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Traitors to Their Class

Ralph welcomes Morris Pearl, chairman if Patriotic Millionaires, an organization of high-net worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who think the country would be more politically stable and businesses more profitable if they raised their own taxes. And our resident constitutional scholar, Bruce Fein, returns to tick off fourteen reasons why Donald Trump is a clear and present danger and should resign immediately.

Morris Pearl serves as Chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, a group of hundreds of high-net-worth Americans that focuses on promoting public policy solutions that encourage political equality, guarantee a sustaining wage for working Americans, and ensure that millionaires, billionaires and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Mr. Pearl used to be a managing director at BlackRock, one of the largest investment firms in the world. He retired to work for Patriotic Millionaires full time. Patriotic Millionaires has a book coming on in April of 2021 called Tax the Rich: How Lies, Loopholes, and Lobbyists Make the Rich Even Richer and What to Do About It.

“It’s not good for (rich people), either to have this gross inequality. We can’t invest in businesses and make money in a country with a few rich people and lots of poor people. We need that huge middle class that made America what it is for decades and decades. And we’re afraid that things are changing and moving in the wrong direction. People are marching in the streets and people are angry. I’m old enough to have seen this play out in South Africa in the 70s and 80s. And that did not end well for the rich people.”

Morris Pearl, Chair of Patriotic Millionaires

“Somehow, the Republicans have made up this crazy story that they have to make a choice between paying taxes or paying salaries, and if we raise their taxes we have to lower their salaries. And that’s simply the most ridiculous idea I’ve heard of, but somehow people believe it. Taxes are only calculated on profits. Profits are calculated after payroll is deducted. And so, it doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Morris Pearl, Chair of Patriotic Millionaires

Bruce Fein is a Constitutional scholar, who was Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan. Mr. Fein has been a visiting Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the Heritage Foundation and an adjunct scholar at American Enterprise Institute. He has advised numerous countries on constitutional reform, including South Africa, Hungary and Russia. He is the author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy, and American Empire: Before the Fall.

 

“It’s like a soft coup d’état. [Donald Trump has] basically transformed the country from a Republic into something indistinguishable from the British monarchy in 1776. Limitless power. The King can do no wrong.”

Bruce Fein, author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy

“Americans can’t wait ‘till January 20, because [Donald Trump] can wreck the country in the interregnum.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 347 Transcript (Right click to download)

12 Comments

  1. Thadd says:

    How can you start a sentence with “And” ?

  2. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    For the longest time I’ve been under the impression that Ralph’s old book “Only the Super Rich can Save Us!” was just a work of satire. But I guess I wrong… Ralph is advocating for full-on class collaborationism here? Capitalists aren’t going to make their system stable and caring out of the goodness of their hearts. For every “patriotic millionaire” there is a more ruthless member of the ruling class that can outcompete the meeker millionaire and more effectively exploit their workers’ labor, obtain more surplus for themselves than the meeker millionaire, and more effectively control society. They are only too compelled to engage in their anti-social behavior by the system of market competition. When is Ralph going to give up on this fantasy of widespread nobility among the ruling class? Is Ralph just hoping for one of these especially enlightened members of the ruling class to seize power, defeat the rest of their peers, and become one of Plato’s imaginary philosopher kings? It strikes me as a very medieval attitude.

    With regards to Bruce Fein’s segment, is it really “injustice” to throw war criminals in jail? Or is it perhaps a profound injustice that thugs like Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton can target hundreds of civilians with extrajudicial drone murder, bomb seven different countries in 8 years, overthrow a country with the highest standard of living in Africa and bring back slave markets, and then top it all off by drinking a glass of water in Flint on camera while the lead crisis there STILL remains unresolved and hundreds of other US municipalities have even more lead in their water than Flint… That these thugs can leave office, cash in on payments for services rendered for their backers, and then become ten and even hundred millionaires? Does Bruce Fein’s conception of justice include justice for their victims? President of the United States is a lawless office and will be held by criminals as long as we continue to refuse to hold them accountable for their crimes. Donald Trump exists because Barack Obama refused to prosecute the criminals of the Bush presidency. Donald Trump is not some shocking new development in presidential overreach, he’s followed a steady stream of escalations in criminal presidencies since at least Harry Truman. Focus on the person over the system at your own expense.

