B1 Intermediate US 29 Folder Collection
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The season of giving is officially here and look,
I know it often seems like Americans are self-obsessed, narcissistic, and vain,
and that's because we are.
We're obsessed with ourselves. Think about how pissed off you get
when your phone doesn't recognize your face.
You're like, “Excuse me, Apple. Do you even know who I am?”
But it's important to remember Americans are also incredibly generous.
Last year, Americans donated $428 billion.
We're home to some of the biggest charities in the world.
United Way, Red Cross,
and of course, Go Fund Me,
the best way to help your friend get used DJ equipment.
Now, American charities even gave us those star-infested music videos.
-♪ We are the world ♪ -♪ We are the world ♪
-♪ We are the children ♪ -♪ We are the children ♪
♪ We are the ones who make a brighter day So let's start giving ♪
♪ Start giving ♪
♪ Stand tall, stand proud... ♪
♪ Voices that care ♪
Wait, wait, if you're trying to save the world,
your first thought shouldn't be, “Get me Jon Lovitz.”
He's like, “Kuwait. You're welcome.”
Now, here's what's strange, though.
Despite taking in record donations last year,
the actual number of Americans giving to charity
has been falling for almost fifteen straight years.
But the total share of donations coming from the ultra-rich is skyrocketing.
By one estimate, 30% of all charitable donations this year
are expected to come not from the top 1%,
but the top half of the 1%.
This is the penthouse on top of the penthouse.
These are the people who hire Elton John to babysit.
Which is a symptom of a much bigger problem,
wealth inequality.
Now, it's at historic levels.
The 400 richest Americans own more wealth
than the bottom 150 million adults.
Now the rich don't want us coming after them with pitchforks,
which is why you see this sort of thing.
I've committed to a $100 million challenge grant.
-$100 million? -$100 million.
Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo!
Michael Bloomberg making a huge donation,
$1.8 billion with a “B”
to John Hopkins University.
“The philanthropist Robert Smith
shocking the graduates
with an unexpected gift.”
My family is making a grant
to eliminate their student loans.
Okay, wiping out that debt
was only the second best part of that video.
The best part of that video is the guy's reaction in the corner.
...to eliminate their student loans.
Also, billionaires, come on. Stop giving out money through grants.
That shit's boring. I want to see cash exchanging hands.
Just once I want to see Warren Buffett giving out money like Drake.
♪ It's a lot of bad things That they wishin' and wishin' ♪
♪ And wishin' and wishin' and wishin' On me ♪
♪ Hey! ♪
♪ She say, “Do you love me?” I tell her, “Only partly” ♪
♪ I only love my bed and my mama I'm sorry ♪
Hey, you didn't think Buffett could go hard, right?
That's him on the weekend.
Now, it feels good watching good things happen to good people.
That's why we love when rich people donate to scholarships,
low income housing, school laptops, mosquito nets, and divorce settlements.
Look, I know it's sad,
but they can both afford to buy fresh brains with new memories.
But look, there's still a lot that's missing from this picture.
We always talk about how the rich make their money.
Right? But we almost never scrutinize how they give it away.
And that matters
because giving money away is one of the main ways
they justify being so rich to begin with.
That's why I want to talk about big philanthropy.
'Cause on paper it sounds great, right?
Rich people are trying to make the world a better place.
But are billionaires really going to save us?
And it is it worth everything that we give up
by letting them even be so rich?
Look, I'm not sure. 'Cause when you look at the big philanthropy-big picture
a little closer, there's a lot of problems.
For example, according to one estimate,
only about 9% of grant money makes it to communities of color.
9%. That's not good.
Now, look. I'm not saying charity is bad.
When you Venmo 200 bucks to a homeless shelter, that's a good thing.
But big philanthropy goes way beyond basic charity that you and I do.
It's a whole system of financial tools and products that help the rich
give away their cash in ways that benefit them.
From pooled income funds to private foundations,
which help rich donors pay less income, estate and capital gains tax.
Then there's something called DAFs or Donor-Advised Funds,
which Silicon Valley loves.
Donor-Advised Funds are kind of like
checking accounts for charities.
So, you put money in,
you get an immediate tax write-off
for the full amount.
