As I’ve mentioned previously, Roots Action is an activist group I happily allow to gain entrée into my inbox. Even on the rare occasions when I disagree, their messaging is always informative and concise, and their target selection is spot-on. (More on the group here.)
Today’s missive concerns a bill being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressdude Jimmy Gomez called the 99.5% Act, and provides a link to send a letter to the Goldman Sachs puppets on Capitol Hill who pretend to represent your interests and those of your fellow citizens who reside in your congressional district and state. The letter urges these assholes to get on board with this bill.
Hahaha. Yes, I know.
But! Surely readers will recall my diatribe on the benefits of doing so anyway.
To summarize, the upsides include but are by no means limited to experiencing the sheer joy of knowing that, unless you’re writing to Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, this Jimmy Gomez dude, the Squad or another exceedingly rare good egg, you will almost certainly be annoying the shit out of some anti-left congresscritters! I mean, just picture them snorting and scoffing at your and your fellow cosigners’ “naïveté,” dismissively thinking you have no fucking clue how ‘Murikkka actually works (to say nothing of their reelection campaigns). Except, you absolutely do. C’mon, it can’t just be me whose heart simply sings with happiness, however fleeting, at the thought of raising the blood pressure of (in my case) Chuck fucking Schumer.
Further, you would be simultaneously helping to shift the Overton window on this issue, which, in case you just came out of a multi-decades-long coma, urgently needs every pound of pressure per square inch it can get to move the goddamn thing left. FWIW, my theory is that for better and for worse, political winds are just as subject to the butterfly effect as any other weather system.
One of the features I particularly like about Roots Action’s campaigns like this one is that you can add to, modify or even replace their text before plaguing your personal politicians with it. As you might guess, I tend to take full advantage of such opportunities.
Now you could just take my word for it and go sign the thing and get on with your day. But since you’re highly unlikely to be simultaneously (a) a reader of this blog and (b) an authoritarian follower, Roots Action will herein inform you about what exactly you’d be supporting. (All emphasis in original.)
Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Jimmy Gomez are introducing the 99.5 Percent Act, which would raise hundreds of billions of dollars that could be directed into the obvious human and environmental emergencies, while simultaneously preventing plutocracy.
The richest 1 percent of people in the United States own nearly 32 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 50 percent (half the country!) own just 2 percent of the wealth, according to the Federal Reserve.
The 99.5 Percent Act would tax only a fraction of the wealthiest 1 percent, and only after they were dead, only at a very reasonable rate, and taxing wealth that had mostly never been taxed as income.
Scholars have concluded that the United States is an oligarchy in which government policy is largely determined by a wealthy elite.
A growing percentage of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the United States had nothing personally to do with becoming wealthy.
Claims that fixing this with a restored estate tax would harm family farms are simply not true. Claims that preventing royal dynasties would hurt economic competitiveness are less sensible than claims that a billionaire needs another yacht, and more in line with claims that each of a billionaire’s grandchildren needs multiple yachts.
The public gets it. Polling shows strong support. Now all we have to do is get Congress on board. Click here to email your Representative and Senators.
[In case you have difficulty making out the caption there, it reads:
“We can fund human and environmental needs and prevent plutocracy by putting a tax on what the top fraction of 1% inherit. (No, that’s not the White House. It’s one of Jeff Bezos’ houses.)”]
Chuck Collins, Director of the Program on Inequality for the Institute for Policy Studies, has commented: “Over the last two decades, the estate tax has become weakened and porous, thanks to billionaire dynastic families that spent millions lobbying to save billions. This culminated with Trump’s 2017 tax reform that raised exemptions to over $22 million for a couple.”
The Sanders-Gomez bill would close loopholes that allow mega-wealthy families to reduce their estate tax liability or avoid the tax altogether.
After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
— The RootsAction.org Team
>> Americans for Tax Fairness: “51 National Organizations Urge Support of the Sanders-Gomez Estate Tax Reform Bill: ‘For the 99.5% Act'”
>> The Federal Reserve: “Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S. since 1989”
>> The IRS: “Estate Tax”
>> BBC: “Study: U.S. Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy”
Oops, I almost forgot – the letter! The second paragraph below is the Roots Action boilerplate, and the first is all mine. (And all yours, too, should you wish to use, misuse, abuse, improve, ignore or adapt it.)
To: [Senators and Representative]
Subject: Estate Tax
Have you ever noticed that those who speak the loudest about their belief in the exceptional merits of “bootstrap economics” and the “American Dream” almost never want their own children to enjoy for themselves our wonderful, character-building meritocracy? If hard work led to success and upward social mobility in the U.S., day laborers would be living in the penthouses of Park Avenue while the displaced idle rich went begging in the streets. I know it, you know it, and millions of people who once bought into it know it too. The system is rigged by the wealthy, for the wealthy. Are you willing to do anything about that?
As your constituent, I urge you to cosponsor and support and promote the 99.5 Percent Act. The richest 1 percent of people in the United States own nearly 32 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 50 percent (half the country!) own just 2 percent of the wealth, according to the Federal Reserve. The 99.5 Percent Act would tax only a fraction of the wealthiest 1 percent, and only after they were dead, only at a very reasonable rate, and taxing wealth that had mostly never been taxed as income. We do not need royal dynastic power. We do need funding for human and environmental emergencies.
On behalf of the rest of humanity, do your part and go annoy some assholes today.