Bernie Sanders mulls 'Make Billionaires Pay Act', zones in on Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Bernie Sanders mulls ‘Make Billionaires Pay Act’, zones in on Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
Connect with us

Election

Bernie Sanders mulls ‘Make Billionaires Pay Act’, zones in on Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg

Published

on

Bernie Sanders

New York, Aug 8 :J Three Senators, led by Bernie Sanders, have attracted global attention for introducing the “Make Billionaires Pay Act,” aiming to tax US tech’s top leaders tens of billions of dollars in wealth made during the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Make Billionaires Pay Act” would impose a one-time 60 per cent tax on wealth gains made by billionaires between March 18, 2020, and January 1, 2021.

Riding growing global despair about inequity, the Senators suggest that funds would be used to pay for out-of-pocket health-care expenses for all Americans for a year. Besides Sanders, the Senators are Ed Markey and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Over and over again, we have been told that we cannot possibly afford to guarantee healthcare as a right by moving to a Medicare for All system – even on a temporary basis during the worst public health emergency in over a hundred years. Well, it turns out that is not quite accurate,” a post on Sanders’ Senate page argued.

“While a record-breaking 5.4 million Americans recently lost their health insurance, 467 billionaires in our country increased their wealth by an estimated $731.8 billion during the pandemic. Incredibly, as a result of the Trump tax giveaway to the rich, these billionaires currently pay a lower effective tax rate than teachers or truck drivers.”

Citing the Americans for Tax Fairness and Institute for Policy, Sanders said: “If we taxed 60 per cent of the windfall gains these billionaires made from March 18th until August 5th, we could raise $421.7 billion. That’s enough revenue to allow Medicare to pay all of the out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for everyone in America over the next 12 months (based on an estimate from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget).

“Yes, that’s right. By taxing 60 per cent of the wealth gains made by just 467 billionaires during this horrific pandemic, we could guarantee healthcare as a right for an entire year. And billionaires would still be able to pocket more than $310.1 billion in wealth gains during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Illustrative examples cited include Jeff Bezos, whose wealth has gone up by 63 per cent or $71.3 billion during the pandemic, paying a one-time wealth tax of $42.8 billion; Elon Musk, whose wealth has nearly tripled during the pandemic from $24.6 billion to $70.5 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $27.5 billion; Mark Zuckerberg, who is now worth $92.7 billion, up from $54.7 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $22.8 billion and the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, which has seen their wealth grow by $21.5 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $12.9 billion.

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when so many of our people are hurting, it is time to fundamentally change our national priorities. Instead of more tax breaks for the rich while more Americans die because they cannot afford to go to a doctor, let us expand Medicare and save lives by demanding that billionaires pay their fair share of taxes.”

Aiming to distinguish the not-so-super-rich from their moves, those with net worth of less than $1 billion wouldn’t pay more in taxes. While Zuckerberg, Bezos and the Waltons haven’t yet reacted, Musk took the challenge head on, with a meme. “Everytime the Bernster mentions a free government program, chug somebody else’s beer”, the irrepressible billionaire tweeted back.

Election

‘Social media platforms will be held liable for failure to counter misuse’: CEC Sunil Arora

The Commission has also asked political parties and candidates to sensitise their representative not to indulge in ‘malpractices, malicious propaganda and instances of hate speech’.

Published

on

By

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Friday said that social media platforms will be held responsible if they fail to make adequate arrangements to counter misuse and don’t take prompt action against adverse posts ahead of the Bihar assembly elections.

“Adverse use of social media platforms has emerged as a new challenge in recent times,” Arora said. “If adequate arrangements aren’t made to counter the misuse of the social media then they will not be allowed to take pretext of being only a provider and shall be held responsible if necessary action is not taken promptly and adequately.”

The Commission has also asked political parties and candidates to sensitise their representative not to indulge in ‘malpractices, malicious propaganda and instances of hate speech’, as such actions will be dealt with ‘sternly’ and ‘harshly’.

“The commission would like to make it emphatically clear that anyone who misuses any such platform, such as for fomenting communal tensions, etc for electoral purposes, shall have to face consequences under the law of the land,” Arora said.

