Trump has some new taxes for you.
A worker from Peru’s state-run oil company tries to hammer a piece of wood into a gaping hole in the country’s northern pipeline. He fails. Repeatedly. The oil continues to gush with alarming speed and force. Dead fish float belly-up in the black slime.
By the time the spills were stopped this August, over 4,000 barrels of oil had poured into a tributary of the Peruvian Amazon – source of a fifth of our planet’s fresh water. Dozens of indigenous villages were left without drinking water and children were covered in angry rashes.
Leonardo Tello, director of a local radio station, produced a report illustrating these horrific images. He is angry, frustrated and heart-broken. Over the past 19 years the government has registered 190 spills, most affecting the Amazon rainforest.
From Reagan to Roosevelt, tax fairness continues to fluctuate along with our elected leaders.
With all the debate over Donald Trump’s tax-dodging, I’ve been wondering how taxes have played into presidential politics in the past.
For some answers, I turned to Bob McIntyre, head of the nonpartisan research and advocacy group Citizens for Tax Justice. For 40 years, McIntyre has been on the frontlines of efforts to make our tax code fairer.
When asked what American president he considers the worst on tax fairness, his initial response was “Yipes, there are so many.”
After some consideration, he bestowed that honor on Ronald Reagan, whose 1981 tax act slashed taxes on the rich.
Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency, he has ridden a wave of right-wing populism to become the Republican presidential nominee. Throughout this entire process, he has adopted a protectionist, anti-immigration, and nativist political platform. While Trump’s success in politics has shocked the American public, his rise is only part of a global trend towards protectionism as political parties like UKIP in the UK, the National Front in France, and AfD in Germany have steadily gained in the polls. All of these protectionist political parties claim that their policies will “make their country great again.” However, there is no economic basis to these claims and implementing these protectionist policies will cause severe damage to the global economy.
Since the end of World War II, the world has rapidly become more globalized and connected. However, since the 2008 Financial Crisis, the world has experienced a period of unprecedented economic stagnation, leaving hundreds of millions of people impoverished and facing a bleak future. Unfortunately, this has fostered political discontent and extremism throughout the world. Like previous times of economic hardship, this has encouraged the rise of nationalistic, right-wing political forces that have rejected globalization. The rise of the Brexit movement in the UK and Euroskeptic political parties reflect this trend.
It was only days after Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination that the mask (such as it was) came off. Suddenly he was telling multiple interviewers that he could be talked into raising taxes, boosting the minimum wage, and printing enough money to pay the national debt in cheap dollars.
“On my plan [taxes are] going down. But by the time it’s negotiated, they’ll go up,” Trump said. “In my opinion, the taxes for the rich will go up somewhat.”
As for the minimum wage, he talks like Obama, completely uninterested in market forces, as if what people are paid is purely at the discretion of political managers: “I think people have to get more… I don’t know how you live on $7.25 an hour.”