Hedge Fund Billionaires Are Desperately Spending Money to Attack Bernie Sanders

A new advertisement released by Future 45 criticizes Sanders’ proposed minimum wage increase and health care for all.

Source: AlterNet

Author: Susan Lazare

Emphasis Mine

It is no surprise that hedge fund billionaires oppose Bernie Sanders, the U.S. senator and 2016 presidential hopeful who has proposed a .5 percent speculation tax and pledged to tackle wealth inequality.

A new article in the Intercept finds that hedge fund managers have banded together to form their own super PAC, called Future 45, and it has started launching attacks on the Sanders campaign. In a new advertisement circulating this week, Future 45 goes beyond the individual, taking aim at the very tenets of Sanders’ candidacy: a $15 minimum wage, free college and health care for all.

(N.B.: go to link to see video)

Reporter Zaid Jilani notes that the super PAC has some well-heeled backers:

Future 45 is run by Brian O. Walsh, a longtime Republican operative who has in the past served as political director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Most recently, he was president of the American Action Network, a dark money group that was the second-largest outside spender in 2010.

Over the last year, Future 45 has been funded primarily by hedge fund managers. It has received $250,000 each from two billionaire Rubio-backers: Paul Singer, who runs Elliott Management, and Ken Griffin, who runs Citadel.

The Future 45 advertisement, released in the lead-up to the South Carolina primary, is the super PAC’s first to go after Sanders. The organization has produced at least five advertisements since October 2015 criticizing Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, Future 45 is not the only super PAC spending large sums this month. According to the Washington Post, the biggest super PAC backing Hillary Clinton, Priorities USA Action, “is making its first significant foray into the 2016 primary, launching a radio campaign in South Carolina and spearheading a $4.5 million effort to drive early turnout of African American, Latino and female voters in states that hold contests in March.”

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, Sarah co-edited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.


Gross Income Inequality…

From Alternet: by  Les Leopold

Hedge Fund Gamblers Earn the Same In One Hour As a Middle-Class Household Makes In Over 47 Years!

How do they make so much money? Where does it come from? How can hedge fund firms with fewer than 100 employees make as much profit as firms with thousands of employees?
“We live in a very, very rich country. Yet we seem to be utterly consumed by a collective hysteria that we’re about to go broke. Historians are certain to look back at this period and wonder why the richest country in history consumed itself in a struggle over how many teachers to fire.

How rich are we?

Just take a look at the latest reports on what the top hedge fund managers haul in. In 2010 John Paulson led the list with a record $4.9 billion in personal earnings. That’s a whopping $2.4 million an HOUR. Here’s a factoid to make you wretch: It would take the median US household over 47 years to earn as much as Paulson pocketed in just 60 minutes. And, every hedge fund manager pays a lower tax rate than the average family.

The top 25 hedge fund earners took in $22.07 billion in 2010. Thanks to a generous tax loophole these billionaires will pay a top tax rate of 15 percent instead of 35 percent. Closing that loophole on just those 25 individuals – just 25 guys who wouldn’t miss a penny of it — would raise $4.4 billion, which is enough to rehire 126,000 laid-off teachers.

Wait a sec. This is America, not Russia. Don’t we want our entrepreneurs to go out there and earn as much as possible? We don’t want to punish the successful who are building up our economy, do we?

Maybe that’s a strong argument when you’re talking about the CEO billionaires of Apple and Google and other successful companies that make products we use. But when it comes to financial billionaires, we don’t even know what they do for a living.

Each and every day I ask people and I get a blank stare or something like: “They invest. They make money.” Sure enough, but how do they make so much money? Where does it come from? How can hedge fund firms with fewer than 100 employees make as much profit as companies like Apple with tens of thousands of employees?

This much we know. They speculate. The place bets. They jump in and out of markets at lightening speeds. They have secret betting formulas just like card counters in Vegas. And as any state attorney general can tell you, a good number of them cheat by betting with illegalinsider tips, front-running trades, sneaking in trades after markets close and so on. The entire industry is barely regulated as it plays with a bankroll of $2.2 trillion that comes mostly from enormously rich investors. You can bet the next crisis will bubble out of this vast and murky casino.

I have yet to hear a convincing argument that financial billionaires produce economic value commensurate to what they earn. And if they don’t, that means they are siphoning off the wealth from the rest of our nation. Either we do something about it or we’ll watch our standard of living crumble.

Blah, blah blah. We’ve heard it all before. We know that super-rich financiers are gaming the system. We know they pay low taxes or none at all. We know they’re stashing their cash in offshore accounts. But now that the economy isn’t crashing anymore, it seems there’s nothing we can do about it. We just have to learn to live with a new kind of aristocracy. Get used to it.

Maybe not.

There’s a movement underway for what economist Dean Baker aptly named a “financial speculation tax.” The idea, first put forth by the late James Tobin to raise money to help eradicate global poverty, is to place a very small tax on all financial transactions. Here’s how Baker’s Center for Economic and Policy Research describes it:

The FST (also known as a financial transactions tax or the Robin Hood tax) is a modest set of taxes on Wall Street trading – e.g. 0.25% (1/4 of a percent) on a stock purchase or sale and 0.02% (1/50 of a percent) on the sale or purchase of a future, option, or credit default swap. These rates are proportional to the actual transaction costs in the industry….

Each time I write about these issues, my editors worry that you, the readers, have given up — that nobody believes it’s possible to fight Wall Street and win.

Well, I’m not giving up on you.”

Emphasis Mine.

see: http://www.alternet.org/story/150570/hedge_fund_gamblers_earn_the_same_in_one_hour_as_a_middle-class_household_makes_in_over_47_years?akid=6823.108242.QFQEdp&rd=1&t=2