Yes, we were. But by 1988 Rush Limbaugh was on the air, some of the tax increases didn’t phase in for a few years, and all the media was basically on the Republican side. The giant corporations had just gotten the largest tax break in the history of the world and so they weren’t criticizing Reagan at all. Including the giant news corporations.

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Aug 4, 2022Liked by Thom Hartmann

I was a kid in the 80’s and wasn’t concerned about any of these taxes being raised on working folk.

How did Reagan and his cohorts get away with this? Were people not pissed?

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Aug 4, 2022·edited Aug 4, 2022Liked by Thom Hartmann

So well said and written! Excellent points as usual. Your actions sound like they could be a very effective counter. Thank you for putting this forward. I hope it gets taken up by Dems and pushed forward. I wish working class/middle class republicans would get a clue that they vote against their own interests. But Republicans using manipulation to push the fear & shame buttons in people to think that any sort of government that protects people is somehow taking away freedoms and creating a victim mentality. Meanwhile swindlers like Johnson & Scott are stealing taxpayers hard earned dollars.

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It seems to me that the real freeloaders in our society are the morbidly rich. They believe they are entitled and want everyone else to pay for their lifestyle. All these tax lower income people ideas are stupid as well as sociopathic. They literally don’t have anything to tax, whereas people like criminal fraudster, Rick Scott, could afford taxes. These evil, hateful ideas put forth intentionally to hurt people make me so angry.

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Another point is that there did seem to be a lot of waste and corruption in government when Reagan came to office, only a few years after Watergate, and many people on both sides of the aisle wanted to "drain the swamp" as much back then as in 2016. His lop-sided grin and cowboy demeanor made people think he was to be trusted, and that he had a point in trying to weaken government and allow business to "do its thing," as though it were a moral force for righteousness that would always lead to prosperity if just left to follow its "noble" lights. A lot of this was presented to the public as a way of allowing the small business owner and entrepreneur an easier time, with fewer regulatory hurdles to either establishing or growing their businesses. Much less if anything was made of the benefits to multinational corporations and the very rich. And NAFTA was still more than a decade down the road (waiting for a Democratic administration to establish). It was also the Cold War, and the official dichotomy of the time was communism bad/capitalism good. Capitalism was equated with American values. There were prescient people at the time that saw where it was heading - even Reagan's VP, GHW Bush, called it "Voodoo Economics" when he ran for president, although he was a whole-hearted supporter and beneficiary - but the average person and many politicians and pundits back then had neither 40 years of hindsight nor direct experience with 11 years of Citizens United to guide their thinking.

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Leave it to the twisted tortured logic of the Republicans to try to tell you that low income and poor people need to pay more taxes to have skin-in-the-game. Like they are not out there busting their butts every day to make this country livable for everyone. Providing the needed goods and services don't count to people like Romney, Johnson, and Scott.

Paying for programs to begin with isn't enough for these jerks, they want us to pay a second time when we use them. This is tragic for people, because things like unemployment are usually only 2/3's of normal income with no withholding. Then they get hit between the eyes at tax time! The states decide how it works and how much, so we all know how that can vary.

Essential workers are the SKIN and the GAME. They don't need to be taxed twice to understand what America is all about. What an important message, Thom.

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Aug 4, 2022·edited Aug 4, 2022

I am stunned to see how much damage Reagan (aka, "Benedict Ronald") got away with.

I want to sound a warning of another scam against Social Security that Republicans will try to impose:


There are sooo very many massive problems "privatizing Social Security" would cause, including subjecting everyone to the stock market's wild swings, and putting the financial security of retirees into the hand of Wall Street pirates - those folks who gave us the Great Recession.

But the greatest stubborn fact that nullifies and obliterates all schemes of privatization is this:

There is not enough money in America to put into individual secure savings to fund even the present average Social Security check of $18,000!!! Consider that 330,000,000+ citizens would need to each save over 1/2 a million dollars to provide themselves with a decades long annuity for that mere $18,000 average. 330,000,000 people needing to save $500,000 in their working years each means over a period of time, $165 Trillions somehow much wind up in individuals' retirement savings.

That will never happen.

There is not enough money in America to privatize Social Security.

Consider other stubborn facts that prove privatization is impossible:

If you can find reliable/accurate total values for the US stock market, the residential and commercial real estate markets, and private savings, add them all up, and the total paper value will fall far short of the real money required for savers to fund their Social Security checks. Then consider these "capitalization and paper values" fluctuate wildly, and are known to lose trillions in a matter of weeks, privatization will effectively force many people into poverty, because their private savings plans will suffer massive losses. Look at how the US "market cap" has fallen this year. And remember the 2008-2009 market meltdown, when stocks and real estate caused losses of 50% for too many people. Meanwhile those who had savings watched their incomes drop when interest rates collapsed in the effort to stimulate the economy. The fact is during that period Social Security was a savior for many retirees.