Then you donate the money
to an actual charity later,
often much later because the money is
allowed to sit in the fund indefinitely.
Okay, that guy's collar is so tight,
I swear he's trying to hide a bad neck tattoo.
They're like, “Hamburger Helper?
What were you thinking, Robert?
How often do you eat it?”
So you can donate to a DAF,
take the tax break, but not actually send the money to a charity for years,
which might be why DAF donations have almost tripled since 2007.
Nothing triples that fast
except the number of songs Kanye writes about Jesus.
Philanthropy doesn't just mean donations to traditional charities.
It also includes gifts to so-called “civic groups,”
or 501(c)(4)s, which promote social or political causes
while letting you keep your donations anonymous.
Yeah, anonymous.
Because nothing says the spirit of giving more than,
“Keep my name the fuck out of this.”
Now it's all perfectly legal with very little oversight,
and it helps billionaires change the world however they want.
And the kicker?
They get to pay less taxes.
Take Nicholas Woodman, the CEO of GoPro.
The only camera endorsed by downhill skiers
and Uber drivers afraid of being murdered.
Now, when GoPro went public in 2014,
Woodman was suddenly worth around $3 billion
and faced a tax bill in the tens of millions.
So when GoPro stock was near its peak,
Woodman and his wife gave $500 million
worth of stock to a DAF within a foundation,
which saved them millions of dollars in taxes.
But within months, GoPro started tanking.
So the value of their donation also started tanking,
but Woodman still got his $500 million tax write-off,
which he totally regretted.
A lot was made of how much money you are making, your foundation,
how much you were giving to the foundation.
There was a lot of controversy around that.
-Yeah. -Do you think that was fair?
No, but I also understand, um...
how the world works.
Ultimately, it's not whether it's fair or not.
Um, it's just...
uh, how you manage it and I try not to get too caught up in in all of that.
My man's like, “Don't hate the player, hate the inequitable financial structures
that incentivize unmitigated tax avoidance.”
Fair, but my problem is this.
How did he find the only thing
that looks dumber on your head than a GoPro?
Just... I can't.
Rich, just lower it, just...
Ah! There we go!
You're 44 years old, wear your hat like a normal person.
Billionaires avoiding taxes.
Look, just 'cause it's legal doesn't mean it's right.
It's like hosting a costume party called “Mysteries of the Orient.”
You can do it,
but don't.
This is why more and more people have been criticizing big philanthropy.
People like Anand Giridharadas, the best-selling author of Winners Take All.
You gotta lock yourself in a room to write a book.
There's a little window in my room. It just looks at the brick wall.
It's painful writing a book.
So, Anand, you write a lot about...
attacking the rich and yet you look like Stanley Tucci in The Hunger Games.
Wow. I have been told this before.
But you're the first person to ever take it
from Twitter troll responses
to an actual in-person interaction.
Why have you dedicated yourself to criticizing the ultra-rich?
Over the last few years, I noticed something
that profoundly offended me.
We live in this time in which rich people are everywhere.
Giving back, trying to change the world, make a difference, etc.
You came in, and you're like, “I don't trust that.”
Well, I also noticed a second thing, which didn't square with the first thing.
The same group of people who has lobbied for,
fought for, clung to an economy of injustice
have marketed themselves to us
as saviors, as in fact the solutions to the very problems
they are still busily causing.
They are getting public credit for solving,
and the causing never gets the same notoriety.
Now obviously, he isn't a fan
of the impact billionaires have on the rest of us.
So I asked him a question that's been making the rounds
with the presidential candidates.
Should we have billionaires?
I do not believe we should have billionaires.
What about black billionaires?
I like black billionaires more,
but the same system that allows there to be billionaires
is disenfranchising way more black people and all people
-than if we didn't have that. -So you want to check Oprah, Jay-Z
and Beyoncé and that one black dude who gave away all his money
-Yes. -and paid off everyone's college student debt?
You know, that's a perfect example.
Robert Smith was widely celebrated, and then it was revealed that Robert Smith
had defended this indefensible carried-interest tax loophole
that benefits private equity and people in his industry.
Okay, so this carried-interest loophole
pretty much only benefits hedge fund and private equity managers
like Robert Smith.
