Home > Uncategorized > Robert Reich suggests 5 ways to abolish billionaires

Robert Reich suggests 5 ways to abolish billionaires

from Ken Zimmerman

Robert Reich suggests that one thing we could do to deal with these problems is to abolish billionaires. Robert, lays out the ways billionaires are able to accumulate that much money. First, monopoly. We can address this by vigorously enforcing anti-trust laws already on the books. Second, copyrights and patents. Robert suggests shortening these by half or more. Third, insider information. Here we need to both enforce fines to take away all the money gotten in this way, and in egregious cases send those who seek out and use such information to prison. Fourth, pay off politicians. This screams for Congress to take private money out of elections completely. And long prison sentences for those convicted of giving and receiving private money wouldn’t be a bad idea. This was accomplished during the 1970s after the last major government scandals. But Americans seem to constantly forget history. Fifth, inheritance. Again, a problem addressed before. High inheritance taxes and a limit on the amount that can be inherited address this problem. These are not revolutionary changes. We’ve done them before in the US. But 50 years of propaganda by the American oligarchy have reversed most. We need to address them now before another 50 years of propaganda makes them impossible to even conceive.


  1. Patrick Newman
    July 9, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Sixth – Big rewards and protection for whistleblowers. It is almost inconceivable that billionaires have acquired their wealth by being scrupulously honest and law-abiding but we need the inside information and evidence. Seventh – apply severe sanctions against tax havens – this could include the UK and Ireland!

  2. July 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    8: Tax income from unearned investments at a higher rate than income from labor. In many countries it pays less tax. Eliminate special provisions for capital gains and dividends. Tax capital gains on accrual, not just realizations.

    9. Tax incomes over $10 million (the top marginal income bracket) at 70%. In the US, this would raise $720 billion over 10 years, as proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    10. Top income bracket tax rate of 73%. Doubles income taxes on the top 1%. In the US, this would raise $3 trillion over ten years, as proposed by Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez.

    11. Tax annual wealth: 2% on assets over $50 million, 3% on assets above $1 billion. In the US, this would raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years, as proposed by Elizabeth Warren. Affects 0.1% of American households. Supported by 61% of Americans, including 50% of Republicans.

    12. A progressive lifetime capital receipts tax, including inheritances. In the US, as baby boomers die their inheritances will reach $100 trillion over next 30 years. A $50 tax on each $1 million of wealth would fund free college education for all. Allow a lifetime receipts tax allowance of $250,000, then apply a 20% tax, 30% for receipts above $1,000,000.

    13. Cap billionaires’ wealth at $5 billion. 100% tax on all subsequent income.

  3. July 9, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Too late.

  4. Helen Sakho
    July 10, 2019 at 12:57 am

    Far “too late” I am afraid. They have condemned endless billions (there and everywhere) to unbearable pain over a long time and thought nothing of it. No-one can demolish them, especially now. The only thing that can is a huge climatic catastrophe, caused by them, but then again, they will take billions with them.

  5. Grayce
    July 11, 2019 at 2:09 am

    “They will take billions with them” is true under present understanding of money, credit and bankruptcy. The little holder can lose to the big holder. But why is there such a high flow of entrusted value flowing “up”? Are the numbers on paper accounts and money substitutes like bitcoin always and everywhere redeemable?
    Someone should redefine “money.” Some economists hold that only a sovereign government can issue dollars as “money,” but banks create new deposits out of credit that they themselves extend. Sometimes they overextend. The balance on the books of money lent and new money “deposits” for the creditor expands the illusion of ever more “money” in circulation. But banks cannot create dollars. The value of the borrowed money is largely based on trust all over the place–savers trust the bank to return their deposits on demand, borrowers trust that the extended credit dollars are just as good as dollars issued by the government, but yet most of that is the house of cards also known as a “promise to pay.”
    The risk is on all of us because at the corporate level, the FDIC and PBGC will pay when reserves for funding delayed comp fail. The money that should have been set aside for the failed funds did not go into thin air. It was spent instead on something else, including executive bonuses for a target bottom line. Any such bonus, pocketed and left to heirs, is really due to be repaid. We need a jubilee of dollars every 49 years to account for too many layers of trust and promise, and unpack some of the layers. In practice, bigger borrowers, paying out development money after receiving the value of goods and labor, after extracting the rent, overhead and profit, after escaping taxes by offering benefits but continuously chiseling off post-retirement benefits in the same year as the tax break, those bigger users of borrowed funds are the alchemists who turn legal tender into un-taxed inheritance.

  6. Rob
    July 14, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Robert Reich is a national treasure. I started following him many decades ago. His remedies are wise and may we be wise enough to seek to make them reality.

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