I’ve always known that the batshit crazies in this country live in their own odd, reality defying bubbles. Then they are called on it and doubled down beyond reason.
I’ve always known that the batshit crazies in this country live in their own odd, reality defying bubbles. Then they are called on it and doubled down beyond reason.
It would be nice if the governement actually didn’t work for the corporations. I found this on Alternet.com. It makes some great points.We have no revenue coming in from the people *ehem* companies that are making the most money. We give them incentive to hold it hostage so they can get a better tax rate than the poorest Americans. It’s sick and wrong for a government that is supposed to be run By the People For the People can bow down and lick the boots of corporations and the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the nation. They get all this special treatment and tax breaks and the economy gets worse and worse. So what do we do? Exacerbate the special treatment? Of course we do!
The definition of insanity, people, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Duh.
Read this it and let meknow what you think:
If the companies that offshore their profits and design tax scams paid their fair share, we might not have a budget crisis.
Like a pack of men in suits mud wrestling, Washington’s budget battle would be entertaining to watch if we the people weren’t about to get hurt.
The zeal of Republican lawmakers and their compliant counterparts in the Democratic Party to slash spending on Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and the other essential programs will lower the quality of life in our communities and take a toll on public health.
Off to the side of the mud pit, however, is a $1 trillion dollar idea that would support patriotic U.S. businesses, discourage job exports, and restore fairness to our tax system. It’s an idea that already commands widespread public support. It deserves broad bipartisan political support too.
In the last two weeks, congressional leaders, led by Democrats Carl Levin of Michigan in the Senate and Lloyd Doggett of Texas in the House, have introduced an updated version of the “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.” Their proposal would shut down the offshore tax loopholes that encourage corporate tax dodging.
Over the last year, we’ve learned that there are dozens of profitable and prominent U.S. companies that pay either no or very low corporate income taxes. These include Verizon, General Electric, Boeing, and Amazon. One of these companies’ common gimmicks is to shift profits to subsidiaries in low-tax or no-tax countries like the Cayman Islands. They pretend corporate profits pile up “offshore,” while their losses accrue in the U.S., reducing or eliminating their company’s obligation to Uncle Sam.
Yet these same companies use our public infrastructure, hire workers trained in our schools, and depend on the U.S. court system to protect their property. Our military defends their assets, yet they’re not paying their share of the bill. In wartime, the unequal sacrifice and tax shenanigans of these companies is very unseemly.
Corporate tax dodging hurts Main Street firms that are forced to compete on an unlevel playing field. “Why should we be subsidizing U.S. multinationals that use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes?” asked Frank Knapp, CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce at a press conference where the legislation was introduced.
The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would end tax games that are costly, harmful to domestic U.S. businesses and workers, and blatantly unfair to those who pay our fair share of taxes. These same offshore systems facilitate criminal activity, from drug money laundering to terrorist financing networks. Smugglers, drug cartels, and even terrorist networks like al-Qaeda thrive in secret offshore jurisdictions where individuals can hide or obscure the beneficial ownership of bank accounts and corporations to avoid any reporting or government oversight.
The offshore system has spawned a huge tax-dodging industry. Its teams of lawyers and accountants add nothing to the efficiency of markets or products. Instead of making a better widget, companies invest in designing a better tax scam. Reports about General Electric’s storied tax dodging dramatize the ways that modern multinationals view their tax accounting departments as profit centers.
The combination of federal budget concerns and a growing public awareness of corporate tax avoidance promises to focus greater attention on this proposal than past years.
As leaders in Congress debate how to wring out $2 trillion to $4 trillion in deficit reductions over the next decade, this legislation should be at the top of the bipartisan list. The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would generate an estimated $100 billion in revenues a year. That’s $1 trillion over the next decade.
Lawmakers should also reject calls, currently being debated in Congress, for a tax holiday for corporate tax dodgers,. A coalition of global companies, including Google, Apple, and drug giant Pfizer, have stashed an estimated $1.2 trillion in profits offshore. They want to repatriate their profits at drastically reduced tax rates.
Congress should vigorously oppose a “tax holiday” for these tax dodgers. Instead of rewarding fiscally irresponsible behavior, lawmakers should fix the root cause of the problem and outlaw tax haven abuse.
Originally Published at OtherWords.
This is so sad. I don’t understand how WE THE PEOPLE don’t get a say on this stupid act…. We no longer have the right to be called the freest nation in the world.
