Here is the edited and written-up version of the presentation I gave at Traditions Cafe at the Economics for Everyone Event in Olympia Washington on January 31st, 2018. It appears in the March 2018 issue of Works in Progress. Thanks to Keely Miller for her editing of my talk.Analysis of Trump’s 2017 Tax Bill and 2018 Budget Proposal
Format of talk 1) US Political Economy and why the Trump victory; 2) Trump agenda and what has happened; 3) Possibilities
Detailed Notes from my talk at Micropolis Social Center in Thessaloniki, Greece February, 20, 2017, The Political Economy of Trumpism revised
Here is a six minute interview of me by Luvva J Profresha. In this video interview, I discuss the Caravan Against Repression in Mexico of activists involved in many movements against oppression and repression. This caravan is on a national tour and I spoke to Luvva J, immediately after the visit of these inspiring activists from Mexico to the Evergreen State College in Olympia on Thursday October 27, 2016
by Peter Bohmer, October 20, 2016
I have watched the three presidential debates this year. Trump’s contempt for women, his anti-choice, anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim immigrant stance, his stereotyping of Black and Latinos, his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporations was disgusting. His toxic machismo and not so coded racism and white nationalism were on full display. Clinton, although not as bad never mentioned poor people, and called for and bragged about continued U.S. militarism. To Trump’s racist claims about electoral rigging and fraud in Black communities, his mentioning of Philadelphia, St. Louis and Chicago; Hillary Clinton could have but didn’t respond with the past and present actual racist voter suppression, especially by Republicans but also many Democrats in limiting voting by people with felonies, requiring multiple ID’s, making registration and voting difficult, especially in low income communities. Also these three debates were limited by no questions about one of the central issues of the day, climate change, and the excluding of the Green Party Presidential candidate, Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson. … (see link above)
Testimony by Peter Bohmer to Olympia City Council, July 12, 2016 in favor of Opportunity for Olympia Proposal!
Olympia has a chance to stand up and take a step towards the right to education for all, paid for by those who have benefited by the obscene growth of the inequality of income and wealth. Almost all of the gains in income since the supposed end of the great recession in 2009 have gone to the top 3%, approximately the percentage of households who would pay this tax.
In fall, 1987, I moved to Olympia to teach Economics and public administration at The Evergreen State College. Tuition and fees that year were $1272 for in-state students. For the coming year, 2016-2017, tuition and fees at Evergreen are $7500 a year, six times more than 1987. Tuition has risen many more times than wages. The minimum wage was $3.35/hr in 1987; in 2016 it is $9.47 an hour. The minimum wage has gone up by 180% since 1987while tuition has grown at almost three times the rate of the minimum wage. This increase in tuition is true for all of higher education. Students are being priced out of higher education. Passing this proposal will begin to reverse this growing lack of affordability.
The right to college is a necessity today, not a luxury. High school became a necessity for most jobs, 100 years ago, as college is today. Having more people being able to attend college is not only a question of fairness but will also increase their productivity and incomes which will decrease poverty and increase spending and employment here. Increasing access to higher education will also make for more informed citizens and a better Olympia. College education is a basic right today, as higher education became that in the past and was free.
The cost of this proposed tax to the top 3% of the income ladder is minimal Any household making up to $200,000 will not pay any additional taxes. For example, a household making $250,000 a year will pay a 1.5% income tax, only on their income above $200,000, or 1.5% of $50,000 = $750 a year. That is not much of a burden; much less than their gains in income over the last seven years.
I urge you to pass this modest proposal of a 1.5% tax on incomes over $200,000 to fund students going past high school. Rather than waiting for change at the federal or even state level, let us support this Opportunity for Olympia proposal, maybe with the small change of using federal income tax returns to measure income. We can and should take an important step here in Olympia for fairness and increased access to higher education. This will be leading by example, which is likely to spread to others places in Washington State and then nationally. We need this type of change at the national level but tactically, we are more likely to be successful by starting locally. Be courageous! It is urgent that you take a stand, a step towards education for all, paid for by a fairer tax system. Let us start with the Olympia City Council. Thank you!
Postscript-The Olympia City Council, taking the side of the wealthy, voted on July 12, 2016 against supporting this proposal or passing an alternative proposal that would have taxed higher income people to support students who want to go to college. Let us actively support this Opportunity for Olympia proposal and vote for it in the November 2016 election!
Challenges police version of May 21st police shooting and calls for connecting social movements in order to end racism and all forms of oppression.
Talk at Forum at The Evergreen State College: After Paris: Responding to Islamophobia and the Refugee Crisis
by Peter Bohmer, December 2, 2015
Let Us Learn from Our Past and Welcome Syrians to the United States!
First, a little first about my parents and grandparents! My family is from central Europe; my parents were born and grew up in Vienna, Austria as assimilated Jews. In March 1938, the Austrian government welcomed the invasion of Nazi Germany although there was some popular resistance. Germany immediately annexed Austria. My dad who was 22 years old was arrested and imprisoned in late March 1938 for being active in the Jewish community. He was also beaten by the guards but was released in August 1938. My father and mother immediately fled Austria for France which let in many Jews in although they also limited entry; e.g., from Poland which had the largest Jewish population in Europe…
Let’s Learn From the Past and Welcome Syrian Refugees (.docx)