    Ralph should really consider getting Howie Hawkins on the show AFTER the election, when he is no longer a candidate. He has some really good insights into third party organizing and their history that interviewers sadly never ask him about.

    • Demetrio says:

      Very good points, particularly about Ralph’s fantasy of benevolent millionaires coming to the rescue. IF they did, it would be for ulterior motives. As for Howie Hawkins, he and the green party are a bad joke ever since the Jill Stein fiasco. We do need more parties, but unless there’s a groundswell of average Americans demanding changes to the eligibility rules, both parties will continue to clamp down.

  3. Jeff S says:

    Ralph, just a friendly comment on the idea that Trump told people to vote twice: That’s simply not true. You should have called out that misrepresentation on your show. I am no fan of Trump but to suggest that’s what he was saying is just simply erroneous. And I know you didn’t make that statement, but your guest, Bruce Fein, did and it did not get challenged.

  4. Mark Hughes says:

    Interesting interview. For now I will forget that we are hearing from a rich person as to how to fix the problems of the poor.

    This whole notion of every dollar being paid in taxes is one more dollar not being paid to their employees is and always has been fiction even in the minds of Republicans. They don’t truly believe in that crap and they know it. Like with Democrats, the Republicans pitch lies to the people, and for some reason after all the time that’s passed & all the evidence that’s shown otherwise, regular people still believe in this con job. If I were to put arbitrary numbers on it, for every dollar that businesses do not pay in taxes, that’s 25¢ more they allegedly pay their employees. At least Pearl is publicly calling it out for what it really is, a total lie. He also calls out trickle-down economics as a lie also. So I can’t fault him for those, and those are whoppers in terms of mainstream American ideology.

    We can talk about all the tax evasion and what not but in aggregate, wealth is a product of exploitation of the mass of people. Human exploitation is the core, always has been, whether it’s capitalism, feudalism or slavery as much as the lines blur among those. Tax evasion, lobbying pressure and all the rest or peripheral to exploitation. Pearl gets oh-so close to this point when he says “profits are calculated after payroll is deducted”, but as all rich people they stop short of delving into that topic. Why? Because as a class they’re guilty of it. Because wealth (viz. not money) is finite, it creates poverty. Poverty exists not because the poor don’t work hard enough or that they’re not educated enough or whatever, it exists only because of the pursuit of endless wealth by other. But then again we are not people being exploited for the gain of someone else, we are “payroll”. The very term strips the very harsh, inhuman reality from the core problem and puts a professionalized veneer on it.

    And can we stop with this neoliberal propaganda that employers are “job creators“? No employer starts a business to employ others, they start it to exploit others.

    §

    On the discussion with Fein, I’m glad Ralph stated that this problem of lawlessness and corrupt freedom in the Oval Office spans Republicans and Democrats. I’m all for bashing Trump, but in doing so too many people cease seeing these problems as systemic.

    On Congress, Fein is somewhat incorrect when he said Congress is supine and so on; but only to its donors. Otherwise it is corrupt, and now you can definitely add lazy to the growing list of Congressional character flaws. This so-called legislative body has long handed war powers over to the Oval Office as this discussion talked about, and over the past 2 or 3 decades has also been farming out its legislative work to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, lobbies write bill templates and give it to Congressmembers, all they or their aids have to do is fill in the blanks (like the field “state” for example, if ALEC’s long history of bill-writing and influence is any indication). Fein might be more correct than he possibly knows when he says that Congress has “basically abdicated its role as legislator”. It’ll stick around to confirm a Supreme Court justice nominee but not to help the American people during 1) a pandemic and 2) the worst economy in the country’s history possibly outside of the fallout of the Civil War. It’s amazing how little it does. McConnell, Pelosi, Scalise, Liz Cheney, Feinstein, Richie Neal (he’s a big one), Graham, Schumer, Manchin, Nunes, Tillis, Burr, even Bernie & The Squad. Failures all. Those few who aren’t flat-out corrupt are incredibly weak and therefore prone to corruption.