Now, here's how it works.
Robert Smith runs about a $50 billion fund.
Now when he makes his investors a profit, he gets to keep a big cut,
potentially, hundreds of millions of dollars.
It's pretty great.
But unlike you or me,
Smith doesn't have to pay income tax on those millions.
Instead, thanks to the loophole, he only has to pay capital gains tax,
which is way less.
Carried interest is the finance version of, “Hey, it happened on vacation,
so it doesn't count as cheating.”
Everyone know that's bullshit.
Cabo sex is still cheating.
But Smith has defended carried interest, which only makes income inequality worse.
Now, honestly,
I didn't know about any of this stuff when I spoke to Anand,
so I didn't take it very well.
What I am calling for is a world in which, yes,
the Robert Smiths will make and keep less money.
Come on. Now, you want to cancel Robert Smith?
We have made choices as a society
to be more friendly in our system to the Robert Smiths of the world
than to the 400 kids he helped.
Wait, can I just-- Why can't I just enjoy one NowThis video?
Like, when I saw that video on NowThis, I was like, “Robert Smith is awesome.”
There's better NowThis videos.
Next, you're going to tell me is that AOC's into dogfighting.
Don't fucking ruin everything for me.
Don't worry, AOC isn't into dog fighting,
but Bernie can't seem to get enough of it.
I know, I didn't see it coming, either.
Some of you guys are like, “Is that real?”
He's like, “Shih Tzus are the 1%.
They need to go. They're the 1% of dogs.”
Look, at the end of the day,
a rich philanthropist supporting a tax loophole isn't surprising,
but it's touches on one of big philanthropy's most insidious benefits,
“reputation cleansing.”
Remember what happened to John Schnatter?
You guys probably remember him by his formal name,
“Papa.” Now, last year,
Papa had to resign because he said the n-word
on a conference call.
So he thought a little philanthropy would make everything okay.
“Papa John's founder has donated a million dollars
to a historically black college
in Kentucky,
more than a year after getting backlash for using a racial slur.”
My life's work is to help make other people's lives better.
Nah, your life's work was making Pizza Hut seem like a good option.
Let's be real.
He was just like, “My life's work was garlic sauce and improving humanity.”
No, it wasn't, bro.
Obviously, Papa John isn't even close to the worst of it.
Think about what we've learned about the ultra-rich in the last few years.
They have fueled the opioid crisis, funded climate deniers,
amplified climate deniers, profited from propaganda,
weaponized propaganda,
one even drowned a British waiter.
The rich are fucked up, and all we got was gripping television.
Go Team Shiv.
All of these people have benefited from philanthropy.
The worst being the Sacklers.
Founders of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, who made billions
off the opioid epidemic, but then they slapped their name
on every popular museum that you can think of,
which Anand believes had far-reaching consequences.
-My bet is anybody watching this, -Yes.
who knew the Sackler name over the last ten years,
knew it because of the arts
-before they knew about the opioids. -Yeah.
Every museum, it's like, Sackler Museum.
So, the question is, what work was it doing
that their name was getting out there as an arts family?
It distracted people. It created a smokescreen.
So you're telling me the arts donations they made
laundered their reputation long enough
so they could continue pumping opioids into regular people.
Look where the arts donations are.
It's where people who report for the media live.
It's where influential academics live.
It's where government regulators live.
They are supporting arts wings that they hope you and I might go to
on a Saturday,
and therefore, acquire in the very back of our mind
some sense that these are fine people, and for a long time, it worked.
Joke's on them.
I spend my Saturdays at the zoo.
Here's the thing.
Rich people using philanthropy to shape their legacy isn't new.
It's been a concern since the Gilded Age, when modern philanthropy began.
Back then, people worried that big philanthropy
would give the rich immense power over society.
That sound familiar?
It goes back to Andrew Carnegie, at that time, America's richest man.
Carnegie wrote the revolutionary essay,
The Gospel of Wealth, which honestly,
doesn't really sound like a treatise on philanthropy at all.
It sounds like a monster collab with Meek Mill.
But in it,
Carnegie insisted that the rich are obligated to help the poor.
Which is good.
