The Best Insurance Against Climate Disaster – #WhyIMarch

The Best Insurance Against Climate Disaster - #WhyIMarch

Like many working mothers, my mom’s office doubled as a daycare center. Much of my childhood was spent in my mom’s office, filing folders, stamping brochures, folding policies, and hiding underneath the table in the breakroom and playing fort with my younger brother. We “worked” with the constant sound of my mom’s voice in the background, on the phone with yet another client, patiently talking them through their claim.

Most of the wealth in my family has been generated by my mom’s insurance business, primarily through auto and homeowner’s insurance. My mom often says that she is there for people in some of the worst moments of their lives, like a devastating car accident or house fire. At the foundation of the insurance business is a concept of community care, that if we all chip in together then when disaster strikes, we can draw from the pool to rebuild our lives.

Of course because the private insurance industry is driven by profit, it’s not all warm fuzzies – much of the industry is devoted to calculating how risky it is for the business to cover a person, car, or home and denying coverage is routine. As a response to climate Continue reading »

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The Real Invisible Hand(s)

The Real Invisible Hand(s)

“If you work hard, people will notice and you will be recognized.” Parts of that tale are true — at least for me as a young person with class privilege and access to wealth. Every week, I churn in a few dozen hours, and twice a month, a paycheck is deposited into my checking account. It’s a process that recognizes my output, and pays me for it. Wage labor should be valued, which is why the Fight for Fifteen, fair overtime pay, and other campaigns to improve the conditions of paid work is so critical.

But there’s a gap that often goes unacknowledged in that saying. One you can find if you ask, “what is labor, really?”

Growing up, my parents worked. A lot. As recent immigrants in the U.S., they wanted to succeed in this new home. Despite their busyness, they still took care of my brother and I, but they didn’t do it alone. There were several other strong, immigrant women who cared for us, cooked for us, cleaned up after us, lent us their shoulders to cry on, gave us warm, assuring hugs when we needed them, even disciplined us. Some of these women were paid for … Continue reading »

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Protect Our Communities & Our Planet, Not Private Wealth

Protect Our Communities & Our Planet, Not Private Wealth

This April 29th, I’ll be in Washington D.C. marching alongside frontline communities — those who are being most directly impacted by climate change — for climate, jobs, and justice as part of the People’s Climate Movement.

I’m also marching as someone whose family has profited directly off the fossil fuel economy, and has a personal stake in transforming it. You see, I’m a “5%er”. My family has more net financial assets than 95% of families in the United States (you can calculate your percentage here). Much of this wealth has been passed down through multiple generations. My great grandfather was an oil prospector, which means he purchased some cheap land rights out in Oklahoma back in the day, hired some people to drill into the ground and find oil, and then turned around and sold that land back to oil companies. Through a series of trusts, he was able to pass down a bunch of shares of Standard Oil to his great grandchildren. That means my cousins and I each got $300,000 in what is now Exxon-Mobil, just for being born.

The Oklahoma City oilfield, discovered in 1928, produced more than 7.3 million barrels of oil over the … Continue reading »

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Factories and Families – #WhyIMarch

Factories and Families - #WhyIMarch

When you open the door the sound pulls you in like an undertow, humming electric and mechanical. Light seeps in through dented and dirty windows high in the metal ceiling. It smells like sweat and burnt plastic; to anyone else, a strange combination, but to me, this was a part of home.

Walking through the workfloor, myself no higher than my dad’s hip, the men would emerge from their stations with big smiles and bigger hugs. All these men felt like uncles, habibis, beloveds. I loved these days, the days I would visit the plastic factory my family owned and operated.

But as I became older, it felt like the men weren’t happy to see me because I was their cute nephew, but rather, I began to feel the immense weight of being the heir of their patron, their employer, their boss. I began to feel more embarrassment when I would visit, when my dad would begin to yell at a worker, blood in his face, spit in the air, my helplessness. Wanting with all my heart to say to my dad’s employees “I’m not like him, I’m on your side” and knowing that I wasn’t– I was running away … Continue reading »

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Tax deductions on yachts? I can’t.

Tax deductions on yachts? I can’t.

 

By Ross Chapman

Campaigning for tax justice is a no-brainer when you see the math — which I did recently (and serendipitously in time for tax season and oncoming protests). The effective tax rates for the rich and poor in this country don’t track the real wealth disparities across our country’s economic chasm, or even the approximately fairer marginal tax rate. It’s a total wtf; the current tax code is gross theft. Tax deductions on yachts? I can’t. Taxes are what we pay for civilized society — and us rich folk, who I’m led to believe are also participants in civilized society, must not be exempt. As a young person who has inherited wealth and also has a high paying job, who makes some money from investments (umm, lower tax rate on capital gains than wages?), I simply don’t pay my fair share. The IRS is driving my getaway car. And that ain’t right.

And while I’ll rumble down with the perfidious robber jingos in the white house for how they abuse our dollars once they get them (who, btw, have median wealth in the millions, cough cough they write the tax code)…I’m newly dedicated, as my accountant scrambles … Continue reading »

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Why I [Tax] March

Why I [Tax] March

By Samantha Waxman

Many of the ways that I’ve been thinking and feeling about taxes, wealth, and the recent election crystallized during the recent healthcare debate—the fiasco in which Paul Ryan and Trump tried to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Ryan’s efforts to destroy the nation’s healthcare system have been panned across the political spectrum, for a host of reasons. But as many, many media sources have pointed out, Ryan’s plan was a not-at-all-veiled tax giveaway to the rich. Specifically, a $600 billion one. The biggest tax cut is for investment income for families that make more than $250,000 per year—and the richest 1% would see the most benefit.

I continue to be horrified that Ryan and Trump would even consider letting rich people pay less in taxes in order to snatch health coverage away from 24 million Americans. It’s fundamentally unfair, undemocratic, and viciously cruel. I’m not sure what kind of values those are, but they aren’t mine. And they aren’t the values of many people like me—people from upper-class backgrounds who are in theory supposed to support these tax changes.

When elected leaders try to change laws in a way … Continue reading »

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Why Resource Generation Members are Joining the Tax March

Why Resource Generation Members are Joining the Tax March

“As a young person with inherited wealth, I am proud to march on National Tax Day because wealthy people like myself benefit unjustly from our inequitable tax system, which is based on the exploitation of the working class. I just turned in my taxes and despite having both inherited wealth and a middle-class income, I only fall in the 25% tax bracket! I believe we should tax wealth like income. I believe that the wealthy need to pay our fair share of taxes and fight against any further tax cuts to the wealthy. Additionally, Trump has promised corporate tax cuts ‘from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses’ which would benefit both major corporations and people who have money invested in the stock market. As young people with wealth who care about economic justice, we need to speak out against the policies that benefit us materially but harm us on a level of our values and care for the collective. We can expect to get richer during this administration, and I encourage all of us to reflect on how to redistribute that money we will unjustly earn.”
IRIS BRILLIANT, Resource Generation staff, National Organizer … Continue reading »

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The Personal is Political: Follow Up Conversations with My Parents

The Personal is Political: Follow Up Conversations with My Parents

By Iimay Ho, Executive Director of Resource Generation

Since I published my last blog post sharing my family’s immigration story told with a class lens, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how my parents reacted. Through my time with Resource Generation I’ve spoken with my parents many times about class and their net financial wealth, mostly through the angle of giving and how class privilege and wealth has personally affected my life. Sometimes we talk about their class journeys and how closely it is tied to their immigrant experience. But I had never publicly shared their immigration story in this way before. I felt the urgency to do so because I saw how much the rhetoric around immigration was classed (through coded language about which immigrants “contributed” or were “drains” on our economy) but there was little to no public discussion squarely centering class. I saw how stories like my family’s could be used as a class wedge against the undocumented poor and working class immigrants bearing the brunt of Trump’s anti-immigration policies, and knew that if I didn’t want our story told (and exploited) by others then I had to tell it myself.

So I took a … Continue reading »

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Healthcare Not Wealthcare – Taking Action for Tax Justice

Healthcare Not Wealthcare - Taking Action for Tax Justice

 

We recently got a glimpse into Trump’s 2005 tax returns. The returns don’t tell us a lot about Trump’s current financial situation, but they do foreshadow how the Republicans are planning to continue gutting social programs and advance unprecedented tax cuts for the wealthy which are already well underway as proposed in the replacement bill for Obamacare (the American Health Care Act).

This is a crucial time for young people with access to wealth to take action. Read on to learn about what is at stake and how to join Tax Day actions.

Trump’s 2005 tax returns show that he paid $38 million in taxes out of $150 million in income. He paid that amount because of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which he and Republicans have insisted on eliminating. According to the Guardian, “The alternative minimum tax was created in 1969 (and amended in 1979) to address the fact that some of the uber-wealthy could use so many deductions and loopholes that they ended up paying zero federal income tax. People with high incomes have to calculate their taxes twice — once with all their deductions and once without many of them. The taxpayer must then pay … Continue reading »

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Debate Team & Student Debt

Debate Team & Student Debt

By Maria Myotte, Communications Director

I was born in Colorado into a white, working-class family, and for most of my life, was raised by my Dad and helped to raise my two younger siblings. My family had housing stability, consistent food, and safety, but we went through a few stretches of turning to free lunches and food stamps. I hated leaving the assigned seats of desks in classrooms to navigate social hierarchy of the lunchroom. And I resented my Dad for not caring enough about me to avoid sending me to the free lunch line and the bottom of the social heap. Now it’s literally amazing to me that a tiny human with just a few years on Earth could so effortlessly deploy the logic of internalized classism against her family. 

Hanging with my grandparents and siblings, sporting overalls, nervously deploying the logic of internalized classism against my family

I’m only beginning to realize how deeply that internalized classism — my own and my Dad’s — runs throughout our relationship. I’m realizing now that it’s absolutely part of the reason I left Colorado to escape to New York.

I’ve been in New York City for the last four years, where … Continue reading »

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