Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Ralph Nader Radio Hour
The True Cost of Billionaire Philanthropy
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The True Cost of Billionaire Philanthropy

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Ralph welcomes back Chuck Collins, heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune and cofounder of Patriotic Millionaires to discuss his latest report “The True Cost of Billionaire Philanthropy” which asks the question, “Would society be better off if billionaires just kept their money and paid their fair share of taxes?” Plus, we speak briefly about the situation in Gaza with Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and Francesco DeSantis keeps us up to date with the latest news with his segment “In Case You Haven’t Heard.”


Chuck Collins directs the Charity Reform Initiative at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he also co-edits Inequality.org.  Mr. Collins co-founded the Patriotic Millionaires and United for a Fair Economy, and he is the author of Born on Third Base and The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions.

Here's our analysis: for every dollar that Elon Musk or Bill Gates - some of these billionaires - give, the rest of us chip in 74 cents in lost tax revenue. And that's at the federal level... So, these are our tax dollars at work. And yet they're completely unaccountable in terms of where the money goes.

Chuck Collins

The financial industry, the wealth advisors—I call them the wealth defense industry—the tax attorneys and accountants. They have started to capture corners of what we think of as philanthropy with the same kind of worldview—capital preservation, tax minimization, passing on as much wealth to the next generation. So, you see ultra-wealthy people creating family foundations. And the most important thing to realize is this is taxpayer-subsidized private power.

Chuck Collins

We need to change the laws governing philanthropy. The framework that we are living with now is from 1969, which was a zenith of relative equality in the United States. We wouldn't have necessarily known that 50 years later we would be living in an oligarchy where billionaires would use their charity as an extension of their influence and power as aggressively as they are now.

Chuck Collins

[Shareholder resolutions are] a good way to shine some light on the murky, narcissistic, self-enriching practices of these executives who often do so at the expense of their own companies in a conflict of interest. It would be good if this discussion sparked something like that… It's not a structural reform of our political economy, to be sure. But it does alleviate some of the poverty, some of the health care necessities, the housing necessities in the areas where these corporations operate.

Ralph Nader


Lara Friedman is the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. She is a leading authority on the Middle East, with particular expertise on U.S. foreign policy in the region, on Israel/Palestine, and on the way Middle East and Israel/Palestine-related issues play out in Congress and in U.S. domestic politics, Ms. Friedman is a former officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, with diplomatic postings in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. She also served previously as the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now.


In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis

1. The AP reports Hamas has released a third group of hostages – including 14 Israelis and the first American hostage – as part of a four-day truce with Israel. In return, Israel has released 39 Palestinian prisoners. The Biden administration has expressed that their goal is to extend the ceasefire as long as possible. This about-face in administration policy is a testament to the power of the sustained protest and public pressure campaigns in favor of a ceasefire. However, this truce is scheduled to expire at the end of this week.

2. Going further, Vermont Senator Peter Welch has called for an “indefinite ceasefire,” following the horrific shooting of three Palestinian-American students in Burlington, Vermont. Senator Welch writes “The ceasefire must be extended...to stop the bombing and prevent further loss of civilian life. The United States cannot condone a resumption of the bombing when it causes death and injury to so many civilians.” It is noteworthy that the other Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, still refuses to call for a ceasefire.

3. The Nation has published a piece on the genocide in Gaza that was pulled from the Harvard Law Review at the last moment. The opening lines of this article read “Genocide is a crime. It is a legal framework. It is unfolding in Gaza. And yet, the inertia of legal academia, especially in the United States, has been chilling. Clearly it is much easier to dissect the case law rather than navigate the reality of death. It is much easier to consider genocide in the past tense rather than contend with it in the present. Legal scholars tend to sharpen their pens after the smell of death has dissipated and moral clarity is no longer urgent.”

4. The Intercept's Ryan Grim has shared an excerpt from his new book The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution in which he seeks to explain Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman’s intransigent stance in favor of Israel. Essentially, Grim argues that Fetterman made a deal with AIPAC and the Democratic Majority For Israel, with Fetterman pledging opposition to the BDS movement and support for unconditional military aid to Israel, and in exchange, “DMFI and AIPAC stayed out of his race.”

5. Independent journalist Séamus Malekafzali reports “A member of Germany's ruling coalition from the Greens wants all German media to sign a pledge to support Israel and its ‘right to exist’, similar to how Axel Springer's media organizations (like Politico) do.” To learn more about POLITICO’s new ultra-Zionist German ownership, check out the first issue of the Capitol Hill Citizen.

6. The Prospect is out with a blockbuster article on the first major anti-trust case in 25 years, U.S. v. Google. This piece traces how what was once billed as the “Trial of the Century” became “the Secret Trial,” and stresses the testimony of Al-Amyn Sumar, legal counsel for the New York Times who “listed the factors that separated this case from any other his legal team had seen before… [including] numerous closed-door proceedings, withholding of public evidence, and extensive confidentiality claims by companies (not just Google, but secondary parties to the case like Microsoft and Apple) that were granted all too liberally by the judge. [Sumar noted] Even access to trial transcripts were scant, trickling out weeks after examinations.” Sumar capped this off by saying “this simply can’t be the best way to go about the legal process.”

7. The Prospect also reports the Biden-appointed chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Rostin Behnam, is attempting to implement a Trump-era rule that would “roll back Dodd-Frank protections for swap trades, a major class of derivatives that led directly to the 2008 financial crisis, by relaxing margin requirements for certain categories of investment funds.” Several Democrats are coming out in opposition to this move. A letter from Senator Sherrod Brown decries this as “a step in the wrong direction… [which would] undermine the goals of Dodd-Frank.”

8. A third story from the Prospect focuses on deceptive Medicare Advantage plans, and specifically how they have been able to legally circumvent ACA protections covering pre-existing conditions. Put simply, if one enrolls in a Medicare Advantage program before age 65, then wishes to transition to traditional Medicare, they can be forced to undergo “underwriting” or medical health screening. As of now, only four states – New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine – prevent Medigap, the Medicare supplemental insurance that covers the 20 percent of medical expenses not covered by Medicare, from underwriting Medicare Advantage patients attempting to switch back to traditional Medicare. As the article explains “The millions of Americans not living in those states are trapped in Medicare Advantage, because Medigap plans are legally able to deny them insurance coverage.” Yet another instance of the pernicious influence of Medicare Advantage on the health of American seniors.

9. The Tuscon Sentinel has published a story which exemplifies the folly of the so-called school choice movement. Last year, Arizona became the first state to offer all families in the state public dollars to spend at private educational institutions. In response, nearly all private schools raised their tuition rates. As the article notes, “Critics…cite the tuition increases as evidence of what they’ve warned about for years: Universal school choice, rather than giving students living in poverty an opportunity to attend higher-quality schools, would largely serve as a subsidy for the affluent.”

10. Finally, radical and cartoonish right-wing Libertarian Javier Milei has won the presidential election in Argentina. According to the AP, Milei has vowed to implement his signature “Chainsaw Plan” for “wholesale reform of the state to slash public spending, scrap half the government’s ministries, sell state-owned companies and eliminate the central bank.” It remains to be seen how far Milei will go with this program, but signs point to turbulent times ahead in Argentina.

This has been Francesco DeSantis, with In Case You Haven’t Heard.

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