sábado, 15 de fevereiro de 2014

Tom Perkins is desperately trying to extend his 15 minutes of infamy.

Tom Perkins: People With More Money Should Get More Votes

Posted: 02/14/2014 9:39 am EST Updated: 02/14/2014 11:59 am EST

Tom Perkins is desperately trying to extend his 15 minutes of infamy.

The 82-year-old venture capitalist, who recently made a lot of people angry by comparing progressives to Nazis, told an audience in San Francisco Thursday that people who pay more money in taxes should get more votes.

"The Tom Perkins system is: You don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes," Perkins said during an event hosted by Fortune's Adam Lashinsky. "But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How's that?"

The audience responded to his claim as any sane humans would: with laughter. After all, that’s not really how democracy works. And not that Perkins would care, but his proposal wouldn't really be fair given that poor Americans already fork over a larger share of income to Uncle Sam than their richer counterparts, according to a 2013 report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Unfortunately, Perkins wasn’t joking around, telling the CNNMoney reporter offstage, "I intended to be outrageous, and it was."

Perkins is no stranger to outrage, and it seems like he’s starting to kind of like it that way. The Internet freaked out last month after he argued in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that there are parallels between progressive activists’ “war on the American one percent” and Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews. Even the firm he co-founded, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, was quick to distance itself from his controversial comments.

“This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking,” Perkins wrote in the letter. “Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”

Perkins ultimately kind of apologized for his comments, telling Bloomberg TV that he was sorry he used the word “Kristallnacht” -- a reference to the 1938 attack on Jews in Germany and Austria that was a precursor to the Holocaust. Still, Perkins stood by the gist of his letter, while showing off his super expensive watch.

What’s more, other people said out loud in public that they agreed with Perkins’ sentiment. Rich guys from real estate mogul Sam Zell to billionaire Wilbur Ross piled on, claiming the one percent is getting picked on unfairly. The WSJ also stuck by Perkins, writing in an editorial that while his Nazi comparison was “unfortunate,” “the liberals” lack of tolerance for rich people is verging on dangerous.

This post has been updated with more recent data on tax rates from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

What This 1-Percenter's Support For Democrats Tells Us About Campaign Finance
Paul Blumenthal
Posted: 02/14/2014 3:45 pm EST Updated: 02/14/2014 5:59 pm EST / http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/14/tom-perkins_n_4789759.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013

WASHINGTON -- Tom Perkins, tech industry investor and the Paul Revere of the "war on the 1 percent," used to give money to and advise Democratic politicians. But since the financial collapse of 2007-2008 and the election of President Barack Obama, Perkins has given more than $80,000 to Republican candidates and political committees.

It's a case in point for how the current campaign finance system incentivizes candidates and party leaders to make connections with individuals who have dramatically different views than the party faithful. As parties seek bigger donations, they need to set policy priorities to conform to the views of the biggest donors.

Over the past 20 years, the Democratic Party has sought to cultivate big money donors in the financial sector. It's done this in various ways, from supporting deregulation of the industry in the 1990s to currently avoiding issues like the taxation of carried interest or financial transactions, and leaving the writing of Dodd-Frank rules to compromised and besieged enforcement agencies.

But in recent years, Perkins and many previous donors to Democratic candidates have shifted their giving to the Republican Party, which has fine-tuned its political appeals to the growing class of plutocrats still aggrieved by Democratic policy and President Obama's labeling of bankers as "fat cats."

In January, Perkins emerged as a voice of this aggrieved plutocratic class when he compared denunciations of the wealthy in America to Nazi Germany's Kristallnacht, the assault on Jewish neighborhoods that marked the beginning of the Holocaust. More recently, Perkins stated that the right to vote should be weighted depending on one's annual income.

But prior to his recent turn as star super-villain, Perkins could have been mistaken for a liberal based on some of his political contributions and connections.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Perkins raised large sums for President Bill Clinton's two presidential campaigns and contributed $3,000 to Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) campaigns. In 2008, he gave $2,300 to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

As Pelosi was on the verge of becoming speaker of the House in 2006, a San Francisco Chronicle article listed Perkins as one Silicon Valley heavyweight with "long-standing ties" to the San Francisco congresswoman.

Of course, these contributions do not indicate that Perkins was ever a liberal. In 2000, he donated to the presidential campaign of Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne. An investor himself, Browne ran on a platform of eliminating Social Security, the minimum wage, the Federal Reserve and basically every government program and regulatory office. Perkins also made a $10,000 contribution to the Republican National Committee in 2000.

Rather, they're an example of the reality for candidates running for political office, who spend countless hours raising money to fulfill both their own campaign's needs and to fill the coffers of their political party's committees.

Perkins isn't the first Nazi-invoking plutocrat to drop their support for Democrats following Obama's election. The Blackstone Group's Stephen Schwarzman used to make occasional donations to Democratic politicians until 2009, when the party pushed for financial reforms and discussed raising taxes on the rich, including on carried interest. Schwarzman likened these tax increases to "when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939."

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