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Posts Tagged ‘Bank of America’

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Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen announced Wednesday, December 16 that the Fed will raise short term interest rates by .25 percent. That means interest rates are going to rise for the 99 percent; from 15 to 17 percent on credit cards, for example. Home mortgage rates, car loans, home equity credit lines, and student loans, among other loans, are going to rise. Home mortgage loans will rise from about 3 percent to roughly 5 percent.

Yet there are no signs of an inflationary spiral, which would in theory spur the Fed into raising rates, which is one of its falsely stated goals. Then there’s high (but not too high) employment, another cherished and false goal of the Fed. For the last six years the US economy has been creating less jobs every year (and with declining wages) than occurred under that alleged dreadful president, Jimmy Carter, whose four years as president also included rising real wages. Carter did this with an economy and population about half of today’s economy.

Preliminary indications are that the US is headed toward a recession deeper and longer than the last one, and we should arrive there somewhere between seven and seventeen months from now. The Fed’s actions exacerbate these indications by redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, curtailing demand, and hurting the economy, such as a US durable goods sector that is clearly in recession. So what gives? What is the Fed up to?

Despite false statements to the contrary, the Fed actually has pretty much followed only two goals throughout its history, and its latest move is a classic example of this. One goal is to protect the profits and share prices of the big banks, and number two is to protect wealthy investors from their own bad investment decisions. Everybody else is expendable when the Fed undertakes its responsibilities. In other words, the 99 percent is expendable, and often the victims, of the Fed’s actions on behalf of its unstated goals, which is to financially protect the rich.

And so in this most recent Fed action, the Fed is doing its first duty; increasing the earnings and share prices of the big banks at the expense of the 99 percent, which makes it seem, quite accurately, that the relationship between the Fed/Big Banks and the 99 percent is akin to parasites unto their hosts.

Your higher credit payments are going toward greater bank profits, which will provide rising dividends to rich shareholders. Share prices might and should rise, at least in the short term. This is pure income redistribution, and the corporate propaganda network wants you to believe the Fed’s increase in interest rates is to stabilize the economy, or limit non-existent inflationary pressures, or who knows what. But the last thing the corporate press wants you to know is that more of your income is being redistributed by the US Federal Reserve Bank to the rich via higher bank profits, rising shares, and soaring dividends. The rich are going to get richer, and you are going to be more poor.

The ten biggest US banks have many things in common, and one of them is declining share prices since last summer. Clearly, the Fed’s action is intended to reverse the decline.

The ten biggest US banks are:

1 JP Morgan Chase
2. Bank of America
3. Citigroup
4. Wells Fargo
5. US Bancorp
6. Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
7. PNC Bank
8. Capital One
9. HSBC North America Holdings
10. TD Bank US Holding Company

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This story was written by Katie Rose Quandt and originally published on BillMoyers.com.

Front-line workers at our nation’s big banks — tellers, loan interviewers and customer service representatives — are required by their employers to exploit customers, according to a revealing report out today from the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). Big banks have internal systems of penalties and rewards that entice employees to push subprime loans and credit cards on customers who would be better off without them.

CPD’s report outlines several illegal predatory practices big banks have been caught employing, usually via their front-line workers:

Blatantly discriminatory lending:
In 2011 and 2012, Bank of America and Wells Fargo paid out settlements for charging higher rates and fees to tens of thousands of African American and Hispanic borrowers than to similarly qualified white customers. Minority customers were also more likely to be steered into (more expensive, riskier) subprime mortgages.
Manipulating payment processing to maximize overdraft charges:
When a savings account balance drops too low, the bank charges a hefty overdraft fee on each subsequent purchase. Both Bank of America and US Bank paid settlements for intentionally processing customers’ largest debit card payments first, regardless of chronological order, in order to hit $0 faster and maximize overdraft fees. US Bank was also accused of allowing debit card purchases on zero-balance accounts to go through (and incur overdraft fees), instead of denying the charges upfront.
Forcing sale of unneeded products:
Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup were accused of forcing customers to purchase overpriced property insurance.
Manipulative sales quotas:
Lawsuits show Wells Fargo and Bank of America created incentive programs for employees with the interests of the company — not the customer — in mind. Wells Fargo’s sales quotas encouraged bank workers to steer prime-eligible customers to subprime loans, while falsifying other clients’ income information without their knowledge. Bank of America’s “Hustle” program rewarded quantity over quality, encouraging workers to skip processes and checks intended to protect the borrower.

