Posts Tagged content writing
I try to stay away from touchy subjects, willing to listen, but not interject a strong opinion either way as I find it counterproductive to most relationships. I’m not particularly interested in politics either, but recently, clients have hired me for writing projects requiring me to research both candidates in the last few months. The articles written were a lesson on being unbiased while uncovering helpful information and statistics, however, it has caused me to perk up when coverage of the election emanates from the television while cooking dinner at night or brushing my teeth in the morning.
The media has captured my attention more than once with unbelievable statements, images, and wild accusations from both sides. This isn’t new behavior, it just seems to get more and more exaggerated as each decade passes. Change happens and technology enables us all to feel more involved and affected by decisions being made by the small portion of society that manipulates our collective interests. This article is simply my observations. How our government operates is a part of life I have no real control over and I have learned to pick my battles based on things I believe are within my personal power to change.
Comments on Clinton
A few months ago, I was hired to write several articles on Obamacare and the changes that may happen in the health care system as a result of the upcoming election; whether the Affordable Care Act law is revised or replaced. I learned quite a bit about the many presidential hopefuls in both parties, especially the history of Hillary Clinton. She has been heavily involved in health care reform since her days in Arkansas when she was an attorney and ended up playing a large role in the current legislation. I was impressed with her initiative and intelligence, however, her motives after decades of questionable decision-making have led to a fairly regular stream of scandal.
No one is perfect, we all make poor decisions here and there, but those decisions don’t repeatedly effect the welfare of the entire country. Clinton has a talent for bending the rules, being very aware of the legal ramifications of her activities upfront. She was determined to be a big player in politics despite the fact that women typically had a much harder time entering politics during her generation. It seems she always had designs on the White House specifically, her relationship with Bill being a beneficial contract toward a single-minded goal. Generous health care programs offered to the general public and a focus on global women’s issue have established the trust needed to gain her ultimate achievement and bolster her own economic status.
Remarks on Trump
A couple months ago, I was asked to work on editing a manuscript regarding valuation of high-quality real estate; largely hotels, condominium complexes, and golf courses, built and managed by Donald Trump. The author is a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) expert and he wanted to explain how large real estate deals are negotiated and the skills that are involved. Over the three years of intensive research to create the outline of the book, Trump decided to run for president and the author got serious about getting the manuscript published in 2016. The book doesn’t get into politics, just the man, what drives him, and his knowledge as an investor.
I still managed a complete history on Donald Trump while working on this project. He has a natural gift for finding ailing properties, renovating or rebuilding them, and finally branding them as very high-luxury, high-dollar resorts where the ultra-rich can live, work, and play. He rode a bit of a rollercoaster until reaching his forties when he learned to use other people’s money to leverage assets, debt, and his own name to create a recognizable empire around the world. His personality is geared toward negotiation and getting the job done. He is blunt and brutally honest about his beliefs in business and what he feels epitomizes the American dream; using capitalism to generate wealth. It is clear that whether Trump wins the election or not, he has accomplished his goal of getting the nation’s attention focused on him, his business, and net worth.
We would all like to be able to say what we really feel and mean, unfortunately, some of us learn that at least 50 percent of the population will be alienated by this tactic. Trump simply doesn’t care if he eliminates people from his life that don’t subscribe to his theories. He is not the only person I’ve met who lives by this way of thinking. He is one of the few that can afford to do it, though.
Observation on Capitalism
I did a little investigating on economics and capitalism just for giggles. Politics is more about money as it takes lots of it to develop enough power to smother opponents and sway large corporations along with the media. Our constitution was written by the country’s elite initially because the masses weren’t educated enough to understand the fine details of the laws that would govern them. This set up a system of wealth distribution that was unequal from the start and success of the system is determined by balancing it so the masses stay content with their role in the arrangement. This is a basic interpretation coming from a middle-class writer’s perspective.
