Ralph talks about how ending corporate tax giveaways and enacting a stock transfer tax can help the country recover from the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with first Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First and then New York State Assemblyman, Phil Steck. Plus, we pay tribute to a number of progressive activists and thinkers we’ve lost recently, including one of our favorite and frequent guests, the Green Cowboy, David Freeman.
Greg LeRoy is the Executive Director of Good Jobs First, a leading watchdog of state and local economic development subsidies. Mr. LeRoy founded Good Jobs First in 1998. This organization created Covid Stimulus Watch, which monitors where CARES Act assistance is going. Mr. LeRoy authored the book “The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation”.
“There’s hundreds of [data centers] around the country. Basically, once they’re built, they’re big rooms full of computer servers. Very very few permanent jobs… Maybe three quarters of their operating budget is electricity. They use about 2% of all the electricity in the United States. And yet states are enacting subsidies to not tax their utilities to give them big tax breaks. It’s a very profitable part of [Amazon]. Why should we pay them to do this?”
Greg LeRoy, Director of Good Jobs First
Phil Steck is a democratic member of the New York State Assembly. Since graduating from law school Mr. Steck has focused on civil rights and employment law in order to make sure big business and special interests couldn’t take away working people’s rights. His main legislative interests include single-payer health insurance, rebuilding Upstate New York infrastructure and increasing funding for public education.
“The way I like to say it, because I’m an ordinary middle class guy. Like most Americans who are fortunate to have decent jobs I have a 401(k) plan. I buy about 20,000 dollars of shares a year in my 401(k) plan. And my tax would be $50. Meanwhile I’m paying all kinds of asset management fees, brokerage fees, financial advisor fees, and those fees which make the industry as wealthy as it is. The stock transfer tax pales in comparison to the fees collected by the industry.”
Phil Steck, member of the New York State Assembly
“I can’t believe this one is going to be anything other than a winner in the next few months. ‘Cause when these budget cuts hit home in New York State, upstate, downstate, Long Island, New York City, there’s gonna be an uproar. The moment they hear about 16 billion dollars being rebated back to the fat cats of Wall Street, who are not being asked to sacrifice anything compared to the frontline workers; the healthcare workers, the grocery workers, the sanitation workers, the public transit workers, who are risking their health and safety, I think the polls are gonna come in over 90%. “