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Posts Tagged ‘Political corruption’

Many corporations pay no taxes, and actually receive tax rebates from the government, and much of this tax avoidance is passed on to rich investors in the form of capital gains, dividends and bond interest. Corporate tax avoidance is only one way the rich get richer at the expense of the rest of us. There are a ton of others ways this occurs. Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 and received a $129 million tax refund on taxes it did not pay. That $129 million and the unpaid tax money goes straight into the pockets of billionaire shareholders. Click here for other ways the government is making the rich wealthier at your expense.

Reuters reported last week that the US government is “giving millions of dollars in American taxpayer money via the CARES Act to a number of corporations that have avoided paying U.S. tax.

“In all, Reuters’ analysis of public data found around 110 publicly traded companies have each received $4 million or more in emergency aid from the program.

Of those subject to taxes,” which means profitable, “12 of the companies recently used offshore havens to cut their tax bills, the analysis found. All together, these 12 received more than $104 million in loans from U.S. taxpayers. Seven of them paid no U.S. tax at all for the past year.

The program, which provides low-interest loans that are forgivable if companies use most of the money to pay employees, has been widely criticised for problems ranging from early bottlenecks that prevented small businesses from receiving money, to confusion that led millions of dollars to be handed out to relatively affluent firms.

The Treasury Department declined to comment.

Of the almost 110 recipients of $4 million or more, Reuters found 46 paid no U.S. corporate tax for the last year.”

This is just another example of the massive corruption of both major political parties, the Supreme Court, and the Federal Reserve. The billionaires control them all.

 

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Eight weeks into the pandemic, Inequality.com reported that during the eight weeks of March 18th to May 14th 2020 thirty-six million workers became unemployed. “Over these same eight weeks, U.S. billionaires saw their wealth increase by $368.8 billion, a 12.51 percent increase. On March 18th, U.S. billionaires had a combined $2.947 trillion, down from $3.111 trillion a year earlier, according to Forbes annual global billion survey. As of May 14, total U.S. billionaire wealth has increased to $3.316 trillion.” 

Their total wealth rose during the first eight weeks of the pandemic by $205 billion compared to just last year as tens of millions of people became unemployed. Anybody see a disconnect here?

“In the last eight weeks, 14 new billionaires joined the U.S. billionaire list, which increased from 614 to 628. Even with a recent decline in markets, Elon Musk’s wealth increased $3.5 billion in the last week, since May 6. Jeff Bezos’ wealth increased by $900 million and Eric Yuan saw his wealth increase by $800 million.  Mike Bloomberg saw his wealth increase by $400 million.

Between March 18, when Forbes published their 2020 annual Global Billionaire Survey, and the morning of Thursday, May 14, these billionaires have seen their wealth surge:

  • Jeff Bezos – up $30 billion
  • Mark Zuckerberg – up $21 billion
  • Steve Ballmer – up $11.6 billion
  • Elon Musk – up $11.3 billion
  • Michael Bloomberg – up $10 billion

The top 1 percent receive almost all their wealth and income from corporations. The first four government coronavirus bailouts were written in order to save the rich and their sources of income and wealth, while the rest of us got crumbs. (Click here for that story.) U.S. income and wealth inequality has been created by a corrupt government over the last forty years. Thank you Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Ron Wyden.  

Share prices rose since the Federal government and Fed stepped in to protect the assets of the billionaires in late March 2020 with the CARES Act, providing nice capital gains income for the billionaires in return. This increase in share prices also made CEO’s wealthier in the process. 

This should tell you how corrupt our democracy, the Fed, and both major political parties have become, and all three branches of government have become. The rich are saved from their losses, while the 99 percent eat theirs. Socialism is used to save the rich, while the vagaries of capitalism are for the rest of us. We know because the corporate news media tells us so. 

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by 

Rich Rodriguez

Spending trillions of dollars on a crisis against an invisible enemy sounds crazy, right? We just did that in the blink of an eye.

The problem is we are fighting two crises. The global COVID-19 pandemic and the environmental crisis. We’re fighting a good battle on the COVID-19 pandemic, with some winning results. In large part, we are ignoring the environmental crisis as its invisible hand is felt more and more. In 2018 some 37.1 billion metric tons of fossil-fuel CO2 was dumped in our air. There is a price to pay for this recklessness: Witness the recent Oregon wildfires.

To many, it would have seemed ludicrous just three months ago to say we need to spend trillions of dollars to reduce CO2 emissions. Yet, in the last few weeks, the White House negotiated with a cabal of oligarchs and a ruthless kingdom – to raise oil prices! Let that sink in.

From an environmental standpoint, the correct decision would have been to let the frackers go bust while simultaneously announcing investments in renewable energy, energy storage, improvements to the electric grid, and more – creating quality sustainable jobs.



Times of great crisis also creates opportunity. The White House just squandered a golden chance — and placed our existential survival at increased risk. Despite this mistake, we learned something. The people of the United States just learned it is possible to wage a war against an invisible enemy, spend trillions of dollars in the battle, and create winning results.

