Tag Archives: taxes

Taxes, Texas-Style

Texas has to be the only state where they allow a company to collect taxes and then keep the money instead of turning it over to the government:

CBS 11’s I-Team has obtained a study that says Oncor, the giant electric utility company in North Texas, is collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from customers for federal taxes that don’t exist.

“Since 2008, they have collected $500 million for the purpose of paying taxes on their income,” said Randy Moravec, executive director of the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a coalition of member cities – including Arlington, Plano and Frisco – that works toward finding the lowest rates for residents.

Asked how much of that money has actually reached the Internal Revenue Services, Moravec said: “None … not a penny.”

Gee, where I’m from that’s called theft. But in Texas, it’s all perfectly legal:

Although Oncor collects for federal taxes, it actually does not owe the IRS anything because its majority owner, Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, has been operating in the red for years.

“In the state of Texas, it’s perfectly legal for Oncor to do what they’re doing right now,” said state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who is a critic of the utility company’s collection for federal taxes.

[…]

Sen. Davis said there should be a law against charging consumers for taxes that are never levied.

“Unfortunately, rather than moving in that direction, the state is actually trying to move in the opposite direction,” she said, referring to a bill that has already passed the senate and is still pending in the Texas House.

If the bill becomes law, the senator said, “It would remove the Public Utility Commission’s authority to regulate utility companies in this particular arena.”

See, you thought they hated taxes in Texas, right? Nope. Not as long as they’re another angle that can be played in the state’s culture of grift.

Reason #10,981 why I will never, ever live in Texas. Ever. Rick Perry can take his bogus campaign and shove it.

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Filed under taxes, Texas

Rep. Jimmy Duncan Hates Democrats More Than He Loves Tax Cuts

Hey good middle class people of Lebanon Knoxville, Tennessee (sorry my research said this guy was from Lebanon which is outside of Nashville, but I was kind of in a hurry): your Congress Critter Rep. Jimmy Duncan voted to raise your taxes! (Or to be clear: didn’t vote to lower them. The tax increase happens automatically.) Why? Why would Jimmy Duncan do such a thing! He’s a Republican and Republicans hate taxes! Hate ’em! Hate ’em more than a rattlesnake in a sleeping bag. Hate ’em more than a greenback backed by a promise and a puff of air.

So why would Jimmy Duncan do this to the God fearin’ people of Lebanon Knoxville, Tennessee, who just returned him to office for two more years? Apparently there’s one thing Duncan hates more than taxes: Democrats.

Watch it:

Thank you, Jimmy Duncan! Because hating Democrats is always more important than serving your constituents. You have earned your place at this year’s inauguration night “how can we obstruct the Democrats” dinner.

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Filed under Congress, politics, Republican Party, taxes, Tennessee

You Gotta Be Kidding Me

Guess what, kids! There’s an election around the corner so this must mean it’s time for the Tennessee Republican Party to fearmonger about — wait for it — the state income tax! I know, whocouldathunkit, right? It’s true:

The Tennessee Republican Party is using an edited audio tape to raise the specter of Democrats pushing for a state income tax.

In a statement Tuesday, the TNGOP claimed that Flo Matheson, who is running against incumbent Rep. Cameron Sexton in House District 25, had “promoted the implementation of a progressive income tax and a living wage, and keeping in place the death tax.”

[…]

At the candidate forum where the clip was recorded, however, Matheson said she expressed support for a progressive income tax at the national level but not in Tennessee, and that the complete quote makes that clear.

Informed of the TNGOP’s version of her remarks, Matheson said her remarks were about the federal income tax, not a plan to push for one on the state level. She sounded stunned that they had been presented in any other way.

Every single election, Tennessee Republicans trot out the old state income tax canard, which last time I checked was pretty much killed forever when Republican Governor Don Sundquist proposed it and got summarily run out of town just inches ahead of a pitchfork-and-torch-bearing mob. But no, Tennessee Republicans love to trot the issue out every election, with constitutional amendments reaffirming an already existing ban on a state income tax. Such things are a part of pretty much every election — that and bans on abortion and gay marriage. Lather, rinse, repeat. If Tennessee’s Republican Party had a new idea it would die of loneliness.

As the City Paper article states, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled not once, not twice, but three times that the state constitution bans a state income tax. But without fearmongering about a state income tax, I guess Tennesseans have no reason to vote Republican.

Oh, but it gets better:

The release, which does not identify Matheson by name, included an eight-minute audio recording of some of Matheson’s remarks at the Monday morning candidates forum in the East Tennessee district. In the tape, Matheson can be heard expressing support for a living wage, and opposition to the repeal of the estate tax. Her remarks about an income tax, however, begin with less than 10 seconds left in the tape and are quickly cut off.

“Also, I support a progressive income tax, which would mean, you know, more taxes on the wealthy. I do know that fe… ,” she can be heard saying, at which point the tape ends.

