We are opening up today’s Midday Poster to all Daily Poster subscribers. Folks can use our tip jar here.
“All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.” — Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and professor Viet Thanh Nguyen. Nguyen came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975.
- Centrist Think Tanks Are Raking In ExxonMobil Cash
- Pharma Companies Spend Billions More on Stock Buybacks Than Developing Drugs
- For Farmworkers, Heat Too Often Means Needless Death
- How the Postal Service Can Help Local Retailers Beat Amazon
Richard Branson declared victory in the billionaire space race on Sunday, launching himself more than 50 miles into orbit in a spaceship designed by his company Virgin Galactic. Billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are reportedly not far behind.
While Bezos’s newspaper is arguing that privatized space exploration is “an enduring contribution to humanity,” what is obscured is that Bezos, Branson, and Musk’s space travel is effectively subsidized by American taxpayers and the loopholes provided to billionaires.
Branson shifted $1.1 billion in assets last year from his United States-based space exploration company to the British Virgin Islands, where residents don’t pay any income or capital gains taxes. Around the same time, he demanded a bailout from the UK government for his airline.
According to a recent investigation by ProPublica, Bezos and Musk are even more blatant tax evaders. In 2007 and 2011, Bezos — now the richest person in the world — didn’t pay a single dollar in federal income taxes. In 2018, Musk — the second-richest — also paid no federal income taxes.
Meanwhile, the companies that made them rich have collected billions of dollars in subsidies. Amazon has been awarded at least $3.7 billion in state and local tax subsidies since it was founded, and likely much more because some subsidy deals are kept confidential.
As of 2015, Musk’s companies had received a combined $4.9 billion in government subsidies. Since then, Tesla has been offered over a billion in tax breaks to build warehouses in Texas and Nevada, as well as a government COVID-19 bailout.
Venture capitalist and Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance tweeted over the weekend about his concern about traveling to New York: “I have to go to New York soon and I'm trying to figure out where to stay. I have heard it's disgusting and violent there.”
In 2018, Vance visited New York City’s posh Pierre Hotel to talk to the Bank Policy Institute, a Washington lobbying group for big banks, about his book, Hillbilly Elegy. At the event, Vance and a bank lobbyist mused about why some people live in poverty and whether that’s because they don’t regularly go to church.
Read the full transcript of their conversation here.
- “WILDLY DISHONEST” ATTACKS ON NINA TURNER: A Democratic super PAC that attacked Bernie Sanders during the 2020 presidential campaign is now spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads opposing Nina Turner in the Cleveland congressional race. The attacks are coming from DMFI PAC, a pro-Israel super PAC whose biggest donor last election cycle was Stacy Schusterman, the chairman of an oil and gas company. DMFI PAC’s latest mailers accuse Turner of opposing universal health care and a minimum wage hike. The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel called the mailers “wildly dishonest.”
- PIPELINE DRILLING ESCALATES UNDER BIDEN: President Joe Biden’s administration is on track to approve more drilling permits than any president since George W. Bush. The Interior Department has approved more than 2,100 drilling permits since Biden took office. The Biden administration has taken a moderate approach to cutting down fossil fuel production with an executive order to pause new leases for drilling on public lands. However, a federal court struck down the order and most of the country’s fossil fuel reserves are already under lease. As The Daily Poster previously reported, “fossil fuel companies sought and received approval for thousands of drilling permits on millions of acres of federal land during the Trump years, which they can develop at any time.” In other words, the order would not have made a big difference anyway. Meanwhile, conservative Democrats in the Senate — Chris Coons (Del.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), and Jon Tester (Mont.) — are raking in ExxonMobil cash according to an analysis by Oil Change U.S.
- RICHIE NEAL’S PAID LEAVE PLAN EXCLUDES MANY MOMS: There’s a new alternative to the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would guarantee paid leave to those workers who meet certain criteria. Under the old proposal, 30 percent of new parents are expected to be excluded, according to the Congressional Budget Office. A new proposal from Rep. Richie Neal, D-Mass., that is gaining steam in the House would tighten those standards even further, excluding as much as 42 percent of new mothers.
- AMERICA’S DINER: In order to lure people to work in its restaurants, Denny’s is sending recruiters to travel across the country in a 53-foot food truck to recruit employees. The company is also offering free pancakes and hiring bonuses to applicants at some of its stores. Of course, Denny’s is also a member of the National Restaurant Association, the lobbying group leading the fight against a $15 minimum wage. Earlier this year, Denny’s executives told investors that a $15 minimum wage wouldn’t be bad for business, and might even help. Shareholders responded by demanding that Denny’s cancel its National Restaurant Association membership.
- PENTAGON SEES "INCREASED POTENTIAL" FOR NUCLEAR CONFLICT: The Pentagon recently updated its joint publication on nuclear operations to warn of the increasing threat of nuclear conflict. “Despite concerted US efforts to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in international affairs and to negotiate reductions in the number of nuclear weapons, since 2010 no potential adversary has reduced either the role of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy or the number of nuclear weapons it fields. Rather, they have moved decidedly in the opposite direction,” the document, updated in April 2020, says. “As a result, there is an increased potential for regional conflicts involving nuclear-armed adversaries in several parts of the world and the potential for adversary nuclear escalation in crisis or conflict.”
Photo credit: AP/Susan Montoya Bryan
This newsletter relies on readers pitching in to support our journalism. If you like this story, please support The Daily Poster's work.
If you are a paid subscriber – forward this on to others to encourage them to subscribe! And if you feel like using our tip jar, click here.
If you are a free subscriber, please consider clicking here to become a paid subscriber.