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Monthly Archives: February 2011

teabaggers think corporations should pay no taxes.

I guess the idea is – well, there is no idea, save what the Koch brothers put in their heads.

From Amanda Turkel at Huff Post:

Tea Partiers: Corporations Shouldn’t Have To Pay Taxes

Tea Party protesters who showed up in Madison on Saturday want to help Wisconsin dig out of its fiscal hole, but they don’t think that corporations should have to chip in.

Gov. Scott Walker (R) has argued that his proposal to strip public employees of virtually all of their collective bargaining rights is necessary in order to deal with the state’s tough economic situation.

But there is a source of revenue the state isn’t tapping that could likely be far more lucrative.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, two-thirds of corporations in the state pay no taxes, and the share of corporate tax revenue funding the state government has fallen by half since 1981.

Tea Party protesters have been pretty much completely absent from the protests in Madison all week long, but today they were out in force (although still vastly outnumbered by anti-Walker protesters). Many of them pointed out — and even carried signs underscoring the point — that they had jobs they couldn’t walk away from during the week to come out and protest, as many teachers had done for the past few days.

The Huffington Post asked some of these Tea Partiers if they thought corporations should have to pay taxes in order to help the state financially. All were unaware that this was the case, but they nevertheless said unions were a bigger problem.

“Corporations shouldn’t pay taxes at all. That’s a terrible idea,” said Jay from LaCrosse, who identified as a libertarian and said that businesses would just raise prices and relocate to China if they faced higher taxes.

“No, they pay their taxes. They pay their taxes,” said John from Milwaukee, when The Huffington Post asked if it was fair that he was paying taxes and corporations weren’t.

Virginia from Ogema said Democrats needed to stop blaming President Bush and corporations for all their problems.

[Two notes; “Virginia from Ogema” must be pathologically and terminally stupid. All of our problems DID stem from Bush and the neocons and the corporations. Also: see this on how Walker created his own deficit in order to go after the public workers’ unions: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/wisconsin-gov-walker-ginned-up-budget-shortfall-to-undercut-worker-rights.php ]

Okay, let’s do some reality checking here. It’s not only in Wisconsin; 2 out of every 3 US corporations paid no (zero) federal income tax from 1998 to 2009. We may have a high corporate tax rate on paper, but the fact is that our corporations benefit from massive loopholes and write-offs, and stash funds in offshore accounts (where they don’t have to suffer taxation on the money); they mostly do not pay taxes. At all. Of the ones that do end up paying taxes, the average rate that they pay is two to three per cent.

In 2009, GE generated 10.3 billion in pretax income but ended up owing nothing (zero) to the US government in the way of taxes. In fact, it got a tax benefit of 1.1 billion. GE Capital is a shadow banking corporation and was not only one of the causative factors in the financial meltdown, but also received a bailout under the TARP program. Just as a reminder, the head of GE, Jeffry Immelt, is Obama’s new economic adviser.

In 2009, Exxon reported a record 45.2 billion profit, but paid no (still means zero) taxes to the IRS. It got a refund, in fact. Exxon and other large oil companies receive federal subsidies each year; i.e., your tax money goes to them to do research or something, although it has never been fully explained why the companies that make the most profits in the history of the universe need government subsidies.

I guess the thinking of the teabaggers is that if we levy taxes on corporations, they will simply raise the prices of their products to consumers. This is the Jamie Dimon threat taken to heart: if Obama were to levy a special tax on banks to recoup bailout costs, the banks would just “pass it on to the consumer”, he warned. Hmmm. Why would they do that, I wonder? Because they are greedy and they are allowed to, that’s why. Because they just want to. But think about it. Company earns money from selling product. Out of the money earned, they make new product, pay salaries, pay for the expenses of running the business, advertise said product, etc. Then they have money left over. This is their profit. If they make a profit, why should they need to raise prices? They are already making a profit on the product. Now, based on this profit, they are supposed to pay taxes. What else would they do with the profit? They could invest in new locations or products or perhaps pay huge bonuses to the management staff. So let’s say the company has found a way to skirt the tax bill. A ton of this excess cash goes to bonuses. But we tax the incomes of high wage earners, and so we would theoretically be collecting Uncle Sam’s share that way, right?

Well, not so much. Thanks to the Bush tax cuts, the tax rates on the wealthy are at their lowest in 80 years. As a matter of fact, tax rates on the wealthy are the lowest they’ve been since the 1920’s, right before the Great Depression, when the highest earners were taxed at 25 %.

From 1945 – 1963, the top tax rate was over 90 %.

In the mid-60’s to mid-70’s, the rate dropped to 70 %.

By 1982, the rate dropped again, to 50 %.

In 2001, Bush lowered the rate to 39.1 %.

Right now, the tax rate on the wealthiest people in the nation is about 35 %.

Economists are now beginning to look at income disparity as a driving force in recessions and depressions. Right now, we have the highest poor to rich disparity we have ever had in this country. Ever. Including the Great Depression.

Back to the Wisconsin austerity measures, for that is what they are; Rick Ungar at Forbes points out the the Koch brothers are behind the effort to end public unions. [see: blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/02/18/koch-brothers-behind-wisconsin-efforts-to-kill-public-unions/]

What a stunning surprise! Why the teabaggers do not understand that they are being used to do the dirty work for people like the Koch brothers will always be a mystery.