But he also said that they should use their superior wisdom
to help the poor better than they would or could themselves.
Do you understand what he's saying?
Rich people are smarter than us dum-dums,
so they should save us and shape the world how they see fit.
And some people still feel that way today.
There are growing calls to address these inequalities,
particularly the wage inequality, with more taxes.
Michael Dell, do you support this?
You know, my wife and I set up a foundation,
uh, about twenty years ago,
and we would have contributed
quite a bit more than a 70% tax rate.
I feel much more comfortable with our ability as a private foundation
to allocate those funds than I do giving them to the government.
I know what you're thinking,
“Look, it's the last person who still uses a Dell computer.”
You might also be thinking,
“Come on, real talk. Like, the government sucks.
It's inefficient. Why would you want to give your tax money to them?
So what's wrong with smart billionaires just going out there?
They have better SAT scores than us.
Just go out there, fix the world for us.”
Let me answer it this way.
Do you guys remember when Michael Jordan decided to play baseball?
He was the greatest of all time, but at one thing.
The same thing goes for billionaires.
Just 'cause you succeed in one field doesn't mean you'll succeed in another.
Take education.
Remember when Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million
to public schools in Newark, New Jersey?
Now he might point out that Newark schools made modest progress.
Sort of in the same way that MJ might say,
“Remember that one time I made it to second base?”
But objectively,
Zuck's gift was a whiffer.
The majority of that money wasn't
necessarily going to school supplies,
and books, and new classrooms.
The majority the money went to contracts,
charter schools, and consultants.
For those contracts and labor costs,
89 million. 89 million.
That's why relying on Zuckerberg to fix education is tricky, right?
'Cause on one hand, he built Facebook.
And on the other hand, this haircut.
I mean...
that's not good judgment, I'm sorry.
Who is his barber? An Asian mom from 1987?
Yo, there might be-- There's fucking so many brown people.
Some people probably work for Facebook.
You go into work and this dude walks in like this?
This is his Congress haircut.
He's like, “All right, time to look like Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber.”
Look, the only people
who should have that haircut are eight-year-olds and people in a coma.
I'm just saying.
When I look at that haircut, I don't think,
“This man should rebuild our education system.”
Since we're talking about big-name philanthropists,
I know we're all wondering the same thing.
“What about Bill Gates?”
He has done meaningful work fighting malaria,
reducing child mortality
and dramatically misestimating the cost of frozen pizza rolls.
Totino's Pizza Rolls,
one bag of Totino's Pizza Rolls.
I'll go with $22.
No, no.
$15. $15.
-Whoa. -Totino's.
It's like he's on the game show The Price Doesn't Matter.
Also, by the way, real talk, Ellen doesn't know, either.
She's like, “I got the card here.”
So I asked Anand the $100 billion question.
What about Bill Gates?
He's trying to end malaria, Anand. Are you pro-malaria?
“What about Bill Gates?” is the perfect rebuttal question. You're right.
No, you're right. The good things he's doing is real.
It's transformative. Malaria is a prime example.
Those countries simply do not, at their level of development,
have the capacity publicly to solve those problems themselves.
I think there's actually a strong case
for people like Bill Gates to get involved, but...
when it comes to domestic work, and Bill Gates does quite a bit of that,
education most specifically, it is simply too much power
for someone to have over public life and public questions.
Education is a prime example of how super wealthy people,
even someone as well-intentioned as Bill Gates,
can get the public policies that they want in spite of voters like me and you.
Take what happened a few years ago in his home state,
specifically with respect to charter schools,
which Bill Gates is a huge fan of.
But voters in Washington didn't agree with him,
which is why they shot down bills for charter schools three times.
But in 2012,
Gates and other wealthy backers got the issue on the ballot again.
Gates spent millions of dollars campaigning,
and this time it worked.
The bill passed with 50.69% of the vote.
Then, Gates spent millions of dollars more subsidizing the charter schools
until the state Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional.
Gates then funded a group to help lawmakers pass a new bill
to get around that Supreme Court decision, allowing charter schools to stay open.
One guy was able to steamroll hundreds of thousands of voters
and the state Supreme Court,
which is a pretty sweet deal, and Gates knows this.
