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Posts Tagged ‘Political corruption’

Eight billionaires possess the same amount of wealth, and probably more, as the lower half of the world’s population, according to an analysis from the charity Oxfam released last Sunday.

Six of these billionaires, from Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, are American entrepreneurs: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Rounding out the list are Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon, and Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of a retail conglomerate that includes clothing chain Zara. Together their net wealth ― assets minus debts ― amounts to $426 billion.

“Left unchecked, growing inequality threatens to pull our societies apart,” Oxfam writes in its report, citing Brexit, the rise of President Donald Trump and a rise in the widespread disillusionment with the absolute corruption of mainstream politics, which has been provided by, and benefitted, the rich at the expense of everybody else.

In 2016, the richest 1 percent of the world held slightly more than half of the wealth of the entire planet, Oxfam noted. While the 1,810 billionaires on Forbes’s list, 89 percent male, hold $6.5 trillion, as much wealth as 70 percent of humanity.

In other words, 70 percent of the world’s population is fighting among themselves over crumbs the rich have yet to scoop up.

All of the corruption is used to tilt the economic game in favor of the billionaires allowing them via the government to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 percent to themselves. Some of the corruption in the United States have included the successful negotiation of trade agreements with an eye toward lowering wages worldwide, suppression of federal minimum wage increases, Supreme Court decisions that have nearly eliminated 100+ years of campaign finance laws, the war against labor unions waged by the rich via their helpful federal government and their corrupt United States Supreme Court, lowering the tax rates of the rich to the point where billionaires now pay a lower rate than middle-class income earners. and the privatization of public services.

Last year, when Oxfam did its report, it took 62 billionaires to equal the bottom half of the world. The change this year seems drastic because of improvements in the quality of the data Credit Suisse was able to get. If Oxfam had used that improved data last year, it would’ve taken just 9 billionaires to reach parity with the world’s bottom half, Kripke said.

Rising inequality causes more than a sense of moral outrage and the election of reality TV stars. There’s a wide body of research that shows inequality adversely affects the health of those at the bottom, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease, increasing suicide rates and shortening lifespans. Some attribute the rise in the death rate of white people and the heroin epidemic to inequality.

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I paid my wealth tax of almost $3000 earlier this month. Doing so left me broke for a couple of weeks. This wealth tax is called a property tax, but the land you own is part of your wealth and my property tax could just as easily be called a wealth tax since it taxes part of my wealth.

Until recently, progressive taxation had been part of the fabric of American democracy for over a century. The idea the rich can pay more is quite biblical, just ask Jesus. Somebody who has $100 billion in wealth is going to pay $3 billion or so in tax, and some of them are acting as though the taxman is going to swing an ax into their billion-dollar genitals if the tax legislation is enacted.
These billionaires have rigged the economy in their favor by using their billions to corrupt both major political parties and the federal government in the process. They have used corruption to redistribute trillions of dollars from working folks to themselves in the process. This is why three people (Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos) own more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population. This is why the 1 percent have gained $21 trillion since 1989 and the bottom half of U.S. citizens have lost $900 billion (See  the-corrupting-billionaires-have-gotten-richer-by-21-trillion-since-1989)

Exporting millions of jobs via trade agreements alone sent trillions of dollars from working people to the billionaires over the last forty years. The difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower third world pay goes straight into the pockets of the billionaires via higher corporate profits, rising dividends, and surging share prices.

Corruption and class warfare against the 99 percent are running wild in all three branches of government, and that tiny progressive tax is a step in the right direction that might help put an end to it and restore U.S. democracy in the process.

I do not agree with everything Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders propose. However, I agree with former President Barack Obama when he said: “Income inequality is the defining challenge of our time.” He said it one time. Then somebody likely took him to the side, told him never to say it again, and he never did. Now he makes $400,000 a speech, which is $150,000 more than Bill and Hillary Clinton make.

We can put an end to this type of revolving-door corruption and other forms of political corruption. The wealth tax is just a tiny step in the right direction.

