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Sunday
22
APR

Billionaires Are Stealing Our Democracy

14:00
16:00
Progressive Watertown
Event organized by Progressive Watertown

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You probably known the family names already; Koch, Mellon-Scaife, Coors, et al. Yet you may not know the deep impact they made and are making on all our lives. These families were fabulously wealthy in the 1950s, especially the Mellon family, which besides banking also owned Alcoa Aluminum and Gulf Oil. And another things they had in common; they didn't like paying taxes and felt preserving their estates rose to the highest priority.

They lobbied Congress to change tax laws, establishing foundations to shelter profits from taxes. They even found if they donated 20 years worth of profits they would be allowed to pass their estates to heirs without taxation. This tactic was used by both the Koch and Mellon families. But that wasn't enough for them. They also were the early members of the radical right John Birch Society founded by Belmont MA native and Mars Candy heir, Robert Welch. The plan that was hatched had four steps; establishment of foundations to shield money from taxes, use those foundations to found conservative think tanks, fund college departments and chairs to legitimize far right philosophies, and attract conservative politicians to push those philosophies in Congress. Hence the Tea Party.

Much of this is explained in the book "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer. ProgressiveWatertown has assembled a most distinguished panel of experts to explore this movement that has tilted that tables to the 1%. From this panel you'll hear how we got here, where we are today and what can we do about it. Please join Boston Globe Columnist Joan Vennochi, Harvard Kennedy School Senior Lecturer on Public Policy Marshall Ganz, and Theda Skocpol of Harvard, an author and lecturer about the rise of the Tea Party and the Koch Family on Sunday, April 22nd, starting at 2pm in the WSB Meeting Room of the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St. Admission is free.