We have shamed ourselves by glorifying politicians like Regan and Bush, putting people like Bauchman and Palin in charge of ANY kind of public office. The democrats shame themselves over and over again by giving in to every tantrum that the GOP throws. Spineless bunch of corporate, money grubbing hacks.
Why don’t more people listen to TYT? The Young Turks have it right.
One of the single greatest threats to the American economy and our standing in the world is our failure to properly educate our kids and prepare them for the rest of their lives. Our education system is falling behind thanks to short-sighted partisans and corporate elites intent on slashing education funding to the marrow. Montana has slashed them again and it causes a lot of shortfalls. I have cousins in the education system and every year they have to prepare to lose their jobs or change schools or figure out how to cut any corner they can with their new LOWER budgets.
The Think Progress had a really good article on the billionaires trying to end the public education system with the voucher system. This is a good story, We need more reporting like this from Think Progress.
Meet the Billionaires:
ThinkProgress has prepared this report to expose this network and give Americans the knowledge they need to fight back against this assault on the nation’s public schools. Here are some of the top millionaires and their organizations waging war on our education system:
– Dick DeVos: The DeVos family has been active on education issues since the 1990′s. The son of billionaire Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, Sr., DeVos unsuccessfully ran for governor of the state of Michigan, spending $40 million, the most ever spent in a gubernatorial race in the state. In 2002, Dick DeVos sketched out a plan to undermine public education before the Heritage Foundation, explaining that education advocates should stop using the term “public schools” and instead call them “government schools.” He has poured millions of dollars into right-wing causes, including providing hundreds of thousands of dollars into seed money for numerous “school choice” groups, including Utah’s Parents for Choice in Education, which used its PAC money to elect pro-voucher politicians.
– Betsy DeVos: The wife of Dick DeVos, she also coincidentally happens to be the sister of Erik Prince, the leader of Xe, the mercenary outfit formerly known as Blackwater and is a former chair of the Republican Party of Michigan. Mrs. DeVos has been much more aggressive than her husband, pouring her millions into numerous voucher front groups across the country. She launched the pro-voucher group All Children Matter in 2003, which spent $7.6 million in its first year alone to impact state races related vouchers, winning 121 out of 181 races in which it intervened. All Children Matter was found breaking campaign finance laws in 2008, yet has still not paid its $5.2 million fine. She has founded and/or funded a vast network of voucher front groups, including Children First America, the Alliance for School Choice, Kids Hope USA, and the American Federation for Children.
- American Federation for Children (AFC): AFC made headlines recently when it brought together Govs. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Tom Corbett (R-PA) and former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee at a major school choice event in Washington, D.C. AFC is perhaps the most prominent of all the current voucher groups, having been founded in January 2010 by Betsy DeVos. Working together with its PAC of the same name and the 501c(3) organization also lead by DeVos, the Alliance for School Choice, it has served as a launching pad for school choice legislation across the country. AFC made its mark in Wisconsin by pouring thousands of dollars into the state legislative races, donating $40,000 in the service of successfully electing voucher advocate Rep. Kathy Bernier (R) and donating similar amounts to elect Reps. Andre Jacque (R), John Klenke (R), Tom Larson (R), Howard Marklein (R), Erik Severson (R), and Travis Tranel (R). DeVos front group All Children Matter also donated thousands to many of these same voucher advocates. Altogether, AFC spent $820,000 in Wisconsin during the last election, making it the 7th-largest single PAC spender during the election (behind several other mostly right-wing groups with similar agendas).
- Alliance for School Choice (ASC): The Alliance for School Choice is another DeVos front group founded to promote vouchers and serves as the education arm of AFC. In 2008, the last date available for its financial disclosures, its total assets amounted to $5,467,064. DeVos used the organization not only for direct spending into propaganda campaigns, but to give grants to organizations with benign-sounding names so that they could push the radical school choice agenda. For example, in 2008 the organization gave $530,000 grant to the “Black Alliance for Educational Options” in Washington, D.C. and a $433,736 grant to the “Florida School Choice Fund.” This allowed DeVos to promote her causes without necessarily revealing her role. But it isn’t just the DeVos family that’s siphoning money into the Alliance for School Choice and its many front group patrons. Among its other wealthy funders include the Jaquelin Hume Foundation (which gave $75,000 in 2008 and $100,000 in 2006), the brainchild of one of an ultra-wealthy California businessman who brought Ronald Reagan to power, the powerful Wal Mart Foundation (which gave $100,000 in 2005, the Chase Foundation of Virginia (which gave $9,000 in 2007, 2008, and the same amount in 2009), which funds over “supports fifty nonprofit libertarian/conservative public policy research organizations,” and hosts investment banker Derwood Chase, Jr. as a trustee, the infamous oil billionaire-driven Charles Koch Foundation ($10,000 in 2005), and the powerful Wal Mart family’s Walton Family Foundation (more than $3 million over 2004-2005).
