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Cynthia Tucker argues that Newt Gingrich’s comments on poor children in America were clearly intended to exploit racial tension in her column, “Gingrich Still Relishes His Role As Provocateur:”

Newt Gingrich has always had a way with words — provocative words, harsh words, incendiary words. He and GOP consultant Frank Luntz pioneered Republicans’ use of catchy phrases and misleading language not only to demean their rivals but also to redefine their rivals’ policies.

As speaker of the House, Gingrich famously fined his caucus members any time they failed to call the estate tax a “death tax.” He was so successful that he apparently persuaded many Americans that the estate tax, levied only on the richest Americans, was routinely assessed on the corpses of common folk.

It’s no accident, then, that Gingrich recently spoke of poor children with mean-spirited condescension, suggesting that many of them are criminals. He told a Des Moines audience, “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

After he was roundly and deservedly criticized, Gingrich claimed that he only meant to point out the need for a strong work ethic, a fundamental all-American virtue. But if he had meant that, he would have said that. Many public figures, including President Obama and comedian Bill Cosby, would surely agree.

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Supreme Court of the United States

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A new analysis is explaining the disturbing circumstances surrounding the overturning of Roe v. Wade and how the U.S. Supreme Court has morphed into an entity actively working toward authoritarianism.

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Billionaires

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After a year of reporting on the tax machinations of the ultrawealthy, ProPublica spotlights the top tax-avoidance techniques that provide massive benefits to billionaires.

Last June, drawing on the largest trove of confidential American tax data that’s ever been obtained, ProPublica launched a series of stories documenting the key ways the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, strategies that are largely unavailable to most taxpayers. To mark the first anniversary of the launch, we decided to assemble a quick summary of the techniques — all of which can generate tax savings on a massive scale — revealed in the series.

1. The Ultra Wealth Effect

Our first story unraveled how billionaires like Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos were able to amass some of the largest fortunes in history while paying remarkably little tax relative to their immense wealth. They did it in part by avoiding selling off their vast holdings of stock. The U.S. system taxes income. Selling stock generates income, so they avoid income as the system defines it. Meanwhile, billionaires can tap into their wealth by borrowing against it. And borrowing isn’t taxable. (Buffett said he followed the law and preferred that his wealth go to charity; the others didn’t comment beyond a “?” from Musk.)

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