This election has pointed out that the balance has shifted power and wealth too far toward the elite and they are now able to act any way they want because the general population can’t really affect them anymore. The only way to fix this situation historically is mass uprising and the late 60’s and 70’s were the last time this country voiced a collective opinion with vehemence. Maybe the outcome of this coming election will impact us enough to call for a major overhaul as our country moves forward. I hope so, not just for our nation’s sake, but for the global implications as well.
Due to client privilege, specific articles written by me on the client’s behalf cannot be shared. However, the lists of sources used that inspired this article can be viewed. They are extensive.
The book regarding Trump’s real estate dealings is being published (as of 8/2016), the source information can be viewed below.
Sources and links:
Sources for Hillary Clinton’s articles: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2YCESOOtekxd2NpUmJ5aFN2M2s/view?usp=sharing
Sources for real estate background and personal details on Donald Trump: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2YCESOOtekxdndFNktKYVBrWXM/view?usp=sharing
Biography/Documentary, 2015. Requiem for the American Dream Noam Chomsky, discusses the deliberate concentration of wealth and power found in the hands of a select few.
How to find the book mentioned in this article and information on the author:
Book being released by Brad Thomas on Amazon in the next few days: http://www.thetrumpfactor.com/
Article written about Brad Thomas:
Wittenberg, D., 2016. The Man Who Knows Trump’s Business Better Than Anyone Else, http://www.benzinga.com/news/16/08/8306820/the-man-who-knows-trumps-business-better-than-anyone-else
To the next President of the United States of America, please find a way to level the playing field economically and financially for all citizens. Not only do Americans suffer and struggle in a country that has considerable wealth, but the rest of the developed countries around the world are experiencing the same. While the average American lives with the knowledge that there is a class of people who feel their needs are above the majority of the rest of the planet, it is a bitter pill that gets harder and harder for the working middle-class society to keep swallowing. The blood recently drained out of my face reading the news regarding the Panama Papers. What gives the elite the right to hoard billions and trillions of dollars in attempts to evade taxes when millions of other people in the world watch their lifestyles diminish each decade?
A Gross Need for Greed
A report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists recently describes a yearlong investigation in cooperation with more than 100 other media organizations, including the BBC, The Guardian, Univision, and McClatchy. Some documents came to light by an anonymous source who went to a German newspaper who then shared it with the ICIJ. They reference decades worth of information regarding 12 current or former world leaders and 128 other politicians and public officials, include over 11 million emails, documents, and client records allegedly leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama.
Big banks and financial companies based in the U.K. including UBS, Credit Suisse, and HSBC used the law firm to help clients hide cash in offshore shell companies. As usual, the banks and the law firm deny the allegations. This law firm also helped create more than 1,000 companies in the United States, through a Las Vegas subsidiary.
The ICIJ reports already ignited a government crisis in Iceland and the Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday as alleged links related to holdings in Iceland’s collapsed banks and triggered mass protests in the country’s capital. China has been restricting search results and discussions on social media using the terms “Panama Papers” and “Panama” and blocking the use of names of relatives of current and former Chinese leaders. This smacks of guilt, but will somehow get swept under the rug if past history of accountability gives any indication.
More allegations are directed at associates of Vladimir Putin, FIFA, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, the father of British Prime Minister David Cameron, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and others, each one outraged about the accusations as expected.
The ICIJ reports claim that Mossack Fonseca’s clients included at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of links to drug trafficking and terrorism. That means that these are people already suspected of criminal activity who have reason to hide the real origin of their money through money laundering.
Thankfully, governments in the U.K., France, Belgium, Australia and Mexico have pledged to investigate the leaks for possible cases of tax evasion. Even if it’s a false front, it looks better than immediate denial and depending on what results, possible points for creativity.
Two years ago, the International Monetary Fund stated that “Panama’s open economy, strategic location, and developed offshore financial services sector put the country at a high risk of being used for money laundering”. It has been on an international watch list due to weak anti-money laundering laws and blacklisted in Europe for being a non-cooperative jurisdiction and tax haven.