Instead of cutting back on the risky, unethical practices that led to the Great Recession, the CPD report asserts that big banks have not learned from their mistakes. Bank workers report higher levels of sales pressure in 2013 than in 2008, and most do not have the job security or seniority to simply refuse to hawk credit cards or steer customers into risky financial situations. While the financial sector is turning near-record profits, the average bank teller made just $12.25 an hour in 2013 (a real-dollar decrease from 2007), causing 31 percent of tellers’ families to rely on public assistance. What’s more, 85 percent of these underpaid front-line bank employees are women, and one-third are people of color. Most are in no position to risk losing their job or having their pay docked for stepping out of line.

Several anonymous big bank employees went into detail about how their employers incentivize sales:

An HSBC employee reported that when workers fell short of sales goals, the difference was taken out of their paychecks.
A teller at a major bank said she is expected to sell three new checking, savings, or debit card accounts every day. If she falls short, she gets written up.
Customer service representatives at one major bank’s call-center said everyone is expected to make at least 40 percent of the sales of the top seller. Credit card sales count for extra, encouraging callers to push credit cards on customers who would be better served with checking or savings accounts.
A call-center worker said she offers a credit card to every customer, regardless of whether it would be beneficial. She explained: “If you aren’t offering, you can get marked down — the managers and Quality Analysts listen to your call, and can tell if you aren’t offering.”

“We’re not servicing their needs,” said one front-line worker. “What they want, what they need, isn’t important to us. Selling them a product is … Some of our customers just have their savings, many are just retirees.”

As the report concludes, “Our nation’s big banks are committed to a model that jeopardizes our communities and prevents bank employees from having a voice in their workplace.”

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gave a blunt message to the big Wall Street banks that have threatened to withhold campaign donations to Senate Democrats as a means to get Democrats to convince Warren to shut up about the crimes of Wall Street.

“It will not work,” Warren said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post.

Warren is not going to be bought off or frightened so easily. The CEO’s of the banks want to continue and extend their unpunished streak of criminal activities dating back more than two decades. Warren insists these banks should pay the price of their criminal activities which includes, fraud and money laundering, among many other crimes. And that’s how corrupt your government is. When you are rich, there is not a single criminal activity that will net you jail time nowadays.

According to the Huffington Post, “Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America have discussed ways to soften Warren’s strong tone, Reuters reports, and representatives of some have raised the idea of cutting campaign donations to Democrats. Only Citigroup — a frequent target of Warren’s criticism — so far is publicly withholding money from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”

Cutting donations, Warren said, won’t work against her. She said, “They want a showy way to tell Democrats across the country to be scared of speaking out, to be timid about standing up, and to stay away from fighting for what’s right,” Warren wrote. “… I’m not going to stop talking about the unprecedented grasp that Citigroup has on our government’s economic policymaking apparatus … And I’m not going to pretend the work of financial reform is done, when the so-called ‘too big to fail’ banks are even bigger now than they were in 2008.”

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And Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden wonders why I call him Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden!

If we are going to defeat the job killing, environmentally devastating, Trans-Pacific Partnership from being railroaded through Congress using Fast Track Authority, then we need to get Senator Wyden to oppose it once again. He was against it before he was for it, so he can change his mind on this, but your voice matters, so call now. This time his vote in the senate matters most to all Americans.

Please make the call to 1-866-502-6055 and tell the senator you are against Fast Track Authority and the international income redistribution scam known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

What is Fast Track Authority? What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Why does Senator Wyden support them? I’m happy you asked.

The fast track negotiating authority for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Debate is also limited. Fast track negotiating authority is a temporary and controversial power granted to the President by Congress. The authority was in effect from 1975 to 1994, pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, and from 2002 to 2007 by the Trade Act of 2002. Although it expired for new agreements on July 1, 2007, it continued to apply to agreements already under negotiation until they were eventually passed into law in 2011. In 2012, the Obama administration began seeking renewal of the authority.

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we know from leaked documents the TPP is a massive income redistribution scam. The TPP has almost nothing to do with international trade. We know that;

* TPP will give incentives for US corporations to export millions of US jobs. The Federal Reserve estimates that 28 million US jobs were exported between 1990 and 2010.

* TPP will increase US income and wealth inequality. The 1 percent have already taken 95 percent of all income growth in the United States since 2009. Currently, the 1 percent are stealing 36+ percent of all income produced in the USA, compared to only 8 percent in 1980. International trade scams and other federal legislation have brought inequality about. For example, when the above jobs were exported, the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages will go straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices.

* Those lost jobs will no longer be paying the taxes for our infrastructure, K-12 education, higher education (tuition and fees will go up), social safety nets, schools, fire, police, public transportation, social security taxes, but those lost jobs will push the stock markets higher.