Let’s get it done. Beat the CO2 crises. Beat global warming. We don’t have much time.

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Not only did legislators of both major political parties make certain when writing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in late March 2020 that the top 0.05 percent receive 80 percent of the benefits, but they also wrote the legislation so that more than 80 percent of a change in the tax law included in the bill benefited the top, as well. This is according to a non-partisan congressional committee.

The CARES Act was sold by the government and the corporate news media as providing worker and business relief for those suffering from the coronavirus quarantine. In fact, it was written to save the financial well being of the billionaires and multi-millionaires who have corrupted both major political parties, and the federal and likely all state governments in the process. The corruption clearly extended to much of the corporate news media since few of them reported on this.

The Guardian points out that the “change – which alters what certain business owners are allowed to deduct from their taxes – will allow some of the nation’s wealthiest to avoid nearly $82 billion of tax liability in 2020.

Nearly 82% of the benefits from the tax law change will go to people making $1 million or more annually in 2020, according to an analysis by the joint committee on taxation (JCT).

Taxpayers will lose nearly $90 billion from the change, which suspends a restriction introduced in the 2017 tax bill.

The change allows owners of businesses known as pass-through entities to lower their taxes by deducting as much as they want against income unrelated to the business.

Before, owners of pass-through entities could deduct a maximum of $250,000 in losses from non-business income such as stocks and bonds. This limitation was introduced in the 2017 law to offset other tax benefits going to firms.”

The rich lost trillions of dollars in paper profits with the stock markets down around 15 percent from their all-time highs. The billionaire owners of hedge funds (largely unregulated investment businesses with 99 or fewer clients) and big-time real estate investors will be the primary beneficiaries.

Currently, the top 1 percent steal 37+ percent of all income produced in the United States compared to 8 percent in 1980. Three people (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates) own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans. This lopsided distribution of both income and wealth has come about due to political corruption. Those at the top of the financial food chain are eating those at the bottom via corrupt politics and with deadly impacts. For example, the US white mortality rate has dropped three years in a row for the first time since the Spanish flu of 1918 struck.

I also want to point out that the CARES Act itself provides a little over $5000 to each member of the 99 percent while giving away an average of over $16 million each to the members of the top 0.01 percent, proving how rampant corruption is in the government. Click The CoronaVirus Stimulus Bill: The Rich Get 5 Trillion, We Get the Crumbs for more on that.

Click Tax change in coronavirus package overwhelmingly benefits millionaires, congressional body finds-Washington Post for more on the story.

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The United States Federal Reserve Bank (the Fed) is bailing out the billionaires again. This time the Fed is making certain that losses suffered by hedge funds are reversed. Hedge funds are not banks. They are private billionaire investment clubs which manage investments for clients and which cannot have more than 99 clients. This is why many hedge funds will not take on clients who are unwilling or unable to invest $10 million or more with them.

On March 16, 2020 the Wall Street Journal reported Hedge Funds Hit by Losses in “‘Basis Trade.’ A wide swath of hedge funds was hit by the recent unwinding of the so-called basis trade last week. The basis trade is a long-running investment that seeks to exploit pricing gaps between Treasury securities and futures.” This is a useless activity in which nothing is made, no services and no goods are produced.

The Journal went on, “The Federal Reserve rushed to repair disorderly trading conditions in the Treasury market last Thursday.” Translated, that means the Fed rushed in to make certain these billionaire investor Hedge Funds did not lose money. Not until 2008 did the Fed rush in to save billionaires from their stupid investment losses through banks and other forms of business, like hedge funds.

The Journal went on, “The Fed’s intervention Thursday and over the weekend ended up aiding Citadel and many (hedge) funds deploying the basis trade, said people familiar with the matter.” That means whatever the Fed did made certain rich folks did not lose money. Citadel manages about $30 billion for 99 or less clients.

Guess who works for Citadel. None other than Ben Bernanke, the former Chairman of the Fed, and the person who turned the Fed into a money laundering organization for billionaires back in 2008-09. The New York Times reported back in 2015, “For eight years, Ben S. Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman, was steward of the world’s largest economy. Now he has signed on to advise one of Wall Street’s biggest hedge funds. Mr. Bernanke will become a senior adviser to Citadel, the $25 billion hedge fund founded by the billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin. He will offer his analysis of global economic and financial issues to Citadel’s investment committees. He will also meet with Citadel’s investors around the globe. It is the latest and most prominent move by a Washington insider through the revolving door into the financial industry.”

“In an interview, Mr. Bernanke said he was sensitive to the public’s anxieties about the “revolving door” between Wall Street and Washington and chose to go to Citadel, in part, because it “is not regulated by the Federal Reserve and I won’t be doing lobbying of any sort.”