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Commission and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp along with IAMAI had signed a voluntary code of ethics. According to the code, while the participants ‘recognise they are neither the author nor the publisher of such content’, they are ‘committed to helping support democratic processes by improving the integrity and transparency of electoral processes’.

Hindustan Times reached out to Facebook and Whatsapp for a comment but did not receive one until press time. Twitter declined to comment.

Arora’s statement also comes in the wake of the Wall Street Journal reports in August which alleged Facebook had selectively exercised its hate-speech policy to favour the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, wrote to CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying that the platform allowed people to make posts against prime minister Narendra Modi, with BJP alleging that there was nexus between the Congress and Facebook.

According to Twitter’s recently updated civic integrity policy, a person may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process. It, however, makes no mention of propaganda, hate speech and malicious content.

According to people familiar with the matter, the Commission draws its reservoir of power from Article 324 of the constitution. “Elections are conducted under Constitution and the Supreme Court in its judgment has held on a number of occasions that Article 324 gives vast powers to the Commission subject of certain restrictions such as fairness and transparency,” said such a person on the condition of anonymity. The person added that the EC would decide what course to take on a case-to-case basis.

Article 324 allows the Election Commission the “superintendence, direction and control of elections”. The EC had invoked this provision in West Bengal in May last year, curtailing campaigning in the state ahead of Parliamentary elections after clashes between cadres of the BJP and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Kolkata.

Experts, however, say the ECI’s powers to regulate the social media platforms are limited.

“Their authority to regulate platforms is not clearly provided,” global cybersecurity lead and Asia Pacific policy director at Access Now Raman Jit Singh Chima said. “They are stretching authority they have to regulate electronic media and threatening companies by proposing to further regulate or prosecute them.”

“It’s commendable that the CEC is speaking about this, however, the ECI has failed to advance any reforms to protect electoral democracy in the digital age in India. Prior to the 2019 general elections, many groups working on electoral reforms, democracy and fundamental rights issues wrote to the ECI and went public with their suggestion on how the ECI can take steps in this area. They also recommended they engage all stakeholders on this important issue and should not only consult political parties in Delhi, web companies and their industry lobby group. This has not yet occurred, which is deeply disturbing,” he added.

Continue Reading

Election

Bihar Polls: Grand Alliance to decide on CM face after talks with allies, says Congress

The Congress, RJD, RLSP, VIP and Left parties are set to challenge the NDA in Bihar if things go on track.

Published

on

By

Shaktisinh Gohil

New Delhi, Sep 25 : After the Election Commission announced dates for the three-phase elections in Bihar, the Congress has claimed that talks with allies are on the right track on the seat-sharing deal which has not yet finalised.

Congress Bihar in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil said,”There is no harm in any party propagating its leader’s name for Chief Minister but we will sit and decide on the issue that which way we will go with CM face or no face.”

The comments come after the RJD pushing Tejashwi Yadav as the CM face ahead of elections which is not going well with the allies, specially the RLSP.

Alliance partner RLSP is upset over the delay in the seat-sharing agreement and has conveyed it to the Congress leadership. Gohil said that there is no problem within the alliance and everything is going on smoothly.

But the RLSP, in its resolution on Thursday, said that there are differences over the leadership in the alliance and the delay in seat sharing is not good for the health of the alliance.

The party has authorised Upendra Kushwaha to take decisions on the alliance.

But sources say that there are major hiccups within the alliance as the RJD is claiming all the seats which could be won by the alliance leaving seats which are tough-to-win for its partners.

The RJD is keen to contest 145 out of the 243 seats leaving the burden on the Congress to adjust the RLSP, Left parties,JMMA and other smaller parties.

The Congress is likely to contest 70 seats and the RLSP is claiming more than 40 seats. But the bone of contention is not the number of seats but the quality of seats which are considered a stronghold of the alliance.

The fate of the alliance depends on how fast the final agreement is reached on both the issues since HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi has already joined the NDA citing differences.

