• John Hawkins Of RWN Interviews Jason Mattera on CRAPITALISM

    From RWN…

    I was excited to get an opportunity to interview Jason Mattera about his extremely well researched book, “Crapitalism: Liberals Who Make Millions Swiping Your Tax Dollars.” What follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation:

    I thought Solyndra’s George Kaiser was a particularly interesting chapter in the book because he’s one of these liberals who claims the tax system isn’t progressive enough and we all need to pay more taxes; yet he has manipulated it to the max.  At one point you said he was moving up the national list of billionaires while he said his taxable income was $11,699. Tell us a little bit about that.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right.  Here is someone in George Kaiser who’s a complete phony and a hypocrite, says the tax system isn’t progressive enough, and he employs a multitude of schemes, all legal, to insure that his tax burden is as low as possible.  So here’s a man who, while he was rising up the billionaire ladder on Forbes’ list, was on record only making himself less than minimum wage.

    How does that happen?  Well, he does the sort of schemes similar to what he employed with Solyndra.  Solyndra, as we know, went bust.  The taxpayers were forking over hundreds of millions of dollars, but George Kaiser, because of his political access, was able to rewrite the investment contracts and restructure it in order that he would get paid out first.  And with him getting paid out first, he was able to take whatever losses he incurred from investing in Solyndra and carry it over to future income.

    That’s how people like George Kaiser, who whine about how the taxation system isn’t progressive enough, bill taxpayers on the frontend for these green energy boondoggles like Solyndra and then if it doesn’t work out, they’re able to have massive tax write offs on the backend for many future profitable enterprises.

    But George Kaiser’s main charity, actually as a public charity, and you know I really encourage people to go and read in CRAPITALISM how that also helps his, his bottom line in his enterprise.  He’s able to rake in a lot of money, pay very little taxes because of these schemes that most people don’t really know and don’t understand, but which we detail very heavily in CRAPITALISM.

    Now, you went into great detail about a significant number of politicians.  You talked about a lot of them that are using their positions to get rich.  Talk about some of the sleazy ways these politicians are making money at our expense.

    Yes, many of the politicians we profile love to talk about how they’re looking out for the little guy and for the middle class, and it’s the exact opposite.  They trample on the little guy every chance they get, and rather than look out for the middle class, they’re engaged in these redistribution of wealth schemes that help themselves fatten their own wallets — and the rest of us are holding the bill.

    So, how does someone like Representative Greg Meeks live like a fat cat?  He’s a congressman out of New York; he actually on his financial disclosure forms paints himself as this broke gentleman.  And there is very little money in his bank account; so how do you, how do you make up for that?  Well, you drive a taxpayer-funded Lexus for $1,000 a month.  That is correct — $1,000 a month, we’re paying this dude to drive around in a Lexus.

    He uses his status as a congressman to gobble up Super Bowl tickets every year; he purchases tens of thousands of them.  He calls it a campaign, you know, a fund raising event.  I call it partying at the Super Bowl.  He actually got a campaign donor to offload a home, sell him a home that was $400,000 below market rate; again, nothing shady about that.  But here’s one instance of Greg Meeks, a congressman people may have never heard of, but here’s a guy using his perch in Congress to live like a fat cat while the rest of us suffer from the miserable oppressive laws that he enacts.

    And there are others we talk about — Harry Reid, Maxine Waters — individuals who again love to champion the middle class, talk about how they’re champions for the middle class. They love to talk about how the Koch brothers are undermining democracy and rigging the game in their favor and yet the very exact criticism that was said about the Koch brothers could easily be a summary of Harry Reid’s career and could easily be a summary of Maxine Waters’ career.

    Read the rest of Hawkins’s interview with Mattera here

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