With tax day approaching, a new study released by CALPIRG found that the average California taxpayer in 2011 would have to shoulder an extra $423 tax burden to make up for revenue lost from corporations and wealthy individuals shifting income to offshore tax havens. The report additionally found that to cover the cost of the corporate abuse of tax havens in 2011, small businesses in California would have to foot a bill of over $2,010 on average.
Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals avoid paying an estimated $100 billion in taxes by shifting income to low or no tax offshore tax havens. Of that $100 billion, $60 billion in taxes are avoided specifically by corporations. A GAO study found that at least 83 of the top 100 publically traded corporations use offshore tax havens.
"At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite. A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion toward the rest of society and toward the world. America has developed the world's most competitive market society but has squandered its civic virtue along the way. Without resorting and ethos of social responsibility, there can be no meaningful and sustained economic recovery." ~ Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, Special UN Advisor; Author, The Price of Civilization
Submitted by Tjadendevries on Sun, 11/27/2011 - 4:49pm
Watch the video ... Actually it's worse, when you look at it the right way
The L-Curve graph represents income, not wealth. The distribution of wealth is even more skewed. Quoting from a recently-published book by political philosopher David Schweickart,
If we divided the income of the US into thirds, we find that the top ten percent of the population gets a third, the next thirty percent gets another third, and the bottom sixty percent get the last third. If we divide the wealth of the US into thirds, we find that the top one percent own a third, the next nine percent own another third, and the bottom ninety percent claim the rest. (Actually, these percentages, true a decade ago, are now out of date. The top one percent are now estimated to own between forty and fifty percent of the nation's wealth, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 95%.)
The United States isn’t broke; we’re the richest country on the planet and a country in which the richest among us are doing exceptionally well. But the truth is, our economy is broken, producing more pollution, greenhouse gasses and garbage than any other country. In these and so many other ways, it just isn’t working. But rather than invest in something better, we continue to keep this ‘dinosaur economy’ on life support with hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money. The Story of Broke calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions—renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more—that can deliver jobs AND a healthier environment. It’s time to rebuild the American Dream; but this time, let’s build it better.
If a Republican were president, there would be millions of properly coiffed middle-class Democrats and independents at those Occupy Wall Street marches, and no questions asked as to what they really want. With 25 million Americans unable to find full-time work, 50 million whose homeownership dream has turned into the nightmare of foreclosure, and an all-time high of 46.2 million -- including 22 percent of our children -- living in poverty, the call to throw the bums out would be compelling.
But the protest signs in a nation headed by a Republican, though surely gussied up a bit with ad-agency savvy, would be the same as they are now: Stop catering to the top 1 percent who get ever wealthier, and focus on helping the 99 percent who are hurting. To accomplish that, we need a moratorium on bank-ordered evictions, along with a government-funded program to aid the underemployed that is as robust as the trillions spent to save the Wall Street swindlers who caused all of this trouble.
Instead, we're left with a Democratic president who sooths our rage with promises of decent-paying jobs that in actuality are being vigorously exported from our shores by the president's top corporate backers. That absurdity was marked by Barack Obama's choice of Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric -- a company that has shifted to foreign countries two-thirds of its workforce and 82 percent of its profits -- to head the president's job creation council.
Whether or not you are aware of the ongoing nonviolent protest taking place at Liberty Park in New York, it is important to note that the protests are occurring for your sake, the sake of the 99% of Americans that are being abused by the corruption and greed of the 1% of Americans that control the wealth in our nation. OccupyWallStreet began on September 17, 2011, with the intent of protesting on New York's financial district to show that the 99% is no longer going to take the abuse. Since then, protesters have been at Liberty Park in New York day and night, despite wind, rain, and several arrests by the NYPD. In their efforts, they remain nonviolent, streaming footage on their livestream website for lack of press coverage. American mainstream media has deliberately chosen to ignore the ongoing protests, just as Arab mainstream media did during the Arab Spring revolutions earlier this year.
As elated as we were when President Obama was elected in 2008, after a disastrous eight years under the repressive and war-mongering Bush Administration, the Obama Administration has been a major disappointment to the working class and Progressives of this country.
So much so that on July 30, the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party adopted a resolution criticizing President Obama for negotiating away Democratic Party principles to extremist Republicans, and suggesting that we may explore steps to "effect necessary change, including a possible primary challenge to President Obama." The resolution, overwhelmingly adopted at a meeting of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party July 30, did not say President Obama would not be that candidate.