The Congress, RJD, RLSP, VIP and Left parties are set to challenge the NDA in Bihar if things go on track.

Elections for the 243 Assembly seats in Bihar will take place in three phases between October 28 and November 7. The counting of votes will be on November 10, the Election Commission said on Friday.

The term of the Bihar Assembly comes to an end on November 29. According to the poll panel, there are 7.29 crore voters in the state, including 3.85 crore male and 3.4 crore female voters and 1.6 lakh service voters.

In the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) emerged as the largest party by winning 80 seats while the ruling Janata Dal-United won 71 seats, the Congress 27. The BJP managed to win 53 seats, followed by two seats by the LJP and one seat by Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, even as other candidates emerged victorious on 10 seats.

The BJP, despite winning only 53 seats, got the maximum percentage of vote share with 24 per cent, followed by the RJD with 18 per cent and JD-U 17 per cent. The Congress managed to get seven per cent vote share and the LJP around 4.8 per cent.

Continue Reading

Election

Longer polling time, online nominations: How COVID is affecting Bihar polls!

The term of the Bihar Assembly ends on November 29. According to the poll panel, there are 7.29 crore voters in the state, including 3.85 crore male and 3.4 crore female voters and 1.6 lakh service voters.

Published

on

By

bihar election

New Delhi, Sep 25 : In what will be India’s first full fledged election ever since the deadly COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, polling for the 243 Assembly seats in Bihar will take place in 3 phases between October 28 and November 7 this year. The Election Commission of India made the announcement in Delhi on Friday, adding that the votes will be counted on November 10.

But given this is a COVID-era election, polling time has been increased by one hour. “Now the polling time will be between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.” the EC said. This, the poll body believes, will help avoid queues. But it will not be applicable to the Left-Wing affected areas.

While the election could have been held in more phases, this was avoided considering the pandmeic and its possible effect on the security forces on duty. “Elections entail large scale deployment of security forces. We have tried to minimise their movement over long distances,” Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said.

The CEC also announced a number of new measures in view of the pandemic. Arora said, “Now nominations can be done online and offline also. And quarantined patients can vote at the end.”

Also, keeping the containment guidelines in view, the Commission has limited the number of persons, including candidates for door to door campaigning to five. Public meetings and road shows will be allowed subject to containment instructions issued by the Union Home Ministry/State.

“Face masks, sanitizer, thermal scanners, gloves, face shield and PPE kits shall be used during the electoral process ensuring social distancing norms. Hand gloves shall be provided to all the electors for signing on the voter registers and pressing buttons of EVM for voting,” it said.

“Covid-19 patients, who are quarantined will be able to cast their vote in the last hour of polling, at their respective polling stations, under the supervision of health authorities. This is beside the option of postal facility already extended to them,” the poll panel said.

The CEC said the poll panel has also revised norms for the number of persons accompanying the candidate and the number of vehicles at the time of nomination. “It has also created an optional facility to fill the nomination form and the affidavit online and submission of the same, after taking a print, before the Returning Officer concerned. For the first time, the candidates will have the option to deposit the security amount for contesting the elections online,” the poll panel said.

India has reported 86,052 new Covid-19 cases and 1,141 deaths in the last 24 hours taking its tally to 58,18,570, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday morning. This is why so many precautions are being taken for the Bihar election.

“The Bihar elections will be held in three phases. Elections for the 1st phase will take place on October 28 on 71 Assembly constituencies, elections for 2nd phase on 94 seats will take place on November 3 and 3rd phase poll on 78 Assembly seats on November 7,” the CEC announced.

With this the model code of conduct has also come into play.

The last date of nomination for phase 1 will be October 8 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature is October 12. For phase 2, the last date of nomination has been fixed as October 16, while the last date of withdrawal of nomination is October 19. For phase 3, the last date of nomination is October 20 and the last date of withdrawal of candidature October 23.

The term of the Bihar Assembly ends on November 29. According to the poll panel, there are 7.29 crore voters in the state, including 3.85 crore male and 3.4 crore female voters and 1.6 lakh service voters.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular

Corona Virus (COVID-19) Live Data

COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.