opinion web
Conservative Opinion General Opinion
Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
23 Sep 2015
Grassroots Democracy-Building in Iowa

As Henrik Ibsen said: "You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth." … Read More.

16 Sep 2015
Scott Walker Cuts Higher-Ed Budget, Funds Corporate Welfare

Meet Scott Walker, corporate whore and lousy gambler (with taxpayer money, of course). The Wisconsin governor … Read More.

9 Sep 2015
Buying a President for 30 Bucks and Change

For today's report, I have a bunch of statistics for you. Wait — don't run away! Where are you going? … Read More.

Moneyed Elites Get Richer the Old-Fashioned Way: Stealing


With the 2016 presidential campaigns in full swing the burdens of the working middle class have taken center stage. And believe it or not, there is bipartisan support from the front-runners on a key issue brought up over and over again. Donnie Trump is for it. Hillary Clinton is for it. Jeb Bush is for it. Bernie Sanders is for it. Even Barack Obama is for it. And the American people are overwhelmingly for it.

The "it" that's drawing such broad support is the idea of ending a ridiculous tax loophole that was written by and for the richest, most pampered elites on Wall Street. An obscurely titled "carried interest" tax break allows billionaire hedge-fund hucksters to have their massive incomes taxed at a much lower rate than the one retail workers, Main Street businesses, carpenters and other modest-income people must pay.

Keep that carried interest tax loophole in mind when I tell you this number: 158,000. That's the number of kindergarten teachers in America. Their combined income in 2013 was $8 billion. Here's another number for you: 25. That's the number of America's highest-paid hedge fund operators whose combined income in 2013 was $21 billion. Yes, just 25 Wall Street greedmeisters hauled off $13 billion more in pay than was received by all of our kindergarten teachers — the people we count on to launch the educations of the next generation.

Which group do you think is rewarded by law with the lowest rate of income tax? Right: the uber-rich Wall Streeters! Incredibly, Congress (in its inscrutable wisdom) gives preferential tax treatment to the narcissistic money manipulators who do practically nothing for the common good. Even flamboyant celebrity narcissist Donnie Trump sees through the gross inequality of this tax scam: "The hedge fund guys didn't build this country," The Donald recently barked. "These are guys that shift paper around, and they get lucky. The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder." Indeed, while dodging through this loophole, they pay about half the tax rate that kindergarten teachers are assessed.

In effect, Wall Street's puppets in Congress let this tiny group of moneyed elites steal about $18 billion a year that they owe to the public treasury to finance the structure and workings of America itself.

This privileged treatment of pampered paper and money shufflers over people who do constructive work in our society adds to America's widening chasm of inequality. It's so unfair and unpopular that even Donald, Hillary, Jeb, Bernie and others are saying that it has to go. So it's bye-bye, loophole, right?

Ha — just kidding! Trump can mouth all he wants, but no animal hath such fury as a hedge-funder whose special tax boondoggle is threatened. Trump had barely gotten the word "unfair" out of his puffy lips before the tax-loophole profiteers deployed battalions of lobbyists, PR flacks, and front-group operatives out to defend their precious carried-interest provision. One group, with the arcane name of Private Equity Growth Capital Council, rushed a dozen Gucci-clad lobbyists to Capitol Hill to "inform" lawmakers about the virtues of coddling Wall Street elites with tax favors.

Of course, "informing" meant flashing their checkbooks at key members of Congress. After all, even the loudest blast of political talk is cheap — and it's the silent sound of a pen writing out a campaign check that makes Washington World keep spinning in favor of the rich.

Sure enough, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Orrin Hatch, the two lawmakers who head Congress' tax-writing committees, quickly announced that — the will of the people aside — there would be no repeal of the hedge-fund loophole anytime soon. The inequality that is presently ripping our society apart is not the result of some incomprehensible force of nature, but the direct result of collusion between financial and political elites to rig the system for the enrichment of the few — i.e., themselves — and the impoverishment of the many. There's a word for those elites: thieves.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at



4 Comments | Post Comment
How is it theft if it's perfectly legal? Sadly, the voting public doesn't stay informed of these issues, so the laws stay on the books and there's no accountability for our politicians. We do this to ourselves by not voting out corrupt politicians or demanding term limits.
Comment: #1
Posted by: GL
Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:34 AM
As long as workers vote for Republicans this will never change.
Comment: #2
Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:58 PM

Yeah, Democrats aren't owned by Wall Street. Our Democrat president has really worked toward taxing carried interest as regular income. Wasn't that a campaign promise?
Comment: #3
Posted by: GL
Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:25 PM

Yeah, Democrats aren't owned by Wall Street. Our Democrat president has really worked toward taxing carried interest as regular income. Wasn't that a campaign promise?
Comment: #4
Posted by: GL
Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:25 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Jim Hightower
Sep. `15
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 5 Oct 2015
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 3 Oct 2015
Ted Rall
Ted RallUpdated 2 Oct 2015

1 Oct 2008 Gagging on Wall Street's Bailout

22 Oct 2014 Going From One Bad War to a Worse One

13 Jul 2011 Who Killed the Bluebird of Happiness?