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Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren understands economics and political power. She understands democracy, and she understands we no longer have a democracy. We have a plutocracy, which is a government for the rich and by the rich. The rich and their corporations have their power over all three branches of government, and they have used that power to redistribute tens of trillions of dollars from working people to themselves over the last forty years.

This week hedge fund CEO Leon Cooperman sent her a five-page letter complaining that she doesn’t know anything about billionaires, or him in particular. Leon apparently does not know that when you export millions of jobs, the difference between the old higher U.S. compensation and the new low, that is very low, third-world wages with no benefits goes straight into the pockets of the rich while the job losers get unemployment insurance.

This is why three people own more wealth than the bottom half of the U.S. population, This is why the six richest people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half of humanity. This is why 38+ percent of all income in the U.S. goes into the pockets of the 1 percent every year compared to roughly 8 percent as late as 1979. The billionaires have created massive amounts of political corruption and the destruction of United States democracy in the process. Warren understands this.

Leon Cooperman is facing a tax hike if Warren becomes president. Apparently, many billionaires are assuming this is the end of life as they know it.

Warren’s tax agenda has become a lightning rod for criticism by the ultrawealthy, including some, like Cooperman, who identify as political moderates. “What is wrong with billionaires?” Cooperman complained to Politico in a story that appeared last week. “You can become a billionaire by developing products and services that people will pay for.” Warren is not against billionaires who do this. She is against those who have rigged the economy and destroyed U.S. democracy in the process.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren cited recent Pew Research Center polling that found only 18% of Americans say they can trust the U.S. government to do the right thing to unveil her Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act on Tuesday.

It is well known that the rich, their corporations, and their lobbyists have bought almost every member of the United States House of Representatives and almost every member of the Senate since 1981, which include such corrupt blowhards as RepubliCons Orrin Hatch, Mitch McConnell and Democrat Ron Wyden. Since 1981, every United States president has bent to the desires of the well-to-do on all matters having to do with redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Wyden, Hatch, and McConnell have voted to redistribute income and wealth from the 99 percent to the rich and powerful time and time again when they voted to export millions of jobs held by United States citizens via trade agreements.

The difference between the old higher US wages and benefits and the new three dollars a day jobs in foreign nations goes straight into the pockets of the super-rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and surging dividends. The newly unemployed in the U.S. might get unemployment insurance for a few months if they are lucky.

Political corruption is precisely why income inequality has grown from the 1 percent receiving 8 percent of all income produced in the USA in 1980 to 37 percent today, and why three people own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the U.S. population, and why the 1 percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

Warren’s plan provides a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress, Presidents, and agency heads and banning foreign lobbying and lobbyists donations to candidates and members of Congress.

Warren’s bill seeks to eliminate both the appearance and the potential for financial conflicts of interest by banning members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, federal judges, and other senior government officials from owning and trading individual stock, including requiring the Supreme Court follow the ethics rules applicable to all other federal judges. One study has found that members of the U.S. Supreme Court rule in favor of companies they invest in.

Warren advocates “locking the government-to-lobbying revolving door” and eliminating the “golden parachutes” that companies pay some executives when they enter public service, citing the instance of Goldman Sachs paying Gary Cohn more than $250 million when he left the firm to lead President Trump’s National Economic Council.

Warren’s legislation also aims to end what she characterizes as the corporate capture of public interest rulemaking by requiring disclosure of funding or editorial conflicts of interest when corporations and special interest groups pay for comments and studies that support rulemaking, as well as requiring elected officials and candidates for federal office to disclose more financial and tax information and making federal contractors – including private prisons and immigration detention centers – comply with federal open records laws.