It is odd that this billionaire investor club and other hedge funds are getting bailed out by the Fed since the Fed does not regulate them. The Fed is simply printing up money by the billions and rescuing them and their clients from their losses. Why is the Federal Reserve ensuring that billionaire investor clubs do not lose money, and how does Bernanke’s employment depend on the Fed’s actions?

Hedge funds, like Citadel, do not make produce anything that you use, such as machines, food and water. They simply gamble with other people’s billions.

Why is it that when rich people make incredibly stupid investment decisions the government and or the Fed is always there to bail them out? The answer is we do not have a democracy. We have plutocracy in which the rich rule via both of their major political parties.

The billionaires reap the benefits of the financial markets when the markets are going up but do not have to share in the losses with the 99 percent when the markets are heading down.

Historically, the Fed was supposed to serve as a central bank by providing short term loans to banks when necessary and only if the needy banks had “good collateral.” Its job is also to keep inflation and unemployment low using interest rates, and buy U.S. debt when nobody else wants to buy them. That changed in 2008 when the bank under the direction of Ben Bernanke gave $26 trillion to twelve banks, four of them foreign. That is when the Fed became a money laundering criminal enterprise for the wealthy. For that report click The CoronaVirus Stimulus Bill: The Rich Get 5 Trillion, We Get Crumbs

 

 

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The rich receive most of their income, from 2/3rds to 100 percent, via corporations, either through capital gains by the selling of shares or with dividends distributed to shareholders. So it should come as no surprise that the billionaires who control the Republican Party got what they wanted in the Federal stimulus bill while the billionaires who control the Democratic Party got theirs, as well. They got more than the bill itself.

The rich will receive $4.95 trillion from the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill. You read that right. The $2.2 trillion includes more than $450 billion for large corporations, allegedly in loans. The bill includes a proviso that the Federal Reserve can print up to ten times that amount and lend that $4.5 trillion with a nod and a wink to large corporations.

The combined profits of all US corporations in 2018 and 2019 were slightly over $4 trillion before taxes. The rich and their corporations, in other words, are getting more than two years’ worth of profits from the stimulus bill. This money will mainly go to the largest corporations, which means the money will go to a small number of corporations, pretty much the 100 to 150 largest. This means a massive stock market bubble is on the horizon fueled by the Fed, lies, political corruption, smoke and mirrors.

In effect, both the Democratic and the Republican members of the US congress decided to save their rich owners by giving them trillions of dollars, most of which will go to the top 1 percent. Then they throw crumbs to the rest of us and their corporate media dutifully failed to report this. Huffington Post and The American Prospect and a few others did report it.

Now, yes, some of you will say, but these are loans. The corporations need to pay the loans back. Wrong! In the future, Fed officials will tell you the loans have been repaid, or the loans were never made, but those will be lies, just like when Fed officials told us the $26 trillions it loaned out to twelve banks during the Great Recession was all paid back by 2011.

That $26 trillion bailout was top secret. Nobody was going to be told about it except the recipients, banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan/Chase. Then United States House members Ron Paul and Alan Grayson pushed through a bill authorizing the first and only audit of the Fed. The non-partisan General Accounting Office uncovered the $26 trillion bailout. Otherwise, we were never going to be told of it.

The entire U.S. banking industry in the four years from 2008 through 2011 earned $158 billion pre-tax dollars. The $158 billion represents less than 7/10ths of 1 percent of $26 trillion. Obviously, the banks could not have returned the money. It was mathematically impossible. Then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke after the audit proceeded to lie when he claimed the money had been paid back, and this was mostly ignored by the corporate media.

So you know what’s going to happen. Major corporations will receive close to $5 trillion that they will never need to return, and will never pay taxes on since Fed officials will lie and either say, “They paid it back,” or “They never borrowed the money.” Don’t expect another audit for 100 years. (There has only been one audit of the Fed in its 100+ years of existence, and that is how the $26 trillion bailout was discovered. Click this link for that story.)

0.01 percent of the U.S. population will receive nearly $5 trillion. That money will be used for dividends, CEO compensation, share buybacks in the future (since they are limited with this bill),  and just about anything the billionaires want. That’s why they pay the big bucks in the form of campaign contributions to politicians and spend billions of dollars on lobbyists.

In the meantime, a large portion of us 314,685,000 citizens will share $1.75 trillion (about $5500 each on average) to help keep the economy afloat while the roughly 300,000 richest of parasites share $5 trillion, which comes out to a little over $16.6 million each.

That should tell you how corrupt our democracy and both major political parties have become. You should also be aware that with the $26 trillion bank bailout the Fed went from being a central bank to a money-laundering machine for the banks and their rich shareholders. With the new bailout, the Fed has been given permission by the Federal government via both major political parties to be a money launderer for the rich and the rest of their money-making corporations. In other words, the Fed has been a criminal enterprise for the rich by violating U.S. money-laundering laws since 2008.

For more on this from the American Prospect, click the following link.

For more on this from the Huffington Post, click Democrats Are Handing Donald Trump The Keys To The Country: The Senate coronavirus bill is shocking.

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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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