- Bill and Susan Oberndorf: This Oberndorfs use their fortune, gained from Bill’s position as the managing director of the investment firm SPO Partners, to funnel money to a wide variety of school choice and corporate education reform groups. In 2009, their Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation gave $376,793 to AFC, $5,000 to the Center for Education Reform, and $50,000 to the Brighter Choice Foundation. Additionally, Bill Oberndorf gave half a million dollars to the school choice front group All Children Matter between 2005 and 2007. At a recent education panel, Bill Oberndorf was credited with giving “tens of millions” of dollars of his personal wealth to the school choice movement, and said that the passage of the Indiana voucher law was the “gold standard” for what should be done across America.
- The Walton Family Foundation (WFF):The Wal Mart-backed WFF is one of the most powerful foundations in the country, having made investments in 2009 totaling over $378 million. In addition to financing a number of privately-managed charter schools itself, the foundation showered ASC with millions of dollars in 2009. It also gave over a million dollars to the New York-based Brighter Choice Foundation, half a million dollars to the Florida School Choice Fund, $105,000 to the Foundation for Educational Choice, $774,512 to the Friends of Educational Choice, $400,000 to School Choice Ohio, and gave $50,000 to the Piton Foundation to promote a media campaign around the Colorado School Choice website — all in 2009 alone. WFF’s push for expanding private school education and undermining traditional public schools was best summed up by John Walton’s words in an interview in 2000. An interviewer asked him, “Do you think there’s money to be made in education?” Walton replied, “Absolutely. I think it will offer a reasonable return for investors.” (He also did vigorously argue in the same interview that he does not want to abolish public education).
The wealthy families and powerful corporate-backed foundations presented here are just a sampling of some of the forces currently taking aim at public education. By demonizing traditional public schools and the teachers that staff them, this corporate education movement is undermining a very basic aspect of our democracy: a public commons that provides true opportunity for all, no matter what their background or socioeconomic status.
While the goals of the figures in this movement are varied, their assault on our public education system is one and the same. Joseph Bast, the president and CEO of the Heartland Institute, explained his own thinking about vouchers once, saying, “The complete privatization of schooling might be desirable, but this objective is politically impossible for the time being. Vouchers are a type of reform that is possible now, and would put us on the path to further privatization.” It’s up to Americans to protect their schools, teachers, kids, and communities from that fate.
This is what is behind all these privatizations programs, people with so much money, because they haven’t been paying taxes for years, who are looking for investment opportunities. They are forcing the privatization of as many government functions as they can simply because they have so much money and most other productive investments have moved overseas. These billionaires have several investment choices: they can invest their money in other countries which many are doing, they can finance our own national debt, which Robert Reich notes at Alternet is now 40 percent financed by wealthy Americans, or they can force the privatization of government services such as prisons, Social Security, education, police and fire fighting services and invest in those and start providing those to the taxpayers for a fee. In this particularly insidious case they are being paid by middle class taxpayers as part of their privatization scheme while lowering the quality of education and driving down the wages and benefits of educators.
The reason they have all this money and can basically declare war on the American way of doing things is because they haven’t been paying any substantive taxes for about 30 years now, they have amassed huge amounts of capital and they need someplace to spend/invest it. Since they have been paying less and less in taxes, the government has been starved of income at all levels and they have been able to use their money to buy their way into all kinds of deals in numerous states where they have basically simply paid to play. At some point the voters have to wake up and take a stand against this. But it might already be too late!
This is also why Republicans are ultimately ambiguous about cutting the national debt. One of the arguments that Bush made during his the early days of his tax cut campaign was that Clinton’s debt reduction plan would reduce the debt too quickly and this would be bad for the economy. Currently the Republicans and their banking friends own 40% of the debt which means they stand to collect at least 40% of the over $400 billion in interest that will be paid on that debt. It it were paid down too fact they would lose some of that nearly $200 billion that they stand to collect from the taxpayer. The owners of that debt really don’t want to lose that income, so while some Republican supporters want to purchase as much of the government owned properties and services as they can, other Republicans don’t want to really the debt to be paid down. This is why we keep hearing about ending social programs and meaningless cuts like NPR but we don’t see anything meaningful like military spending or cuts to Homeland Security being proposed.
