Who’ll Help America’s Hard-hit Gold Miners?

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower Author, Commentator, America’s Number One Populist

These are hard times for America’s gold miners, who’re scrambling to get ahead, but seeing their pay dropping.

Take Bob Mercer, who’s been a top miner for years, but last year even Bob was down. He pulled in only $125 million in pay. Can you feel Bob’s pain?

Well, these are not your normal miners. They are hedge fund managers, digging for gold in the Wonderland of Wall Street. Indeed, if you divided Mercer’s pay in his “bad year” among 1,000 miners doing honest work, each would consider it a fabulous year. Nonetheless, hedge funds are almost literally gold mines, although they require no heavy lifting by the soft-handed, Gucci-wearing managers who work them. These gold diggers are basically nothing but speculators, drawing billions of dollars from the uber-rich by promising that they will deliver fabulous profits for them. But the scam is that Mercer and his fellow diggers get paid whether they deliver or not.

Their cushy set up, known as 2-and-20, works like this: (1) Right off the top, they take 2 percent of the money put up by each wealthy client, which hedge fund whizzes like Mercer keep even if the investments they make are losers; (2) if their speculative bets do pay off, they pocket 20 percent of all profits; and (3) hedge fund lobbyists have rigged our nation’s tax code so these Wall Street miners pay a fraction of the tax rate that real mine workers pay.

Last year, the 25 best paid hedge fund operators totaled a staggering $11 billion in personal pay – even though nearly half of them performed poorly. Meanwhile, Donald Trump – who promised last year to close that special hedge-fund tax break, is now promising to give an even bigger break to them. Guess who was one of Trump’s most generous funders last year: Bob Mercer.

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Reposted from The Hightower Lowdown.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Jim Hightower

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

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Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon

Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon