May 15, 2021 • 1HR 34M

Fair Taxes/Violence in Gaza

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Appears in this episode

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.
Episode details

Ralph welcomes former IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, to tell us what must be done to create a fairer tax system. And Professor Rashid Khalidi joins us to break down the latest violent escalation in Gaza. Plus, Ralph has some choice words about Apple’s latest record earnings.

John Koskinen was the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from late 2013 to late 2017. As Commissioner, Mr. Koskinen presided over the nation’s tax system, which collects approximately $3.3 trillion in tax revenue each year and funds most government operations and public services.

I was concerned, as I told the appropriators in testimony in both the House and the Senate, that I didn’t want them, after the fact, to say ‘Gee, we didn’t know the impact of these budget cuts.’ So, I told them that if they kept cutting the budget, taxpayer services would suffer, auditing and collections would suffer… And I said when you cut the budget, what you’re really doing is giving a tax cut to tax cheats. And nobody ever disagreed with the fact that if you give more money to the IRS, the government collects more money.

John Koskinen, former IRS Commissioner

Somebody had the interesting idea that, in addition to increasing the child tax credit…  periodic payments– they hoped it would be monthly– would be made of the child tax credit. And the IRS has never paid anybody anything monthly, or periodically, in its history. So that’s another major IT challenge ahead of them.

John Koskinen, former IRS Commissioner

One of the challenges now with the understaffing of the IRS and the additional requirements to do things like issue the stimulus checks, is its way behind in processing refund claims. And so you can read in newspaper articles, people saying, ‘where’s my refund’ and I think it’s important to note that these problems aren’t because the IRS work force and personnel don’t care. I’ve never dealt with a more dedicated group of people.

John Koskinen, former IRS Commissioner

I’ve always said, the most corrosive thing to tax enforcement is if people begin to think that everybody else isn’t paying their fair share.”

John Koskinen, former IRS Commissioner

I thought a fair accusation that I made against [Republicans in Congress] was that they are aiding and abetting tax evasion. Not tax avoidance. Tax evasion. And the Democrats seemed unwilling to really take them on. Because they feared that the polls showed that anything defending the IRS was unpopular among the general public.”

Ralph Nader

Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for StatehoodBrokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East (2013), and The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017.

The trigger for all of this was this attempt to displace a number of families in Sheikh Jarrah… an Arab neighborhood in East Jerusalem – on the basis of old property claims that supposedly entitled the settlers – who purchased these deeds from others – the right to expel the residents, who were set up there by the Jordanian government many decades ago, after being driven from their own homes and property by the state of Israel in 1948. And the irony here of course is that, while property claims to property that… supposedly was owned by Jews before 1948 are being enforced by the oppressive might of the Israeli state. Claims of Palestinians to their property in West Jerusalem, which had large Arab neighborhoods before 1948, or in Jaffa or Haifa, where many of the residents of this Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood come from, those property claims are inadmissible under Israeli law.

Professor Rashid Khalidi, author of The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017

The story of the rockets [in Gaza] has never been told…  these are garage-built, homemade rockets. They fired thousands of them over the years into Israel… Now the Israeli reporters and Israeli human rights groups have long pointed out that Gaza is under the greatest surveillance, technologically, in world history… [Israeli forces know] everything that is going on. How do they allow these rockets to be built and fired?

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 375 Transcript 1
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