Tag: tax

The Cost of Corporate Tax Dodgers

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz discussed the problem of large corporations using tax loop holes to avoid paying taxes and how by closing those loop holes could be a cure for inequality and a faltering economy.

Stiglitz tells Bill that Apple, Google, GE and a host of other Fortune 500 companies are creating what amounts to “an unlimited IRA for corporations.” The result? Vast amounts of lost revenue for our treasury and the exporting of much-needed jobs to other countries.

“I think we can use our tax system to create a better society, to be an expression of our true values.” Stiglitz says. “But if people don’t think that their tax system is fair, they’re not going to want to contribute. It’s going to be difficult to get them to pay. And, unfortunately, right now, our tax system is neither fair nor efficient.”

Transcript can be read here

Dr. Stiglitz’s paper, Reforming Taxation to Promote Growth and Equity, can be read here (pdf).

Seven Key Takeaways From Joseph E. Stiglitz’s Tax Plan for Growth and Equality

1. Raise Corporate Income Tax Rates While Providing Incentives for Investments and Job Creation in the US. [..]

2. Reduce Spending on Corporate Welfare [..]

3. Tax the Financial Sector [..]

4. Tax on Monopolies and Other Rent-Based Enterprises [..]

5. Ensure that Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes and Have Incentives to Invest in America [..]

6. Tax Monopolies and Other Rent-Based Enterprises [..]

7. Make Dividend Payments Tax Deductible, But Impose a Withholding Tax [..]


“You People” Don’t Need to Know

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Mitt Romney made his wealth an issue of the campaign when he touted his business acumen as head of Bain Capital where he made most of his fortune. Romney has already said that he will not release anymore returns than his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011. In a lame defense of this refusal, Romney has said that, “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” claiming that the problem is not him but the tax laws. But you know you have problems when you have neo-conservatives like Bill Kristol and George Will along with 18 other prominent Republicans, telling you to release the returns. Nope, Mitt is sticking with his story and sent the missus out to put her foot in her mouth down:

Mitt Romney’s wife is reinforcing her husband’s refusal to make public several years of tax returns, saying “we’ve given all you people need to know” about the family’s finances.

“You people”? A bit condescending there, Annie.

Mitt made this an issue as Eugene Robinson notes that it just makes it all that much more suspicious:

Mitt Romney has every right to cloak his personal and professional finances in secrecy-and voters have every right to assume he has something embarrassing to hide. If this seems unfair, Romney has only himself to blame. [..]

Romney has spent the better part of a decade running for president. Did it never occur to him that if he ever won the Republican nomination, surely there would come a time when he was under pressure to release multiple years’ worth of tax returns? Did he think everyone would forget that it was his own father, George Romney, who set the modern standard for financial disclosure? Did he not recall that when he was being considered for the vice presidential nod four years ago, he furnished tax returns spanning more than two decades to the John McCain campaign?

Clearly he knew the subject would come up. The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that Romney believes that while stonewalling on his taxes may cost him some support, releasing them would cost him more.

Jon Stewart added his analysis of “The Romney Returns”

Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Reclaiming Our Democracy (Part I of II): Miliary Democracy

“Duck House”:

I sit on the floor of the Duck House with thirty others, brainstorming for the January action. Neither men nor women dominate the group. We are young, and surprisingly old. Counter-culture and conservatively clad. We question whether it is nobler to seek permits or just show up unannounced. We speak of banners, flyers and street theater-anything to educate the public about our goal.

Even when I still lived in Arizona, I had heard of this place. Democracy Unlimited Humboldt County (DUHC) or “Duck” was on the forefront of the war against corporate power. In 1998, they helped pass a ballot initiative establishing the Democracy and Corporations standing committee in Arcata’s city council here in California.

The Committee’s primary functions are: to research and present to the Council options for controlling the growth of “pattern restaurants” in the community; to cooperate with other communities working on socially responsible investing and procurement policies; to make recommendations to the Council, and/or with the Council’s approval, provide educational opportunities to promote “fair trade”; to inform citizens of corporations with negative social and environmental impact; and to provide advice on ways to foster sustained locally-owned businesses, publicly or locally owned services and worker-owned cooperatives and collectives.–City of Arcata

The committee was hailed by Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and Jim Hightower. Ralph Nader commented, “I look forward to Arcata being a luminous star in the rising crescendo of democracy in our country.”

