Background Briefing: April 15, 2019
On Tax Day Trump Hides His Returns While He and Jared Pay No Taxes
On this tax day we begin with an assessment of how unfair our tax system is with the president, who claims to be a billionaire, placing himself above the law refusing to disclose his taxes, as he and his son-in-law Jared Kushner pay little to no tax while most of the IRS’s resources are focused on auditing middle and low income folks trying to make a living. Meanwhile the rich and powerful hire politicians to cut the budget of the IRS to ensure it doesn’t have the manpower to audit the one tenth of the 1% who pay no tax or as little as possible. Edward McCaffery a professor of law, economics and political science at USC and author of “Fair Not Flat: How to Make the Tax System Better and Simpler” who is the founder of The People’s Tax Page, joins us to discuss his article at CNN “As America files its taxes, Trump’s only worry is disclosure”. We assess how much our skewed tax system contributes to a growing income inequality which has the country reverting back to the Gilded Age at the beginning of the 20th Century, and whether there should be a tax on spending by the rich, particularly on political campaigns. Now when average folk donate to a Democratic politician, Trump and the Republicans can target that person based on their F.E.C. declaration to punish Blue States with higher tax rates, while the oligarchs can use 501C-4 dark money vehicles to donate unlimited funds in secret to buy their politicians wholesale.
Could Mayor Pete Revive the Religious Left to Challenge the Religious Right?
Then with the sudden emergence of Mayor Pete as a viable presidential candidate, we will look into the possibility of a revived religious left challenging the religious right who dominate the Republican Party and are shaping the judicial branch with social conservatives who are chipping away at the wall between Church and State while empowering the rich and corporate America. Dr. Ryan Burge, a Professor of Political Science at Eastern Illinois University whose research focuses on the intersection between religiosity and political behavior in American politics, joins us to discuss whether the real story of the prophet Jesus can be weaponized by the left to retrieve the Bible from the clutches of the religious right.
Trump’s Threat to Close the Border Unless Mexico Stops Drugs Entering the US
Then finally, with Trump, urged on by Stephen Miller, getting more outrageous with his rhetoric and reckless with his actions over the border, we will go to Mexico City to speak with Ioan Grillo, who has reported from Latin America since 2001. His latest book is “Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America” and he joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times, “Trump Can’t Blame Mexico for Our Drug Problems” and whether Trump will make good on his threat to close the border unless Mexico stops drugs coming into the U.S.