The neocons, for that is what these newly elected Tea Partiers and Repubs are, will go after the teabaggers and the rest of us next. They don’t want to just bust the unions – they want it all. An end to public education, equal rights, minimum wages, community health clinics, public parks, home ownership save for strictly controlled circumstances, etc. There is even a movement amongst some of the new teabag House members to bring back the time when only the landed gentry voted. Apparently, according to this group, a strict interpretation of the “Founders’ Intentions” requires that only men who own property are capable of the Gravitas, Intellectual Reasoning, and Moral Compunction needed to earn the right to vote. Strictly speaking, of course, this would leave out women and minorities (the Founders did not grant them the vote either) as well as all the people who rent their housing.

Blows my mind that the teabaggers help them, that they are incapable of seeing that every single thing they are willing to give up for their neighbors, they give up for themselves. The teabaggers are helping them, either out of completely mind-blowing ignorance or sheer maliciousness, I’m not sure which. It is very strange how they went from being anti-corporate bailout to being anti-American worker all of a sudden, isn’t it? What do they think will happen? What the fuck do they think will happen? The wealthy and the big corporations will take it ALL, every bit – and these dumb shits are lining up to hand it over. Utterly astounding.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes of all time from one who understood it just a little too late:

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.” – Red Cloud, Lakota chief.

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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in austerity, corporatocracy, economy

 

House Republicans and Teabaggers

decide that the easiest thing is to get it over with. Having mysteriously forgotten about the financial meltdown, who caused it and how, they opt instead to simply kill off as many people as possible in as short a time as possible in order to save money and solve the deficit. Untouched will be the Pentagon budget and Treasury payouts to Wall Street. In an effort to stick with the promises of no taxation, the Bush tax cuts will not be discussed, nor will any taxes on financial transactions or curbing of corporate CEO bonuses be considered.

“People like them mercury vapors from cement plants and pesticides from farm run-off,” said a newly-elected Teabagger, who chose to remain anonymous for the purposes of this interview, “where the hell else can you get such a high – and for free? We ought to be charging for this shit, and the chemicals in frakking water, too. Come to think of it, there’s one new law I could get behind; everyone in a 2000 mile radius of any chemical plant or farm or drilling operation ought to pay Halliburton and them lot a user fee.” Pressed further, he said, “Yup. That’d be about everyone.”

When this reporter pointed out that more people dying at younger ages meant a lower tax base to pay off debts, the House member responded, “We don’t like taxes. We don’t care about taxes. Just like JP Morgan and Goldman don’t care about collecting mortgages – they just want their houses back so they can rebundle the foreclosure papers and sell them off to the Sauds. Less people sucking on the government teat is less people, period, if you see what I mean.”

This reporter did not, in fact, see what he meant, but offers the following by way of summary:

http://www.salon.com/wires/us/2011/02/19/D9LFP3KO0_us_congress_spending/index.html

[Quite obviously, the “interview” posted above is a fabrication and did not actually occur.]

The House also voted to completely defund the Institute of Peace. Apparently, we are done pretending we intend to ever do anything but promulgate wars.

From rawstory:

“The US House of Representatives accepted an amendment to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 on Thursday to eliminate all funding for the US Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent government-funded institution to analyze and prevent international conflict.

” ‘I am very pleased my amendment to end federal funding for the US Institute of Peace was voted on and accepted by my colleagues in the House,’ Rep. Chip Cravaack (D-MN), one of the co-sponsors of the amendment, said. ‘If signed into law, this amendment will save the taxpayers $42 million this year. Washington has been spending beyond its means for years. We must look for places to make cuts so we are not piling mountains of debt on future generations.’

“The amendment was also co-sponsored by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). It was accepted by a 268 to 163 vote.

“USIP was established by Congress in 1984 to provide ‘analysis, training and tools that help to prevent, manage and end violent international conflicts, promote stability and professionalize the field of peacebuilding.’ The institute was responsible for the Iraq Study Group Report published in 2006 that criticized the US strategy in Iraq.

“Rep. Cravaack said USIP was an ‘entirely redundant’ institution, adding that its mission could be ‘accomplished by multiple other departments.’

” ‘It is a sad day when the House votes to eliminate one of the few programs in the budget which is dedicated to conflict prevention and non-violence, while at the same time, enabling another $158 billion in the same budget for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,’ Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said. ‘We have spent $1.1 trillion for war in the past decade, and in striking funding for USIP, Congress has demonstrated that it is on the war path. Everything in the path of war had better take careful notice.’

” ‘The two wars will consume $42.7 million in 142 minutes if $158 billion can finance the wars for an entire year,’ the congressman added.

” ‘How ironic, even as our nation is at war in Afghanistan and shifting from war to peace in Iraq, that anyone in Congress could decide that now is the right time to undermine a proven, innovative congressional institution on the frontlines — helping US men and women in uniform, and on the civilian side, to save lives,’ USIP President Richard Solomon wrote at Politico Thursday.

” ‘USIP’s budget is miniscule—one tenth of 1 percent of the State Department budget — not even enough to cover 40 soldiers in Afghanistan for a year,’ he continued. ‘Yet in the post-Cold War world, its influence has grown dramatically, as its programs have helped the country adjust to a new and challenging international environment.’ “

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2011 in austerity, Congress, economy