    I’m also perfectly fine with going after Obama, Holder and so on for their criminality. But you also have to go after Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, etc.

    Perhaps the biggest reason that the Oval Office is out of control, as Fein correctly says, is because of Congress.

    • Demetrio says:

      I have to punch a hole in your socialist/communist balloon. Wealth is finite? Give me a break. It ain’t. It used to be–before the advent of the stock market, wealth was based on real estate (finite) and precious metals (scarce). Today, you can be wealthy without owning any of the two.

      • Mark Hughes says:

        We live on a finite planet, land (i.e., real estate) therefore is limited. As are precious metals, there’s only so much of that on this one planet. As for the stock market, that’s based on the fiat value of money and a little else. It’s certainly not grounded in a real economy.

        Wealth is resources, money is just money. Money is what you make, wealth is what you own. Once you realize that wealth and money are not the same, then you’ll understand. Because money is useless if you don’t use it to purchase actual wealth.

  5. Don Harris says:

    Profits are only calculated after payroll is deducted… with other expenses.

    Payroll is considered an expense. Lower expenses means higher profits.

    The problem is that the power lies with the employers as the workers need the jobs to survive.

    That is why we need to level the playing field with a BMI. While some citizens may be satisfied with basic survival, most will want to work to improve on basic survival.

    But they will not have to survive on that money so they will not be in a position for the employers to exploit the workers.

    As for taxes we should have a progressive flat tax with a percentage allocation of funds. This combines all the income based taxes (income tax, social security tax, unemployment tax and medicare tax) into one tax with no deductions.

    Note: the thresholds and percentages are just to describe the idea.

    The first ten thousand a person earns is tax free whether that person earns ten thousand or ten million dollars.

    The next ten thousand is taxed at 1%. The next ten thousand is taxed at 2%. This continues until a maximum percentage is reached.

    The money collected is then split by percentage to different budget items, say 20% for social security or BMI, 20% for infrastructure, 20% for defense, etc. so citizens would be able able to see how their taxes are being used.

    Of course, none of this could even be considered until we get the big money out of our political process because the big money interests find the current system more profitable.

    And this can only be accomplished by ordinary citizens forming a citizen watchdog group in each congressional district to demand small donor only candidates and enforce that demand with our votes.

    These groups could work to register citizens at a national website that they are committing to only vote for small donor candidates in the 2022 election. They could also register to commit to contribute to these small donor candidates.

    Just ten percent of voters registering would be a significant voting block and could pledge over 1 billion dollars to candidates with just 100 dollars pledged by each participant.

    This could inspire many candidates to run as small donor candidates in 2022 to get those votes and the money.

    This could inspire more citizens and candidates to participate with each election cycle until it reaches a point when enough citizens are participating that it will change the dynamic from the current you need big money to compete or win to you can’t win if you take big money.

    If this had been started in 2016 or even 2018 the dynamic for the 2020 election would be much different than it is now instead of more of the same.

    If we start now we could get 10% of citizens registered by January of 2021 so it can be effective in the 2022 primaries.

    This is exactly what you say citizens should be doing, yet you have not offered citizens the opportunity to explore and/or participate in this approach since 2015.

    I have followed your advice on how to get someone such as yourself to address such an idea (One Demand) since 2015 but none of it has worked on you. Even reaching you directly by calling in to Washington Journal on 10-24-2018 when you said you would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss this idea has not yielded a positive result or even an explanation of why you will not address the idea or have changed your mind about having me on the Radio Hour.

    I do not have the degrees that most of your guests have, but I do have the 98.6 degrees of an American citizen which should be all the degrees required to have an idea and have that idea entered into the public discourse.

    The question is where do you want to be in 2024?

    Do you want citizens to have a choice between small donor candidates and big money candidates or more of the same false choice between big money candidates?

  6. Ann Binder says:

    How can we request a transcript of the show? Especially Bruce Fein’s segment?

    • Skro35 says:

      It should be up by the end of the day. Look for all transcripts linked just above the audio player. Thanks for listening!

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