Embolden by this success, they passed Measure T in 2004. It forbid nonlocal corporations from contributing to local political campaigns. Two corporations immediately challenged the initiative as unconstitutional. Before the case could be decided by the courts, Humboldt’s Board of Supervisors succumbed to corporate pressure and declared this popularly elected law nullified.

DUHC learned from this experience. They won’t be going it alone, this time. They are but one small seed of democracy, but they are amassing with others to change the political landscape in America. They have joined Move to Amend in a miliary campaign, and this time their aim is not a city ordinance in some far off town on the edge of America, but changing the highest law in the land.

Tax Vote: House Blinks Before Leaping Off Cliff With Obama on SocSecurity Plunder

Notice the curious case of passivity and resignation coming from the so – called “progressive” and “liberal” caucuses in the House of Congress lately on this Republican Wet Dream of extending the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest segment of our society during a Depression ?  And unfunded foreign occupation/wars causing an immense deficit?

There are a few faint sparks of realization in the Democratic caucus, that the President’s trade he cut with Republican Senators to gut Social Security (and hope nobody notices)  by decreasing the payroll tax for it 2%, in exchange for extending some unemployment benefits for millions, for a year,  maybe is going to get them in even bigger trouble down the road.     Even if their own President is willing to call them a bunch of “purist”  poopyheads in public, to get what he wants.  

The House Rules Committee vote on the rule to let this abomination go through was supposed to be this evening, and now it’s delayed.   Speaker Pelosi has decided on a curious tact of allowing a scootch of dissent on the whopping Estate Tax giveaway, while ignoring the rest of the Senate’s version of the tax bill as being worthy.  Extending the Bush – era tax cuts is going to add another trillion dollar hole to the deficit.  This pathetic Congress can’t even get it together to at least come up with a coherent narrative as to why the Bush era tax cuts for the wealthiest were part of a national policy disaster which caused our current problems, and should be repealed.


The House was set to vote on the rule governing debate on the broad tax bill, but the measure was withdrawn at the last minute when leaders realized it was likely to be rejected. Liberals opposed to the deal Obama struck with Republicans were upset that the procedure approved by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday did not allow them a clean opportunity to vote on the legislation the Senate passed on Wednesday. A final vote on the tax deal had been planned for Thursday evening.

Under the rule approved Wednesday, lawmakers would first vote on an amendment to the estate tax provision of the tax bill, which Democratic leaders want raised to a higher level. If that measure passed, the entire tax bill would return to the Senate, meaning lawmakers would have, in effect, approved the underlying measure with the single change to the estate tax. Liberals objected to that procedure, saying they wanted an opportunity to reject the entire bill, not just the estate tax provision.

If the estate tax amendment failed – which is expected – then the House would vote on the underlying Senate bill.

Notice how the above Hill story says they expect the estate tax amendment to fail also.    Yes, this is such a crappy deal that President Obama cut with the Senate Republicans, that we also are going to watch them make sure billionaires  like the Walton Family can pass on larger estates, while millions of regular Americans continue to lose their life savings and meager retirement funds to foreclosures, job losses, and medical bill bankruptcies, because that Health Care Bill has mostly NOT been implemented.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D, NY 28, Rochester, Buffalo, Erie)  of the so – called Progressive Caucus, one of the most “Liberal” members of the House,  is the current head of the Rules committee that is working this charade. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…



Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said some Democrats criticized procedures that would only allow lawmakers to introduce one amendment to the bill, and which, if passed, would send the amended package immediately back to the Senate. The current rule allows each party one amendment and an hour and a half of debate time, with 45 minutes of the Democrats’ time being granted to those in opposition to the bill. The likely amendment would be a change to the bill’s estate-tax provision, presented by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.).

“A lot of members are saying ‘I’d like to amend it, but I’d like to vote against it,’ ” Waxman said.

Catch 22 !  You vote against the Estate tax in the House, and this POS tax giveaway goes directly back to the Senate who then  gives it gift wrapped to the President to sign !  

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who led the charge against the tax deal, said he wants Democrats to be given a chance to make additional amendments to the bill, including changes to tax cuts that could threaten revenue for Social Security.

The leadership is not allowing debate over Social Security because “they don’t have the time,” Welch said. He said Democratic leaders were not “twisting arms” on the matter and would allow dissenting members to state their case.

Still, he said the momentum from the Senate would make it difficult to block the bill.