Watch how he responds when asked if he would ever run for president.
I did decide that the philanthropic world was where my contribution
would be more unique.
I can have as much impact in that role as I could in any political role.
I don't have to raise political campaigns.
I don't have to try and get elected. I'm not term-limited to eight years.
It's a very nice office that I've got right now.
He knows the game.
He's like, “President? I don't want to be a temp.”
The problem is, real talk,
Bill Gates is the best case scenario.
You know there's evil billionaires, right?
Like people who do bad shit in secrecy.
And since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling,
they've been able to do it like never before.
Citizens United, as you'll recall,
effectively removed limits on outside spending
and allowed so-called “dark money” to proliferate.
It's called dark money because the political nonprofits
behind the spending don't have to disclose their donors
or report much of the money they spend on ads.
Through the guise of philanthropy,
dark money has flooded our political system,
especially through 501(c)(4)s,
those civic organizations I mentioned earlier.
With (c)(4)s, donors get to stay anonymous,
even when they do things like this.
“Merrick Garland, Obama's Supreme Court nominee.”
“Garland would be the tiebreaking vote
for Obama's big government liberalism.
The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms? Gutted.
Unaccountable agencies like the EPA? Unleashed.”
“Merrick Garland, a liberal judge
from a liberal president.”
Just to be clear,
those were meant to make Merrick Garland look bad.
But I saw that and I was like,
“We've been leashing the EPA?
Bro, unleash that shit. Don't put 'em on a leash.”
I fell for it, and that was millions in 501(c)(4) ads
that ran to make sure a few swing-vote senators
went along with Mitch McConnell's historic Merrick Garland cock-block.
And they were paid for by the Judicial Crisis Network,
a nonprofit funded almost entirely by anonymous mega-philanthropists.
And that's the point.
501(c)(4)s have basically let the wealthy weaponize philanthropy.
Remember, if Garland had made it onto the Supreme Court,
there's no five-four conservative majority,
which is a very different world for kind of everything.
Now look, at the end of the day,
we can't stop rich people from spending their money how they want.
But that doesn't mean we're powerless.
If you look at the effective tax rate for rich people,
it has collapsed since the '80s.
We have to restore that. We should be talking about a wealth tax.
We should be talking about increasing the capital gains tax.
Okay, so you believe we need to tax the wealthy. It is effective.
-Yes. -You wanna tax that ass.
Let's play “Tax That Ass.” Jeff Bezos. How much do you want to tax that ass?
I think with him, you need a wealth tax.
I would say, you know, something around 8%-10%,
which is actually enough to have his fortune shrink over time.
Charles Schwab. How bad do you want to tax that ass?
-Bad. -Okay, Robert Kraft.
Let's do 90 on him.
How about fictional characters?
-Okay. -Bruce Wayne.
Now, Bruce Wayne. I'm so glad you brought this up.
How bad do we tax Bruce's ass?
'Cause Wayne Enterprises created a ton of destruction
and then here comes in this vigilante. He's like, “I'm gonna fix things myself.”
Cancel this whole interview and explain the whole thing through Batman.
Batman is what all these plutocrats do.
You cause problems by day, in the way you run your company.
And then you put on a suit at night
and pretend you are the solution.
Let's tax the hell out of Bruce Wayne.
And then we wouldn't necessarily need him to put on a costume.
Your take is anti-Batman?
I want to make Batman unnecessary.
Make Batman unnecessary?
Oh, I get it.
He's not Stanley Tucci from The Hunger Games.
He's the Joker.
Now, look. There's always gonna be rich people,
and they're always gonna have money to donate.
That's the dilemma.
People in the penthouse are giving huge amounts to charity.
But they're also shaping society without our consent.
Not awesome.
And as long as there are people with so much money
and so much power,
we'll have no say.
The only real solution here is making sure
that they're not that rich in the first place.
That means closing loopholes, more IRS oversight,
and especially...
taxing that ass.
Otherwise, we're just waiting around for the billionaires to save us
and as you can see,
they don't always get it right.
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Why Billionaires Won’t Save Us | Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj | Netflix

29 Folder Collection
jeremy.wang published on March 30, 2020
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