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Trump tells the UN: 'I will always put America first'

President Trump urged his foreign counterparts on Tuesday to put the security of their own countries first, much as he intends to do as the leader of the U.S., during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly.

"Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights and to defend their values," Trump said.

"As president of the United States, I will always put America first. Just like you as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always put your countries first," he added.

At the 72nd annual gathering of diplomats and foreign leaders from 193 countries, Trump emphasized state sovereignty as a foundation for global peace and prosperity.

"Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures, and different dreams not just co-exist but work side-by-side on the basis of mutual respect," the president said. He added that sovereign states "let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny."

The president touted the U.S. as an example of a strong, sovereign nation that has declined "to impose our way of life on anyone."

"Rather, [we] let it shine as an example for everyone to watch," Trump said. "In America, the people govern, the people rule, and the people are sovereign."

WASHINGTONEXAMINER.COM

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-tells-the-un-i-will-always-put-america-first/article/2634862

 

The Growing Danger Of Dynastic Wealth

White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, former president of Goldman Sachs, said recently that “only morons pay the estate tax.” I’m reminded of Donald Trump’s comment that he didn’t pay federal income taxes because he was “smart.” And billionaire Leona Helmsley’s “only the little people pay taxes.”

What Cohn was getting at is how easy it is nowadays for the wealthy to pass their fortunes to their children, tax-free.  

The estate tax applies only to estates over $11 million per couple. And wealthy families stash away dollars above this into “dynastic” trust funds that escape additional taxes. 

No wonder revenues from the estate tax have been dropping for years even as wealth has become concentrated in fewer hands. The tax now generates about $20 billion a year, which is less than 1 percent of federal revenues. And it applies to only about 2 out of every 1,000 people who die.

Now, Trump and Republican leaders are planning to cut or eliminate it altogether.

There’s another part of the tax code that Cohn might also have been referring to – capital gains taxes paid on the soaring values of the wealthy people’s stocks, bonds, mansions and works of art, when they sell them.

If the wealthy hold on to these assets until they die, the tax code allows their heirs to inherit them without paying any of these capital gains taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this loophole saves heirs $50 billion a year.

The estate and capital gains taxes were originally designed to prevent the growth of large dynasties in the U.S. and to reduce inequality.

They’ve been failing to do that. The richest 1 tenth of 1 percent of Americans now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

Many of today’s super rich never did a day’s work in their lives. Six out of the ten wealthiest Americans alive today are heirs to prominent fortunes. The Walmart heirs alone have more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined.

Rich millennials will soon acquire even more of the nation’s wealth. 

America is now on the cusp of the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth in history. As wealthy boomers expire, an estimated $30 trillion will go to their children over the next three decades. 

Those children will be able to live off of the income these assets generate, and then leave the bulk of them – which in the intervening years will have grown far more valuable – to their own heirs, tax-free.

After a few generations of this, almost all of the nation’s wealth will be in the hands of a few thousand families.  

Dynastic wealth runs counter to the ideal of America as a meritocracy. It makes a mockery of the notions that people earn what they’re worth in the market, and that economic gains should go to those who deserve them.

It puts economic power into the hands of a relative small number of people who have never worked, but whose investment decisions will have a significant effect on the nation’s future.

And it creates a self-perpetuating aristocracy that is antithetical to democracy.

The last time America faced anything comparable to the concentration of wealth we face now, occurred at the turn of the last century.

Then, President Teddy Roosevelt warned that “a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power,” could destroy American democracy.

Roosevelt’s answer was to tax wealth. The estate tax was enacted in 1916 and the capital gains tax in 1922.

But since then, both have been eroded. As the rich have accumulated greater wealth, they have also amassed more political power, and they’ve used that political power to reduce their taxes.

Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, helped create a movement against dynastic wealth. Trump and today’s congressional Republicans will not follow in his footsteps. I doubt even today’s Democrats would do so if they had a chance. Big money has become too powerful on both sides of the aisle.

But taxing big wealth is necessary if we’re ever to get our democracy back, and make our economy work for everyone rather than a privileged few.

Maybe Gary Cohn is correct that only morons pay the estate tax. But if he and his boss were smart and they cared about America’s future, they’d raises taxes on great wealth. Roosevelt’s fear of an American dynasty is more applicable today than ever before.

 

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HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-growing-danger-of-dynastic-wealth_us_59bf193ae4b0edff971d1766?section=us_contributor

Supreme Court Puts Redrawing Of Texas Electoral Maps On Hold

An ideologically divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday handed a win to Republicans in Texas by putting on hold rulings that said electoral districts drawn by state lawmakers discriminated against minority voters.

On a 5-4 vote, with the court’s conservatives in the majority and the liberal justices dissenting, the court in a brief order blocked two different lower court decisions that found fault with both congressional districts and state legislative districts drawn by the Republican-controlled state legislature.

In August, a federal court in Texas struck down two Republican-drawn congressional districts saying they were discriminatory and ordering new maps to be drawn ahead of elections in 2018.

The court said the 27th and 35th congressional districts were drawn in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. Texas has 36 districts, with Republicans holding 25 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrats 11.

The August decision and a similar ruling on the state legislative districts will both remain on hold, meaning no new districts will be drawn in the interim while the high court considers Texas’ appeal in the cases.

Voting rights advocates say the Republican lawmakers drew up the districts to undermine the influence of racial minority voters, who typically show more support for Democrats than Republicans.

 

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READ MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/supreme-court-texas-electoral-maps_us_59b8d9a7e4b02da0e13d674b?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009