The officers and members of the caucus are willing to meet with the President if he wishes to discuss our concerns. In fact, we would welcome the opportunity. Our Caucus leadership wishes HOPE BEYOND HOPE that President Obama will rework his priorities to respond to the needs of working class Americans in order to get progressive support in 2012.
A lengthy article, but worth the read. If you don't have time to read the whole article right now, at least read the final paragraph - "But the arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise."
What Happened to Obama?
By DREW WESTEN - NYTimes.com
Drew Westen is a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.”
IT was a blustery day in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009, as it often seems to be on the day of a presidential inauguration. As I stood with my 8-year-old daughter, watching the president deliver his inaugural address, I had a feeling of unease. It wasn’t just that the man who could be so eloquent had seemingly chosen not to be on this auspicious occasion, although that turned out to be a troubling harbinger of things to come. It was that there was a story the American people were waiting to hear — and needed to hear — but he didn’t tell it. And in the ensuing months he continued not to tell it, no matter how outrageous the slings and arrows his opponents threw at him.
The stories our leaders tell us matter, probably almost as much as the stories our parents tell us as children, because they orient us to what is, what could be, and what should be; to the worldviews they hold and to the values they hold sacred. Our brains evolved to “expect” stories with a particular structure, with protagonists and villains, a hill to be climbed or a battle to be fought. Our species existed for more than 100,000 years before the earliest signs of literacy, and another 5,000 years would pass before the majority of humans would know how to read and write.
The Declaration of Independence is best remembered as a declaration of war, a war declared on the grounds that we wanted our own flag. The sheer stupidity and anachronism of the idea serves to discourage any thoughts about why Canada didn't need a bloody war, whether the U.S. war benefitted people outside the new aristocracy to whom power was transferred, what bothered Frederick Douglas so much about a day celebrating "independence," or what the Declaration of Independence actually said.
When you read the Declaration of Independence, it turns out to be an indictment of King George III for various abuses of power. And those abuses of power look fairly similar to abuses of power we happily permit U.S. presidents to engage in today, either as regards the people of this nation or the people of territories and nations that our military occupies today in a manner uncomfortably resembling Britain's rule over the 13 colonies.
Or perhaps I should say, a large portion of us take turns being happy or outraged depending on the political party with which the current president is identified.
White House Takes Heat for GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt's Advisory Role
BY JAKE TAPPER - THE WHITE HOUSE, March 25, 2011
The top tax bracket for U.S. corporations stands at 35 percent, one of the highest rates in the world. So how is it possible that a giant of American business, General Electric, paid nothing in federal taxes last year, even as it made billions in profit?
And should the CEO of GE, Jeffrey Immelt, be advising the president on business?
For two years, President Obama has been talking about the need for corporate tax reform, declaring that the system is too complicated and that companies pay too much.
"Simplify, eliminate loopholes, treat everybody fairly," Obama said in February.
For those unaccustomed to the loopholes and shelters of the corporate tax code, GE's success at avoiding taxes is nothing short of extraordinary. The company, led by Immelt, earned $14.2 billion in profits in 2010, but it paid not a penny in taxes because the bulk of those profits, some $9 billion, were offshore. In fact, GE got a $3.2 billion tax benefit.
Published on Friday, March 25, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
by Deborah Burger
If the deficit hawks in Congress are serious about righting our economic ship and reducing deficits in the federal budget and many state capitols, it would we worth listening to the voices rising from the streets suggesting a very different solution than more cuts in safety net programs, education, pensions, and worker’s rights.
This is not a budget fight, it’s a fight for the future of an America in which everyone should be able to retire in dignity, not worry about whether they can go to the doctor when they get sick, or whether there will still be schools for their kids.
Tell California Legislators that Simple Sentencing Reform Would Save the State $450 Million!
Please join the ACLU, the Drug Policy Alliance and the Ella Baker Center in Sacramento on Monday, March 21, to demand that the State Legislature cut prison spending to protect important health and human services, including drug treatment, and education programs from further devastating budget cuts.
Rally at the State Capitol:
Monday, March 21
South Steps, California State Capitol, Sacramento
Bail-in Bank of America branch at 555 Capital Mall, Sacramento on the 26th. of February. Don't park downtown, find a light rail station with all day parking and go downtown and get off at Seventh Street and Capital Mall. Send messages to US Uncut California chapter.