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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Donald Sterling and Why We Must Heavily Tax Billionaires

Posted by on Tue, May 13, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Last night, Donald Sterling on Magic Johnson: He fucked every girl in America, he has AIDS, he is not a role model, he has not helped the black community in the way rich Jews like him, Sterling, help the Jewish community...


The good thing about all of this is the public can finally see what most billionaires are really like. The media overrepresents talented entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and underrepresents the bulk of billionaires who have no gifts whatsoever and contribute little to nothing to the society they benefit from. Their money grows on its own (with the help of a small army of financial managers) and does not care what they say or do, what they think or dream up. The man or woman is on one side and the money they own is on the other, and no meaningful link exists between the content of the owner and the magnitude of the wealth.

The overrepresentation of the (few) Bill Gates of the world functions to justify the individual ownership of vast amounts of money: They deserve all of those millions or billions because they had the brains and will to strike it rich and others did not. Indeed, Thomas Piketty makes the point in his popular book Capital in the 21st Century that the famous Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America is "systematically biased to overrepresent entrepreneurs and underrepresent heirs and heiresses." In another part of the book, which concerns university endowments, Piketty offers evidence that a massive amount of money only needs itself to grow (easily at 8% a year—as the economy grows at only 1% to 2%). This is the nightmare that only progressive taxes can wake us up from.

 

Comments (33) RSS

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1
How is Donald Sterling more representative of "real" billionaires than Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?
Posted by GermanSausage on May 13, 2014 at 9:10 AM · Report this
2
the value of the clippers depends on the masssive public subsidies given to nba teams all over. and our tolerance or their monopoly and giving them antitrust immunity. a tax of 90% on the rise in team value since he got it would be fair.

most socialism in america today is for the 1%. or a higher group. TARP, they didn't pay us enough for the risk we took on. KOCH bros and oil and gas industry isn't paying that carbon tax, they're evading costs of their conduct, that's harm to us, that's a megahuge subsidy to them. it's not market capitalism. it's socialistic capitalism a/k/a as RIPPING US OFF OF OUR MONEY. Hansen's deal was a $731 million tax subsidy deal and our local democratic leaders were slavering all over themselves to shovel public money at him.
Posted by billionaires thru socialism on May 13, 2014 at 9:15 AM · Report this
3
Numerically, @1. As Charles just clearly wrote.
Posted by d.p. on May 13, 2014 at 9:18 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 4

The Age of Billionaires is over.

The Thousannaire supplants his reign.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on May 13, 2014 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Geeky Kestrel 5
There are asshole billionaires and decent billionaires. What is not ok is to vilify them BECAUSE they are billionaires.
Posted by Geeky Kestrel on May 13, 2014 at 9:30 AM · Report this
6
@3, so it's OK to stereotype a group of otherwise unrelated people based on the actions of a single individual...
Posted by GermanSausage on May 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM · Report this
Charles Mudede 7
@6, i actually think you did not read my post.
Posted by Charles Mudede on May 13, 2014 at 9:55 AM · Report this
fletc3her 8
I think the important thing is to realize that amassing capital is not really beneficial to our economy. The right wing would have us believe that billionaires create jobs through investments, but with sufficient fortune they can amass more without any effort.

In order to spur investments we need to make it beneficial to spend money, but expensive to amass money. This requires taxing passive investments, interest, and capital gains while encouraging spending by relaxing amortization.

We can also spur the job market by making it more expensive to pay million dollar salaries simply by returning to a more progressive tax bracket scheme. A company should pay more in the overall tax bill to have one $10,000,000 employee than they do to have ten $1,000,000 employees or a hundred $100,000 employees.
Posted by fletc3her on May 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 9
I noticed how Tim Keck did this with his series of minimum wage infomercials. Instead of giving a representative sample of Seattle business owners enough rope to hang themselves with in The Stranger's free advertising column inches, he picked out a few cute and fuzzy entrepreneurs whose adorable little boutiques were chosen to arouse maximum sympathy.

I mean, even at that, they really embarrassed themselves, making shit up and blaming everyone else for their own fuckups. But it would have been much better to hear the a fair sample of the bosses of Seattle's 110,000 sub-$15/hr workers speak out, instead of these ostensibly plucky poster bosses.

But Keck is one of them. Just like the owners of these other media Mudede and Piketty complain about are members of the same class they are portraying. These bullshit stories are selfies.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on May 13, 2014 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 10
The rich should be taxed for being alive. - Dorothy Parker.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on May 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 11

#8

Billionaires are population control.

If 1000 people didn't own the earth, we would have eaten it up decades ago.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on May 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM · Report this
MrBaker 12
Sterling said that he thinks that he is "entitled" to make one mistake. It wasn't his first mistake, his belief that he should be entitled will not be his last.
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on May 13, 2014 at 10:17 AM · Report this
13
@11: JBITSMFOTP
Posted by Hanoumatoi on May 13, 2014 at 10:31 AM · Report this
biffp 14
Gates Foundation is a big pusher of Common Core and (widely failing) private charter schools.
Posted by biffp on May 13, 2014 at 10:35 AM · Report this
15
@7 "The good thing about (Donald Sterling being a racist) is the public can finally see what most billionaires are really like. The media overrepresents talented entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and underrepresents the bulk of billionaires who have no gifts whatsoever and contribute little to nothing to the society they benefit from."