In the end the Republicans are balancing these different forces while increasingly transferring all costs of government from the rich to the middle classes. That is their real project. Protect the “have mores” from any share of the cost of government. And continue to transfer productive capital investment offshore where car companies like General Motors can pay Indian assembly line workers from $.47 to $.85 an hour. Meanwhile, convincing the American voters that the reason they are moving offshore is too much regulation!
The Waltons, Coors, DeVos, Kochs, Prince’s and others are trying to get their hands on the few dollars they don’t have. We are seeing it with their overreach in the states, the push to privatize social security, (which would make the market jump for a while, thus increasing the wealth of the ultra wealthy), and the push to privatize Medicare.
These people do not care about this country, they are simply following wherever the money is.
I read Robert Reich, also. He has a lot of very insightful views on what is happening. Along with his postings on Alternet, and TV interviews, he has a blog. http://robertreich.org/
The lowering of the tax rates on business, has caused people to take their money out of their businesses, to invest in other things, thus causing the bubbles. With the lower tax rate, have come large deficits, and lack of services. These cuts have made the nation unsafe in many ways. People die when there are not services, the infrastructure is crumbling, and people are unable to find jobs where they can support themselves.
With these man-made crises has come an opportunity for the right wing to claim that the regulations that keep this country safe cause a lack of jobs. The job situation in this country has gotten so bad because our tax code encourages outsourcing, by rewarding the people who outsource.
It’s official: The U.S. government hit the debt ceiling on Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress. Okay so we hit it. Geither is going to suspend the investments in the retirement funds until the ceiling is raised and there is another ‘deadline’ of Aug. 2nd. Geithner said. “Federal retirees and employees will be unaffected by these actions.” He went on to urge Congress once again to raise the country’s legal borrowing limit soon “to protect the full faith and credit of the United States and avoid catastrophic economic consequences for citizens.” Congress is threatening to hold out until Obama agrees to start cutting SS medicare and medicaid. How utterly ridiculous.
In theory this ‘ceiling’ is supposed to be a stop sign for the government to quit spending money they don’t really have, what average humans might call a ‘budget.’ Has this cap ever stopped it? Hell no. Let me say that again for those in the back of the room that didn’t hear me… HELL, NO. Since it was enacted in march 1962, the debt ceiling has been raised 74 times, according to the Congressional Research Service. Ten of those times have occurred since 2001. Thank you Bush’s war. Wait, it was two wars. (Hello, Mr. Bush. Raise the roof! Rawr!) Somehow the GOP seems to have forgotten that most of this debt was right-wing pandering to wealthy people, corporations and war profiteers. The GOP is greedy and the Democrats are spineless and the progressives are ignored so I expect no less from congress for the next decade.
From what I’ve been told about setting a budget it’s all about maximizing your income when you can and cutting spending where you need to. Well, those tax cuts would be a good thing to increase our revenue, also the welfare for the banks, corporations, and Oil companies that pay less taxes than I do. (Income % wise) I’m also sure that they don’t have a Mega bank harassing them over a student loan that they have REFUSED to work with me over. I have used my last TWO tax returns (tiny by attorney fee standards actually) to hire a lawyer who has basically been working for free to keep them from suing me for a policy that is discriminatory against low income graduates. (I’m poor because it’s fun (c;) But, I digress.
With all the debt and money strife here in MT and in every other state in the nation you would think that Congress would cut the unnecessary spending such as the Bush-wealthy-friends welfare program or continued pay raises to themselves, right? NOPE. Tester is STILL dragging his heals about the debit card caps and not actually helping his state realize any sort of gains. Please don’t get me started on the anti-woman shit going on in Helena these days. Where are all those professed progressives in Missoula??? Why the hell haven’t I seen those guys in office and shaking things up? Too busy trying to “keep Missoula weird”? Okay, well what about everyone else? Where are you guys? Sadly, like me, they probably led a regular life and don’t have the money to temporarily hide the skeletons in our closets until after getting in to office…sigh.
Here is a good article on the debt ceiling at CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/31/news/economy/debt_ceiling_debate/index.htm?iid=EAL
Why does the GOP get so myopic about taxes and social programs? That’s right, they don’t care if your grandma and grandpa starve or go without needed medical care as long as their pockets and their friend’s pockets stay fat.
Maybe I’m wrong or just in the wrong tax bracket.
