $600 million from COPS, another program that gives grants for state and local policing. More than half a billion from the IRS, which is a giveaway to tax cheats that also reduces future collections -- which will make the deficit worse.
They even want to cut $330 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, a self-sustaining program that administers all the assets seized by U.S. Customs, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the IRS Criminal Investigation unit, and the Coast Guard. Tony Montana would approve.
Oh -- they want to cut the budget for "food safety and inspection services," too. You could pay for all these cuts by just eliminating a tax loophole for these hedge fund managers -- and you'd still have more than $2 billion left over. And that's every year.
From 25 people.
Now the Republicans are going after Social Security and Medicare. Their new budget eliminates Medicare (yes, it does) and replaces it with vouchers that will only cover a fraction of their medical costs. The Congressional Budget Office reports that people who reach Medicare age in 2030 will have to pay twenty thousand dollars more per person as a result. Know how many of those people could get the oldMedicare coverage if you taxed those 25 hedge fund managers the same way everybody else is taxed?
All of them.
These programs are unsustainable, they say. Well, the runaway costs in our health system are unsustainable, but controlling them would force the country to confront the greed motive in US healthcare. So that's off the table for the Republicans, too. And Social Security doesn't contribute to the deficit at all -- they just don't like it.