A lot more can be done to end corruption in the U.S. government. Banning the paid speeches made by former presidents and high officials is a starter. Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama get $250,000 a pop for half-hour paid speeches. Who is to say the lure and promise of future profits do not influence the choices made by people in high office? In addition, the government could limit the amount of funding of political campaigns provided by political action committees, corporations, and individuals. However, the corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court has been so corrupted by the inflow of cash and favors and class warfare mentality in favor of their social and economic class, that they eliminated one hundred years of legal precedent in the Citizens United case of 2010 that limited contributions as outlined in the sentence above. Reversing that, and successfully impeaching the corrupt corporate wing of the Supreme Court would go a long way toward ending the massive wave of political corruption that has swamped the United States governments at all levels like rising tides of overflowing cesspools.

For the complete story, see Elizabeth Warren Proposes Ways to Fight Political Corruption–MarketWatch.

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The 99 percent of the United States need a champion in the White House (and a lot more in Congress) and Joe Biden is not that person. Biden is a virtual employee of the super-rich, Wall Street executives and big corporations.

The corporate news media made a big play for Biden’s candidacy both before and when he entered the Democratic Party primary. This pushed Biden out to a big polling lead over the anti-Wall Street progressive candidates, such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Biden initially polled in the mid-40 percent range after he announced his candidacy.

This was never a good sign for Biden because he needed to poll over 50 percent in order to win the Democratic Party candidacy. As the twenty or so Democratic candidates fall by the wayside during the state primaries, the eventual progressive candidate who will oppose Biden will likely receive the vast majority of votes that otherwise would have gone to the failed progressive candidates.

Biden’s poll numbers have gradually dropped to the mid to late 20s as his record as a representative of the filthy rich and as an opponent of the vast majority of American citizens are exposed.

For example, Biden has proposed cutting Social Security benefits for working Americans on three occasions. He has also proposed cutting Medicare. As a US senator, Biden was one of the few Democrats to vote to export millions of United States jobs, and redistribute hundreds of billions (if not trillions) of dollars from working Americans to the rich, when he voted for NAFTA. The difference between the old higher US pay the new lower Mexican pay goes straight into the pockets of the rich year after year for as long as those former US jobs exist in Mexico.

Likewise, Vice President Biden was a big booster of the ill-fated Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that would have exported millions more US jobs overseas and redistributed trillions of dollars a year from working Americans to the wealthy in the process.

Many American voters are worried about income and wealth inequality in favor of the affluent. Like Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, Biden is an architect of these inequalities, and he has the record to prove it, though nobody will hear him brag about it unless it is to the billionaires in private.

Biden is the wrong person at the wrong time for the vast majority of US citizens, and more and more Democratic Party voters can smell the stench of Wall Street all over Joe Biden. Billionaire investors have marked Biden and Wyden the same as cats mark their territory and property.

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Income and wealth inequality continues to rise in favor of the richest 0.5 percent in the United States and throughout the world. This is due solely to political corruption, often presented as making common sense. Former President Bill Clinton, who, like his wife, is owned by billionaires, is a perfect example of such political corruption, as much as any RepubliCon party politician, and that political party is the epidemy of corruption.

Twenty-five years ago, Clinton campaigned on an idea for limiting excessive pay for American CEOs by capping the tax deductibility of top executives’ compensation at $1 million, and corporations, not wanting bigger tax bills, might reel in their pay. Under the Clinton backed legislation, corporations couldn’t deduct CEO pay over $1 million unless it was “performance-based.” So stock options and performance-based bonuses became the norm. We were told this was a good thing, but, like many things the US public has been told by its corrupted political and business leaders, as well as the corrupted news media, this was a lie, and most likely a deliberate lie.

This lie has resulted in chief executive officers earning more money in less than an hour as much as their typical employee earns in an entire year. Notice the corruption of both political parties has decided not to rescind Clinton’s legislation that he signed on behalf of the rich and their corporations. Notice Joe Biden, an old, sleazy Wall Street pawn, hasn’t said a word either.

USA Today reported a month or so ago that “Stock options – which are often indicative of CEO performance – are not taxable, however, and as such, are often a preferred form of CEO compensation reported.”