The Finances of the Average Citizen, US and Abroad
The fact that seventy-one percent of the world’s population remain low-income or poor, living on $10 or less a day is both devastating and embarrassing to consider from a middle-class perspective, let alone from the upper class. While middle America and middle-class citizens around the world continue to lose what little money they have and face serious concerns about their futures, the wealthiest have seen their net worth soar since 2000. They sailed through any hiccups or repercussions during the US historical downturn of 2008, untouched by the concept of morals or laws. Back in 2010, it took 388 mega-rich people to own half the world. Today it only takes 62. The top 1% own more than everyone else combined according to an Oxfam annual report based on Forbes annual list of billionaires and Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook .
For many of us, that seems inconceivable, similar to imagining the size of the galaxy or knowing what infinity looks like. “The top 62 saw their net worth rise by more half a trillion dollars between 2010 and 2015 while the 3.6 billion people in the bottom half of the heap lost a trillion dollars. Each group has $1.76 trillion”.
Tax Laws Considered and in Existence in the US:
The Buffett Rule, named after legendary investor Warren Buffett, is a consideration designed to ensure those with net incomes of more than $1 million pay a tax rate of at least 30%, after allowing for charitable contributions.
Beyond the Buffett Rule, Clinton is currently proposing a 4% surcharge on income over $5 million creating a new tax bracket with a top income tax rate of 43.6%, up from 39.6% today. The surcharge would hit 0.02% of filers.
Ways of reducing higher income tax liability come in the form of estate taxes exempting the first 5.45 million of an estate and investment taxes to lower the income tax rate from 39.6% to 23.8% . There are still legal loopholes to shelter additional millions offshore and in IRAs.
Currently, those making more than $1 million will pay about 28% of their earnings in federal income and payroll taxes for 2015, according to estimates from the Tax Policy Center. By contrast, those making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 11% while households with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 will pay 13.4% on average.
So, dear future President of the United States, please put this in perspective for the rest of us. I’ve been writing articles for the past few weeks for different political websites. I think my grasp of our political system and it’s process is pretty up to date with regard to the upcoming elections. No matter who gets elected, I am non-biased due to having equally low expectations for all candidates. There seems to be a choice between a lack of experience or trustworthy behavior, some having neither. I would welcome the chance to be proven wrong in the next 4-8 years. Economic gaps are widening as we speak and the middle class has less and less to show for their efforts; they are scrambling for creative ways to sustain themselves and preserve happiness. Putting a few trillion dollars back into circulation could do wonders.
If you would care to comment, please feel free to leave one below.
Resources and links:
LinkedIn Pulse’s series for #nextpresident
Kottasova, I., CNNMoney US, 2016. Mosssack Fonseca: The Law Firm at the Heart of the Panama Papers Scandal, http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/04/news/mossack-fonseca-panama-papers/index.html?iid=EL
CNNMoney US, 2016. The publication of the Panama Papers sent shock waves around the world. http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/05/news/panama-papers-things-to-know/index.html?iid=EL
CNNMoney US, 2016. How Hillary Clinton Wants to Make Rich Pay Their ‘Fair Share’, http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/12/pf/taxes/hillary-clinton-taxes-rich/index.html?iid=EL
CNNMoney US, 2016. Luhby, T., The 62 Richest People Have as Much Wealth as Half the World, http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/17/news/economy/oxfam-wealth/?iid=EL
Mullen, J. CNNMoney US, 2016. Panama Papers: Rich and Powerful Respond to Claims they Hid Billions Offshore, http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/04/news/panama-papers-offshore-accounts-investigation/index.html?iid=EL
Kottasova I., CNNMoney US, 2016. British Banks Forced to Disclose Links to Panama Papers Firm, http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/07/news/panama-papers-banks-uk/index.html