The Heartless Way Conservatives Treat Young Women Who Choose to Have Babies
By Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet
Posted on May 1, 2011, Printed on May 5, 2011
Last week, “The Rachel Maddow Show” ran a story on Michigan politics that had footage so distressing it apparently created an avalanche of mail for the show. The new Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, signed a law that allows the state to functionally dissolve local governments and hand them over to “emergency managers,” who are using their new powers to enact a series of wish list items for conservatives under the guise of fiscal responsibility. It’s a project that’s been dubbed “fiscal martial law”, and the latest victims were a group of school girls that were manhandled by police and arrested, all because they wanted to keep their current educational opportunities. Maddow’s show ran the unnerving footage of police shoving, cuffing and pushing around teenage girls, while the sirens wailed over the girls’ shouts and cries.
The girls were arrested for holding a sit-in to protest the closing of their school, the Catherine Ferguson Academy, which was established to serve students who are pregnant or mothering. The school provides day care and parenting classes, and focuses on getting students to college and giving them skills that help future self-sufficiency. Supposedly “pro-life” conservatives should not only be supporting this school, but demanding that every high school in the country provide these services to teenage mothers. After all, these girls did what anti-choicers ask of them. They chose to have their babies. And now the very same conservatives that wax sentimental about “choosing life” are working to shut down the educational opportunities of young women who did what anti-choicers want, by having their babies.
The imminent shut down of Catherine Ferguson demonstrates the emptiness of Republican claims that they oppose reproductive rights because they value life. Instead, Republican policies are rooted in a sadistic desire to punish and control, and to deprive women—especially young women, poor women, and women of color—of any opportunities whatsoever. Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, explained, “I think the range of actions being taken against pregnant women reflects what has been underlying attacks on Roe and abortion all along, a fundamental disrespect for pregnant women, regardless of what decisions they make. The combination of attacks that seek to deprive women not only of reproductive health care but food (through cuts to the WIC program) as well as education for pregnant teens makes clear that it is pregnant women’s personhood and not just their right to choose that is being targeted.”
Michigan Republicans are trying to put pregnant women in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation. If you don’t want to have the baby, good luck to you trying to get an abortion in Michigan. The state already has been given an F by NARAL, especially for heavy restrictions on abortion access for young and low income women. The state also has onerous waiting periods, complete with false information about the risks of abortion. But some Republican legislators don’t think women who want to terminate pregnancies are hassled enough. State senator David Robertson has introduced a bill that would require abortion clinics not only to do an ultrasound, but to provide hard copy pictures of it to the patient before she’s allowed to have her abortion. This adds to the expense of an abortion, as well as creates time constraints that make it harder for clinics to serve all their patients with the best level of care. It also treats pregnant women making difficult decisions like they’re addled-minded morons, demonstrating further the amount of contempt that conservatives have for the personhood of pregnant women.
But just because they don’t want you to say no to having a baby means that Michigan Republicans want you to say yes, either, as the girls at Catherine Ferguson have learned. Young women trying to parent and finish high school face often insurmountable challenges. For one thing, being pregnant or mothering in high school is heavily stigmatized, and they face discrimination from school officials, teachers, and their fellow students. They also face a series of pragmatic problems. Balancing school and motherhood requires childcare, something most high school students can’t even begin to access or afford. Being a parent requires money, too. Trying to balance work, parenting, and school proves too much for many young mothers. Fewer than half of teenage mothers go on to complete high school.
Separate schools for teenage mothers draw criticism from people on the left as well as the right. Liberal critics say that teenage mothers should be integrated into their regular high schools, and the services offered at specialty schools should be available at ordinary high schools. While these critics have a point, the cold fact of the matter is that as long as services for teenage mothers are not integrated into regular schools, places like Catherine Ferguson serve a role. This particular school has a 90% graduation rate, more than twice the national average for teenage mothers. Most importantly, the girls themselves cherish the school, which is why they put their bodies on the line in order to save it.
Gov. Snyder claims to be “firmly pro-life”, but his governing decisions that led to multiple young mothers getting arrested because they want a better lives for themselves and their small children shows he is anything but. He and other Republicans who oppose reproductive rights are better understood as anti-choice and anti-woman. Their stance isn’t pro-fetus, but pro-punishment. If you get pregnant outside of their very narrow parameters of what’s acceptable (middle class, married, white), they simply want you to suffer for it. If your decision is terminate the pregnancy, they will make you suffer. But as the girls at Catherine Ferguson are learning, if you choose to have the baby, you will also be made to suffer. You may even find yourself hauled away in handcuffs if you dare suggest you deserve to have something as simple as a high school education.
Amanda Marcotte co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.
© 2011 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/150797/