Obama’s America – Episode # 257 – One More Year

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It’s President Obama’s Final Year
happy-new-year-2016

It’s President Obama’s Final Year
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By Arthur Piccolo

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Dec. 30, 2015: Can you believe the final year of the Obama Presidency is coming up?

Before he and Michelle cash in Big Time beginning in 2017, I have already predicted Barack and Michelle will eclipse the current Money Winners Bill & Hillary, to become the first Billionaire former First Couple.

So how should President Obama spend 2016, and how will he?

At midnight on Thursday in Paradise in Hawaii, surrounded by his Elite Inner Circle when here on the East Coast it will already be 5AM New Year’s Day, what will be on Barack’s mind as he offers a New Year’s toast?

Wait a minute … what a coincidence-  just as I am beginning this end of year episode my first and foremost media partner The New York Times surprises me with a new article they just posted titled ….

“For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions”

Thank you New York Times; just when you think you know how corrupt and unfair it is in America today this article proves it is worse still. Nothing absolutely new here but the Times reporters drilled deep to identify just how abusive the super-rich are and the control they have.

Why am I so “excited?.” Because this article provides me a powerful hook with which to evaluate the final year of the Obama Administration! First a disclaimer – I do not contend that President Barack Obama approves of our ever more fatally flawed tax system in fact he is on the record opposing many of these tax avoidance schemes.

But that is the real point! SO WHAT after 7 years of Obama the concentration of wealth in America is even greater than when he became President and the fact is Barack Obama has been very muted in his criticism and certainly never names names of the greed merchants who take advantage of the rest of us in every way possible?

Digging even deeper and even more to the point this concentration of wealth combines with these super wealthy greed merchants manipulating the tax system to get even richer and leave the rest of us with the bill – is part and parcel with every problem we face as a nation. Our Greed Society manifests itself in racism, poverty, mental illness, homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, a bastardized educational system, ghettos, etc., etc. , etc. ..

So here is one ‘perfect’ example of what President Obama might do of tremendous value during his final year as opposed to what he will do. The difference is glaring and one more way to characterize the profound FAILURE of President Obama for 7 years and will soon be 8 of failure.

So right now while President Obama is out on some swanky and very exclusive Hawaiian golf course playing a round with a few members of the same exclusive  “club” Barack is a member the Rich & Powerful – too bad Rahm Emanuel could not be there but that is another story and earlier episode – anyway as Obama plays golf I will write this new episode.

But let’s not forget about the new New York Times article that just got me so excited. I will quote from it to give readers full context why it works so well for this end of year episode of Obama’s America. Here we go …

“With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means.”

Again ….

“With inequality at its highest levels in nearly a century………..

and public debate rising over whether the government should respond to it through higher taxes on the wealthy, the very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes.”

More….

“Operating largely out of public view — in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service — the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans.”

Again ….

“The wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans.”

More ….

“Two decades ago, when Bill Clinton was elected president, the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012, when President Obama was re-elected, that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually, when payroll taxes are included for both groups.”

Again ….

“By 2012, when President Obama was re-elected, that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually, when payroll taxes are included for both groups.”

More …

“Each of the top 400 earners took home, on average, about $336 million in 2012, the latest year for which data is available. If the bulk of that money had been paid out as salary or wages, as it is for the typical American, the tax obligations of those wealthy taxpayers could have more than doubled.”

“Among tax lawyers and accountants, “the best and brightest get a high from figuring out how to do tricky little deals,” said Karen L. Hawkins, who until recently headed the I.R.S. office that oversees tax practitioners. “Frankly, it is almost beyond the intellectual and resource capacity of the Internal Revenue Service to catch.”

“The combination of cost and complexity has had a profound effect, tax experts said. Whatever tax rates Congress sets, the actual rates paid by the ultra-wealthy tend to fall over time as they exploit their numerous advantages.”
More ..
“From Mr. Obama’s inauguration through the end of 2012, federal income tax rates on individuals did not change (excluding payroll taxes). But the highest-earning one-thousandth of Americans went from paying an average of 20.9 percent to 17.6 percent.”

“We do have two different tax systems, one for normal wage-earners and another for those who can afford sophisticated tax advice,” said Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of San Diego who studies the intersection of tax policy and inequality. “At the very top of the income distribution, the effective rate of tax goes down, contrary to the principles of a progressive income tax system.”

ENOUGH!!

The New York Times article online Tuesday and in print Wednesday is very LONG with tremendous detail. I have offered enough to re-make the point that we all know the super-rich are screwing the rest of us. America is not a democracy but a plutocracy where the rich rule everything.

Now I have already offered President Obama’s defense. It’s not his fault. He is not responsible for this abuse. He wishes it was otherwise. Let me bring Obama buddy Rahm Emanuel back for a moment. It is like the Mayor of Chicago arguing he is not responsible for police abuse. That it is beyond his control. So why does he deserve to be Mayor and what good does that do?

Back to Obama. The subject of this week’s year end episode is what will Barack Obama do with the final year of his Presidency which I will answer by way of the example of the super-rich and The Times expose today.

What President Obama could FINALLY do with the final year of his Presidency is to spend 2016 traveling our nation highlighting just this sort of abuse and the fatal danger of the ever increasing concentration of wealth and the outrageous manipulation of the tax code by the super-rich.

I don’t care whether or not Congress – bought and paid for by the super-rich – will do anything at all in response. That is not the point. Obama uniquely as President still has the POWER to inspire outrage across the land and a swelling demand for change that would have a profound impact.

But President Obama will not do that nor make other such profound statements about any of the problems in America and the shredding of our social fabric. Obama will not RE-IMAGINE America for a far better future.

Why? Because Barack Obama has too big a stake in the Status Quo as much as he wants us to think otherwise.

Barack and Michelle are not going to become Super-Rich after leaving The White House by him complaining pointedly and specifically about the Super-Rich in America – they need to become Super-Rich themselves.

Happy New Year to the rest of you and NOT the Super-Rich!

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About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.

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