I think that there are plenty of good reasons for taxing billionaires, but Donald Sterling being a racist isn't one of them. I don't think the story has anything to do with how Donald Sterling made his fortune in the first place, or for that matter there's that much difference in how Donald Sterling or Steve Jobs made their fortunes. Steve Jobs got his fortune by being a shrewd business man, and made about as much contributions to actual society as Donald Sterling actually plays basketball.

Posted by GermanSausage on May 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM · Report this
16
@8 I don't think we should be encouraging Americans to spend more money. The total value of the goods and services we consume already exceeds what our economy produces. That results in an unfavorable balance of trade. The US trade deficit is far smaller than it was before the markets crashed in 2008, but it is still a problem. The American people have been living beyond their means for a long time.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on May 13, 2014 at 10:58 AM · Report this
17
@15: "... I don't think the story has anything to do with how Donald Sterling made his fortune in the first place..."

Actually he made his fortune in real estate, and he has a well-earned reputation for refusing to rent to people of color and otherwise harassing them. So it is relevant.
Posted by bigyaz on May 13, 2014 at 11:08 AM · Report this
venomlash 18
@11: JBITSMFOTP
Posted by venomlash on May 13, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
19 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
Will in Seattle 20
We don't actually need to heavily tax billionaires.

But we do need to remove all corporate tax exemptions and all exemptions for capital gains - like carried interest - and remove the Social Security and Medicare earnings cap and tax all earnings including dividends
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on May 13, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
21
@19 Racist pig.
Posted by GarySFBCN on May 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
22
@20

If you did all of that in the US, the rate of return on capital (net taxes) would still be greater than the (historic and present) growth rate. Which means the gap between the (increasingly hereditary) rich and the poor would continue to grow.

It would work if the economy got back up to a 4% growth rate, and sustained it indefinitely, but unless the US population starts increasing at 2% again, and sustains that rate indefinitely, the available data suggest a future long-term 4% growth rate in the US is effectively impossible.
Posted by robotslave on May 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
23
Nice use of "words in others' mouths brackets" there, @15.

Charles never implies that Sterling embodies any widespread "racism" among the preternaturally wealthy. What Sterling embodies is a widespread cluelessness: an entitlement, a lack of common sense, a divorce from reality, and a total absence of special acumen beyond situational luck.

Charles directly confronts the disturbing narrative, bolstered by the hagiographic focus on Jobs and similar outliers, that ability and earnings potential are correlated in the realm of American business. They simply are not, as this obscenely wealthy moron helps to expose.
Posted by d.p. on May 13, 2014 at 12:01 PM · Report this
seandr 24
Sterling has an ass for a face.

@venomlash: JBITSMFOTP

Ok, I'll bite - what does that mean?

Posted by seandr on May 13, 2014 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 25

#24

He can Google Bomb all he wants, the law is catching up to him:

EU court backs 'right to be forgotten': Google must amend results on request

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/20…

The next step is come after these childish imbeciles, who cannot argue except with anonymously made personal attacks, with lawsuits. And believe you me, it will happen.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on May 13, 2014 at 12:13 PM · Report this
seandr 26
@25: Ah, thanks to your tip, I was able to figure it out.
Posted by seandr on May 13, 2014 at 12:26 PM · Report this
27
"Most billionaires"

Charles, could you provide a link that supports this claim?
Posted by Chali2Na on May 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Charles Mudede 28
@27, i refer you to @23 and piketty's book.
Posted by Charles Mudede on May 13, 2014 at 1:02 PM · Report this
29
@17, while refusing to rent to people of color is certainly an example of the racism that's gotten him into trouble, I'm pretty sure he didn't make his billions by refusing to rent to black people.
Posted by GermanSausage on May 13, 2014 at 2:21 PM · Report this
venomlash 30
@25: Stop posting here and we'll happily forget you soon enough. Also, you don't know what Google bombing is.
John Bailo Is The Stupidest Mother Fucker On The Planet.
Posted by venomlash on May 13, 2014 at 3:43 PM · Report this
TCLballardwallymont 31
He looks like he has some neurologic issues. His affect is disturbingly like that of some stroke victims. Medication, infection, dementia, brain injury? Whatever the case, he needs a neurological evaluation.
Posted by TCLballardwallymont on May 13, 2014 at 4:42 PM · Report this
32
I think if u look at the IPCC reports on one hand and the pro fatcat distributional behavior of the present political economic situation on the other, and hold the basic fact that more consumption = more carbon emissions in your teeth, or something, @25 is onto something with his contention that surpressed consumption is eco-unkind
Posted by alfresco on May 13, 2014 at 11:54 PM · Report this
Sandiai 33
@31, I just thought he was drunk.
Posted by Sandiai on May 14, 2014 at 6:03 AM · Report this

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