* TPP will effectively eliminate your voting rights on local and state issues since it will unconstitutionally grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent, which most people call voter suppression, but in this case it should be called voter elimination,

* TPP will offer new monopolies for Big Pharma to raise medicine prices they charge you (which redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent),

* TPP will limit food safety standards (which redistributes and transforms your health into the profits of the 1 percent),

* TPP will block financial regulations aimed at preventing the next financial crisis (which will make it easier for Wall Street to redistribute your income and wealth to the 1 percent). Bank of America Stands to Gain From This. The bank will be able to steal more money from you with less regulations, which will increase its profits, dividends and share prices, not to mention CEO bonuses. Bank of America is also spending millions of dollars on lobbyists in support of Fast Track and TPP.

* TPP will roll back the limited environmental regulations negotiated with other nations by the administration of President George W. Bush, which will give President Obama a worse environmental record than his predecessor, according to the Sierra Club.

* TPP will destroy millions of jobs in Latin America (230,000 in the textile industry of El Salvador alone) forcing millions of undocumented immigrants into the United States.

Yes, believe it or not, Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden supports this massive income and political power redistribution scam, as well as Fast Track, and corporate plutocrats such as Oregon Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and Congressmen Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader keep saying they haven’t made up their minds. What a corporate plutocrat shocker! Listen below to the video showing Senator Wyden using more than six minutes during a town hall to avoid the question of why he supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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There is a simple reason major US corporations have one of the highest tax rates in the world, and yet, they often pay no taxes, and they often receive billions of dollars in tax rebates from the government on taxes they never paid, as in the case of Bank of America in 2013.

1. By having a large tax rate on paper, the US media propaganda machine, representatives of US corporations, their lobbyists, and their US politicians can argue US corporations have the largest tax liability in the world, and then they will manipulate this lie to generate public support for changes to the corporate tax laws to lower their tax liabilities, which means US corporations will then receive larger tax rebates on taxes they never paid in the future.

2. US corporations enhance their profits with the rebates, which redistributes income from tax payers, i.e. the 99 percent, to the 1 percent. The 99 percent receive less government services by this redistribution, and the 1 percent receive more income. Taxes, coincidentally, are higher on working folks because somebody has to make up the difference between what the government should have in tax revenues, and what the government gives out in tax rebates to the rich. It should be pointed out that any tax rebates on taxes that aren’t even paid is called welfare for the 99 percent, and tax rebates for the 1 percent.

3. The importance of the rebates are massive for publicly traded limited liability corporations, such as Bank of America. The rebate in 2013 increased the bank’s profits by almost 50 percent. That fueled profits to the tune of $1.9 billion in this case, which provided enhanced dividends, as well as surging stock prices to shareholders, and bonuses to important bank officers.

4. Much of those profits, whether actual profits ($4.4 billion), or tax rebates ($1.9 billion), provides more money for Bank of America to purchase politicians of both major political parties, which fuels legislation that further redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent, which will then provide more tax rebates at your expense to Bank of America.

5. Fast Track is a current case in point. Fast Track is legislation pending in congress that will turn over congressional international trade authority to the president of the United States, which is something congressional Wall Street Republicans want to do despite their campaign against President Obama’s imperial presidency, which is, coincidentally, something the Republicans have allowed the presidency to become. That’s because the Wall Street wing of the Republican Party (Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, John Boehner, etc….) and the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party (Ron Wyden, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, etc…) are allies when it comes to working on behalf of Wall Street, and against the interests of the American people.

6. Fast Track will limit debate, not allow for any amendments to the looming international income and political redistribution agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and will not allow any filibuster of this income redistribution scam in the senate. In that way, the public will have less time to be informed of the scheme in congress, and it can pass with 50 votes in the senate, since no filibuster will be allowed, and in case of a tie, Vice President Joe Biden will make the decisive vote in favor of TPP. In other words, senators like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkley, Sharrod Brown, David Vitter etc…. will be unable to filibuster the TPP.

7. We know from leaked documents the TPP is a massive income redistribution scam. The TPP has almost nothing to do with international trade. We know that;

* TPP will give incentives for US corporations to export millions of US jobs. The Federal Reserve estimates that 28 million US jobs were exported between 1990 and 2010.

* TPP will increase US income and wealth inequality. The 1 percent have already taken 95 percent of all income growth in the United States since 2009. Currently, the 1 percent are stealing 36+ percent of all income produced in the USA, compared to only 8 percent in 1980. International trade scams and other federal legislation have brought inequality about. For example, when the above jobs were exported, the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages will go straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices.

* Those lost jobs will no longer be paying the taxes for our infrastructure, social safety nets, schools, fire and police, but those lost jobs will push the stock markets higher.