“I think the die was cast basically in the Senate,” Welch said. “Where we had an opportunity … was by making senators who were going to hold the middle-class tax cuts hostage to the tax cuts at the high end, make them debate that and vote that over and over again.”

They don’t have the time ?

Then why the **** is the Senate going to blow all that non existent time, taking 50 hours reading the budget bill in the Senate ?

12/16/10  GOP will paralyze Senate Floor with reading of 1,924 page spending bill.


Republicans will paralyze the Senate floor for 50 hours by forcing clerks to read every single paragraph of the 1,924-page, $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill.

Senate clerks are expected to read the massive bill in rotating shifts around the clock – taking breaks to drink water and pop throat lozenges  – to keep legislative business on track, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

If Republicans follow through on their threat, legislative business couldn’t resume until late Saturday in order to give the staff enough time to read the bill aloud, according to a Democratic leadership estimate.

Sen. DeMint (R, SC)  :  “Again, We’re trying to run out the clock.”

Sen. Kyl (R, AZ)  :  “”To suggest that we can dual-track an issue as important as the funding of the government with this almost 2,000-page, $1 trillion-plus bill at the same time that we are seriously debating the START treaty is a fantasy.”

So called Liberal bloggers, paraphrased: “We’re trying to ignore this latest betrayal because it makes it awkward on the Holiday Cocktail Circuit.”

My personal interactions with my real friends –  I don’t know of anyone who actually supports this continued capitulation routine, nor the crappy Republican policies being put forth as “compromises,” with a Dem supermajority which refuses to govern with it.    

The Zero-Tax Liability Myth

The GOP pundits and operatives continue to push the “Americans aren’t paying taxes” meme.

Rick Santorum told Fox News viewers on April 7, 2010, “[W]hen you reach the point where people feel like they don’t have to pay anything and they’re getting money out of the Treasury for nothing, then there’s no end to the amount of government that people want.

Drudge was on it; “Rob Thy Neighbor: Half of Households Pay No Fed Income Tax.

Fox Nation’s headline; “Fair? Half the Country Doesn’t Pay Income Tax.

The GOP makes its living on demonizing people, usually minorities, as living on government welfare. So, why are these headlines not screaming about “welfare queens driving Cadillac cars”?

JP Morgan Chase to get yet another taxpayer bailout

  Most people are under the false assumption that the taxpayer bailout of Wall Street banks began and ended with TARP. They couldn’t be more wrong.

  The Wall Street bank bailout began with Federal Reserve subsidies in December 2007, and has continued in one form or another right up to now.

 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is nearing a deal that would allow it to benefit from a tax refund of as much as $1.4 billion, becoming the latest company to tap a little-noticed plank in an economic stimulus bill.

  That law let companies apply losses from 2008 or 2009 against taxes paid in the previous five years, instead of the previous two years.

Class War 101: We need a new progressive tax system

    It is time to set the top tax bracket above $1,000,000

    As you can see in the graph below, many people live in poverty compared to the few wealthy. Mind you, this graph does not include the Capitalist class of the top 2%

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    This next graph shows how income has grown by percentiles over the last few years. Notice anything?

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   That’s right. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

   If this is your first time, welcome to Class War 101

   Anyone with sense can tell that we can not pretend that the American dream is to be a $250,000aire. The dream is to own your own home, to have a family, to have health care when you need it and a retirement and education for our children.

    The way things are going, that will not happen anytime soon.

    40 + years of supply side trickle down free market economics have devastated states and federal budgets. It is time to face the facts. We need a progressive taxation system that adequately taxes the millionaires whose wealth would not be possible without America.

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    After living high on the hog for so long, the rich can not plead poverty

   It is time to get something back.

Tax cheats KBR made $150 million + building Guantanamo bay, Cheney smirks at justice

     According to DoD records made over $150 million dollars building Guantanamo bay’s detainee holding facilities, or, as other’s have come to call them, torture chambers.

    KBR, of course is one of Dick Cheney’s special interests friends.

    Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation’s top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.


    With an estimated $16 billion in contracts, KBR is by far the largest contractor in Iraq, with eight times the work of its nearest competitor.

bostonglobe.com March 6, 2008

    The no-bid contract it received in 2002 to rebuild Iraq’s oil infrastructure and a multibillion-dollar contract to provide support services to troops have long drawn scrutiny because Vice President Dick Cheney was Halliburton’s chief executive from 1995 until he joined the Republican ticket with President Bush in 2000.

bostonglobe.com March 6 ,2008