'Tis the season for the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy's "10 Things You Should Know on Tax Day." Roll call! American taxes are actually fairly low, and everyone pays them! The Republican tax "reform" gives most of its cuts to the wealthy! Tax cuts for the rich and corporations don't create jobs! The number of folks who pay the Estate Tax is now absurdly low! Plus charts.
Pursuant to the point that tax cuts for the rich and for corporations don't actually create jobs, Sam Pizzigati relates the story of Toys "R" Us's success during the New Deal era and its recent bankruptcy at the height of the let's-not-tax-corporations era. Once the highest tax bracket dropped to around 28 percent, "(b)ehaving entrepreneurially in the classic sense -- identifying an unmet consumer need, meeting that need with style and panache -- would now not be enough for many of America’s wealthiest. Patiently building up a business could eat up too much time. Behaving ruthlessly could pile up the millions quite a bit quicker." And so it went for Toys "R" Us, which squeezed advertisers, manufacturers, and workers, made its CEO very, very rich, and fell prey to private equity vultures.
Dean Baker reminds us that the relatively poor performance of Harvard's endowment over the last 10 years proves that "Hedge Fund Managers Get Rich Even When They Mess Up." Add that to the relatively poor performance of certain state pension funds who have apparently been bamboozled into thinking hedge fund managers know what they're doing! If they're not handing work to hedge fund managers out of sheer corruption, of course. Tha Bush Mobb taught us, I hope, to consider the possibility that what looks like incompetence might just be malice.
Alleged "moderate" Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) says he'll resign his seat in the coming weeks, rather than at the end of his term. And you know what that means: another special election in Pennsylvania! And the last one went so well for Republicans! Voters will fill the 15th district seat (much of which will go into the new 7th district, once the new district maps take effect with the general election later this year) as early as July -- or as late as November, though that latter option sure sounds like a recipe for mass confusion. Usually I'd say Republicans are better at exploiting chaos, but I don't know anymore. They've had a lot more practice lately, and seem to be worse at it.
Finally, CNBC catches Goldman Sachs analysts asking if "curing patients" using gene therapy is "a sustainable business model." They cite the example of Gilead Sciences's massive sales drop after developing a very good Hepatitis C treatment, one with a cure rate over 90%. More cures means less patients, you see! And there you have the very reason we are a sick, immoral, and decadent society: Our Glorious Elites don't say curing Hep C is something we ought to be doing because it's an unqualified good, like we do -- they wonder if it can make money. Thus gene therapy research might well give us eugenic manipulation, which only the rich would be able to afford, but not cures for diseases regular folks get, because only the former "makes money"! Are we actually in an episode of Black Mirror?