Questionable priorities

In uptown New York City, Citadel hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin closed on a new 24,000-square-foot penthouse with a view across Central Park.

Price: $238 million.

Griffin’s purchase complements his other recent house buys in Chicago ($58 million), Miami Beach ($60 million) and a $122 million house in central London.

The U.S. tax code allows hedge fund investors like Griffin to pay only 23.8 percent tax on their gains thanks to the “carried interest” provision. By comparison, middle-class workers pay a tax rate of 22 percent on income from $38,701 to $82,500.

During his election campaign, our current president said, “we will eliminate the carried interest deduction and other special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors, and people like me, but unfair to American workers.” Sounded nice at the time, right?

But, according to Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin, “… it’s a complicated issue,” so the billionaire’s loophole didn’t get eliminated in the 2017 tax revision.

Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath.

Many loyal Americans — dedicated federal employees — worked without pay recently. Multi-millionaire Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested that these workers should “be able to get a loan” that they can pay back “once this whole (shutdown) thing settles down.” Uh, huh.

Don’t be fooled by any rhetoric to the contrary: The president and his billionaire henchmen protect their paychecks and wealth first, and workers last.

Roald Evensen

River Falls