Nevertheless, Republicans will come for our Social Security. To prepare for the onslaught of lies, "arguments", sound bites, smoke and mirrors, and "denigration of government" rhetoric, this essay at the Heritage Foundation gives us a taste of what is coming. Study it to know how to combat this now.


PS, another important consideration:

Wages are not high enough for all Americans to save $500,000 during their working years. I suggest using a financial calculator to learn how much money one must save each year to eventually have $500,000. Achieving this is even more problematic when considering the fluctuations of interest rates over one's working years.

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Here's your outside-the-box thinker, not attacking problems head-on where everybody clashes, but looking for what could change the fundamentals and create a different playing field. One idea is FIRESIDE CHATS a la Roosevelt's. It could be like the Ice Bucket Challenge where it becomes fashionable to make videos. Lots of celebrities doing them. Good people talking to the country to get the human family united. Such bottom-line sense could be made that we might get billionaires in huddles to help and CEOs would get off shareholder value as their sole guide.

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Thom, they want the Social Security trust fund. they are pirates. and this is the biggest chunka change EVER ! it is what the "constitutional convention ' scheme you recently wrote about is really all about. it is far too much money for these crooks to ignore. thank you for years of trying to point out that these wall streeters are just crooks.

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Gobsmacked! I had no idea it was up to 61% not even qualifying! Surely there must be a breaking point near, where the gov't is drowning in the bathtub, and the overlords can just collect tribute directly from the serfs! I am all conspiracy theory over the current inflation as a crowning maneuver to convert holdout owners to renters. Man, this is a deep pit to dig out of.

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The USA has about $141 Trilliion in net household wealth. Net. That fact needs to be cited every time we discuss what we can afford.

But there seems to be some embargo on even saying it out loud. Debt? That we can wail about all day long.


Social Security gets paid out first, and that should continue. We have the money.

In 2021, as I read it, the USA collected about $4 Trillion in revenue. About $1.1 Trilion was Social Security; about $2 Trillion was income taxes. The rich pay half of the income tax, they wail, but as you say, Thom, that’s not the half of it.



Robert Reich has a good bit regarding being a trustee of Social Security, when the other trustees laughed at him when he asked about the trust fund and running out. ( imagine mock indignance ) Payroll taxes are deposited in the general fund and used for paying the obligations of our federal operations.

Social Security is an investment in our federal enterprise, and our federal enterprise owes us dividends in the form of retirement benefits when we reach that age. ( Arguably, yes, sooner )

I haven’t seen a calm, faithful accounting of where Social Security payments went from the beginning, versus what was paid out. They went to tax cuts for the rich, for sure, and there was a ferocious surplus for many decades.

Last year, it looks like Social Security very nearly broke even, on its classic pay-as-you-go cash basis. As you say, Thom, pay people more, get more taxes, including SSI.

It has seemed to me that we could model the USA as a mutual benefit insurance cooperative. Whole life. Socialist, that would be called, but anybody who calls insurance companies socialist should be . . . well, I leave it to you. It’s profoundly capitalist, if labels are what thrills you.

Thom, thanks for your decades of heartfelt and grounded efforts, dedicated incredible daily grit, insights and revelations and inspiration, very good to find you here — b.rad

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All though I started before Thom Hartmann He has a much better way of putting across the economic and social facts of the last 50 years. I deal more in actual negotiations. for knowledge is a very powerful weapon. What is not know is often a more powerful negotiations tool than what is brought forward. I try to do the same thing using Proff Richard Wolff. He is a world renown economist. His teachings are the very basis of my economic education I was taught at U of M when OHSA was created by Each of the two u of m professors and former Fed. Chairman and fellow Allen Greenspan. Greenspan chose to sit next to me during class and also after class at Blazo's where I, for reasons I truly do not know why, was invited to attend. Other heads of departments at UofM became regulars also at these late night and early morning twice weekly sessions. They lasted two years. I received a very rare UofM certificate, no degree even though I had two years excepted UofM credits from Schoolcraft Community college. I think my Accounting teacher at Schoolcraft must have had something to do with me being invited for these sessions of some of the best education anyone ever in any college could possibly get. that accounting teacher, also a attorney was Henry Ford's 2nd personal account and attorney. I was by far the worst student in that 4 semester accounting class. It was the very next to last class of the third semester before I was ever asked to answer a single question in class. Stanley that accounting teacher knew my family history better than I did. None of this was at the time known to me. My last name is Polish and very distinctive. Stanly on that day he actually asked me, the dumbest student, I am sure to ever get to 4 semesters of accounting in the history of education; knew my Aunt. My aunt was Henry Fords personal secretary and a close friend and associate of Stanly. From that night on Stanly and I walked to gather to the parking lot. By the end of the 4th semester by association only, Stanly was asking me questions in class as any other student, not the class dunce. I worked very hard to pass that accounting class. I even put a lock on the basement door from the inside to keep my three kids from bothering me trying to study what was very difficult for me to become proficient at accounting. This was very crushing to me some couple of years later when President Reagan destroyed the accounting and tax system that had made this country for economic King of world history.

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That makes total sense!

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