Clinton’s legislation gone bad is one of the reasons why stock buybacks have become so popular with CEOs. 59 percent of corporate profits in recent years has gone toward stock buybacks, according to a story in the Guardian a few months ago. This is an easy way to manipulate stock prices higher and make an extra buck in the process. Corporations buy their own lousy stock, driving the prices higher, and then turn around and gradually sell their stock at the higher prices. Any high school student in the same position as any CEO would do the same since the result is higher CEO compensation.

Of course, CEO’s also drive wages, salaries, and benefits downward in order to increase their own compensation via stock options and bonuses. The result has been unprecedented income and wealth inequality. Thank you RepubliCon Party, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden.

According to USA Today’s report, the most overpaid CEOs are:

1. Arthur L. Peck
• Company: The Gap Inc.
• CEO annual pay: $20.8 million (3,566 times the typical employee)
• Median annual employee pay: $5,831
• Annual corporate profit: $1.0 billion

2. Ynon Kreiz
• Company: Mattel Inc.
• CEO annual pay: $18.7 million (3,408 times the typical employee)
• Median annual employee pay: $5,489
• Annual corporate profit: -$531.0 million

3. Joseph M. Hogan
• Company: Align Technology Inc.
• CEO annual pay: $41.8 million (3,168 times the typical employee)
• Median annual employee pay: $13,180
• Annual corporate profit: $400.2 million

4. Kevin P. Clark
• Company: Aptiv PLC
• CEO annual pay: $14.1 million (2,609 times the typical employee)
• Median annual employee pay: $5,414
• Annual corporate profit: $1.1 billion

5. Brian R. Niccol
• Company: Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
• CEO annual pay: $33.6 million (2,438 times the typical employee)
• Median annual employee pay: $13,779
• Annual corporate profit: $176.6 million

For a list of the top thirteen, as well as the full story, click on the link below.

CEO’s Made 1000 Times More Than Their Employees

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One of the great lies told by RepubliCon Party stalwarts is that the United States corporations pay the highest corporate taxes in the world. The U.S. has a high corporation tax rate, but it filled with so many loopholes that many major corporations pay no federal taxes, and often receive tax rebates from the federal government on taxes they never paid.

 

Failure to pay federal taxes gives corporations more money to give to their wealthy owners and CEOs via ever rising dividends and share prices. It also gives the CEO’s more money to manipulate the stock prices of their corporations via ever increasing stock buybacks. This, in turn, enriches CEO’s and affluent shareholders since much of their compensation is based on how well their company’s stock performs. This results in greater income and wealth inequality since the rich derive most of their income and wealth through their corporations, and the unearned income they receive, which wield tremendous influence over the United States economic, political and judicial markets.

A corporation is simply an idea of a business structure given a legal framework to exist by state legislatures. The conservative/corporate wing of the United States Supreme Court has decided these ideas that have been given a legal framework to exist are real people deserving of full constitutional rights. In other words, the billionaire wing of the United States Supreme Court has gone out of its way to wage class warfare on behalf of the rich and against the 99 percent by making up stories that corporations are people and have free speech rights; corporate free speech rights mean buying the airwaves and filling it with what the rich want us to believe, most of which are lies or are intended to divert our attention away from the real issues, such as the destruction of the middle class.

The corporations avoiding income taxes in 2018 represent a range of segments of the U.S. economy:

* Computer maker International Business Machines (IBM) earned $500 million in U.S. income and received a federal income tax rebate of $342 million.
* The retail giant Amazon reported $11 billion of U.S. income and claimed a federal income tax rebate of $129 million.
* The streaming service Netflix paid no federal income tax on $856 million of U.S. income.
* Beer maker Molson Coors enjoyed $1.3 billion of U.S. income in 2018 and received a federal income tax rebate of $22.9 million.
* Automaker General Motors reported a negative tax rate on $4.3 billion of income.

Paying no income taxes means rising share prices and higher dividends for the rich. Virtually all the income and wealth stolen by the rich from the rest of us come in the form of UNEARNED INCOME.

See the full story by clicking on the following link.

Corporate Tax Avoidance Remains Rampant Under New Tax Law

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