* TPP will effectively eliminate your voting rights on local and state issues since it will unconstitutionally grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent, which most people call voter suppression, but in this case it should be called voter elimination,

* TPP will offer new monopolies for Big Pharma to raise medicine prices they charge you (which redistributes income from the 99 to the 1 percent),

* TPP will limit food safety standards (which redistributes and transforms your health into the profits of the 1 percent),

* TPP will block financial regulations aimed at preventing the next financial crisis (which will make it easier for Wall Street to redistribute your income and wealth to the 1 percent). Bank of America Stands to Gain From This. The bank will be able to steal more money from you with less regulations, which will increase its profits, dividends and share prices, not to mention CEO bonuses. Bank of America is also spending millions of dollars on lobbyists in support of Fast Track and TPP.

* TPP will destroy millions of jobs in Latin America (230,000 in the textile industry of El Salvador alone) forcing millions of undocumented immigrants into the United States.

* The result of the above will be to depress wages in both North and South America, all to the benefit of the 1 percent, and all at the expense of the 99 percent.

* And we can’t forget that TPP will increase the already massive US trade deficit with other nations, which is supposed to be a bad thing. The exported jobs will be producing goods overseas rather than here, and then US corporations will export their products from China and Vietnam into the United States, exacerbating the current trade deficit.

In other words, the TPP has almost nothing to do with trade. It’s about taking away your money, your voting rights, and giving them to the 1 percent.

TPP, in other words, is designed to put more of your money in the hands of the 1 percent, and this money will be used to corrupt government even more while impoverishing you, and redistributing your future and the future of your children to the 1 percent.

You can rest assured, if Fast Track passes, and the TPP passes with it, profits, as well as the tax rebates Bank of America receives, will become greater, and at your expense.

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Corrupt to the core: The US Government and Both Political Parties

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When corporations pay no taxes, the result is a redistribution of income from the 99 to the 1 percent. When corporations do not pay taxes, the money from those taxes that should have gone to schools, roads, infrastructure maintenance, fire, police and more, are instead diverted to the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, surging share prices and dividends.

Furthermore, most of these major corporations have engaged in scams to overcharge the 99 percent, such as Bank of America and Citigroup in the LIBOR scandal conspiring with other banks to overcharge consumers on interest rates for loans, such as credit cards and auto. The money from that scandal went into the pockets of the 1 percent and came out of the pockets of the 99 percent.

While some corporations do not pay any taxes, many others wind up receiving tax rebates on taxes they never paid (such as Verizon), another redistribution of income from the tax revenues of the 99 percent to the pockets of the 1 percent.

Many of these corporations are stealing record profits, holding down the pay of their 99 percent employees, and shipping jobs overseas. That’s precisely why the economy is legislatively rigged in favor of the one percent, and that shows how corrupt to the core the US government has become over the last thirty years.

So here’s a list of 10 tax-dodging corporations excerpted from the Americans for Tax Fairness report.

Bank of America logo Bank of America runs its business through more than 300 offshore tax-haven subsidiaries. It reported $17.2 billion in accumulated offshore profits in 2012. It would owe $4.3 billion in US taxes if these funds were brought back to the US.
Citi logo Citigroup had $42.6 billion in foreign profits parked offshore in 2012 on which it paid no US taxes. It reported that it would owe $11.5 billion if it brings these funds back to the US. A significant chunk is being held in tax-haven countries.
ExxonMobil had a three-year federal income tax rate of just 15 percent. This gave the company a tax subsidy worth $6.2 billion from 2010-2012. It had $43 billion in offshore profits at the end of 2012, on which it paid no US taxes.
Fedex logo FedEx made $6 billion over the last three years and didn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes, in part because the tax code subsidized its purchase of new planes. This gave FedEx a huge tax subsidy worth $2.1 billion.
GE Logo General Electric received a tax subsidy of nearly $29 billion over the last 11 years. While dodging paying its fair share of federal income taxes, GE pocketed $21.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.
Honeywell logo Honeywell had profits of $5 billion from 2009 to 2012. Yet it paid only $50 million in federal income taxes for the period. Its tax rate was just 1 percent over the last four years. This gave it a huge tax subsidy worth $1.7 billion.
Merck logo Merck had profits of $13.6 billion and paid $2.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2012. While dodging its fair share of federal income taxes, it pocketed $8.7 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.
Microsoft logo Microsoft saved $4.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2011 by transferring profits to a subsidiary in the tax haven of Puerto Rico. It had $60.8 billion in profits stashed offshore in 2012 on which it paid no US taxes.
Pfizer logo Pfizer paid no US income taxes from 2010 to 2012 while earning $43 billion worldwide. It did this in part by performing accounting acrobatics to shift its US profits offshore. It received $2.2 billion in federal tax refunds.
Verizon logo Verizon made $19.3 billion in US pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn’t pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon’s effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012.

rate Tax Dodgers You Should Know About

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