“Fe…?” What could that be? I’m thinking … thinking … could it be “feta,” like the Greek cheese? “Fetid,” perhaps? “Feminism,” maybe? Or what about “federal,” like in federal taxes? Ya think?

This is weak, TNGOP. Really weak. And lame. Just the fact that you guys went to such great lengths to try to twist a candidates’ words into what is so obviously not her meaning, and that you’re sticking with it and running with it, speaks volumes about you. You’ve descended into self-parody.

Democrats, I hope you run with this one. I really do.

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Filed under taxes, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Chauncey Gardner For President

Democrats, please learn how to message.

I know. I am repeating myself, but it’s just not sinking in:

What we require now is a new framework for thinking and talking about the economy, grounded in modern understandings of how things actually work. Economies, as social scientists now understand, aren’t simple, linear and predictable, but complex, nonlinear and ecosystemic. An economy isn’t a machine; it’s a garden. It can be fruitful if well tended, but will be overrun by noxious weeds if not.

In this new framework, which we call Gardenbrain, markets are not perfectly efficient but can be effective if well managed. Where Machinebrain posits that it’s every man for himself, Gardenbrain recognizes that we’re all better off when we’re all better off. Where Machinebrain treats radical inequality as purely the predictable result of unequally distributed talent and work ethic, Gardenbrain reveals it as equally the self-reinforcing and compounding result of unequally distributed opportunity.

Ah, terrific. A new way of looking at the economy, using metaphors the average American can understand. Such as:

Consider regulation. Under the prevailing assumption, regulation is an unfortunate interruption of a frictionless process of wealth creation in a self-correcting market. But Gardenbrain allows us to see that an economy cannot self-correct any more than a garden can self-tend. And regulation — the creation of standards to raise the quality of economic life — is the work of seeding useful activity and weeding harmful activity.

Yes, that’s all very well and good. It’s perfectly logical, wonderful in fact. But it will go nowhere because while I agree a new way of discussing these issues is needed, it would help if you didn’t crib from a 1979 Jerzy Kosinski classic. Then again, the Tea Party is nothing but a rip-off of a 1992 Tim Robbins movie.

Is this what the American discourse has become? As much as I agree wholeheartedly with these sentiments, it’s hard not to laugh when I read stuff like this:

Or take taxes. Under the efficient-market hypothesis, taxes are an extraction of resources from the jobs machine, or more literally, taking money out of the economy. It is not just separate from economic activity, but hostile to it. This is why most Americans believe that lower taxes will automatically lead to more prosperity. Yet if there were a shred of truth to this, then given our historically low tax rates we would today be drowning in jobs and general prosperity.

Gardenbrain, in contrast, allows us to recognize taxes as basic nutrients that sustain the garden. A well-designed tax system — in which everyone contributes and benefits — ensures that nutrients are circulated widely to fertilize and foster growth. Reducing taxes on the very wealthiest on the idea that they are “job creators” is folly. Jobs are the consequence of an organic feedback loop between consumers and businesses, and it’s the demand from a thriving middle class that truly creates jobs. The problem with today’s severe concentration of wealth, then, isn’t that it’s unfair, though it might be; it’s that it kills middle-class demand. Lasting growth doesn’t trickle down; it emerges from the middle out

I mean yes, the garden is a lovely metaphor but I just can’t take this shit seriously. Here’s an idea: instead of all the convoluted “the garden needs nutrients” blather, how about just asking a simple question: We’ve had 12 years of the Bush tax cuts. Where are the fucking jobs?

Now, was that so hard?

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Filed under economic stimulus, economy, Media, taxes

Arthur Laffer Still A Clown

I’m not sure how many holes can be punched in Arthur Laffer’s long-discredited “supply side” theories but for what it’s worth, here’s another one:

States Lacking Income Tax Get No Boost In Growth: BGOV Barometer

Governors seeking to expand their economies by eliminating income taxes find little support for the idea in the record of U.S. states that lack such a levy.

The BGOV Barometer shows the nine states with the highest personal income taxes on residents outperformed or kept pace on average with the nine that don’t tax their residents’ incomes, according to a study of economic output, unemployment and household income by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

The findings show cutting state income taxes to stimulate growth relies on “flawed analysis” based on the theories of economist Arthur Laffer, said Carl Davis, a senior analyst at ITEP in Washington and author of the report. Laffer’s work was cited by Republican Governors Sam Brownback of Kansas and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma as a reason to cut income taxes as a way to stimulate job growth and attract business.

“Being low-tax doesn’t generate economic competitiveness or long-term economic viability,” said Ralph Martire, executive director at the nonpartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability in Chicago. “There are other factors that are far more important. The state tax burden overall is marginal compared to federal tax burden.”

Laffer is a clown, though one much beloved by his Republican friends because he tells them exactly what they want to hear, facts be damned. You know, if I found a doctor who told me I could lose 20 pounds by drinking beer and eating potato chips every day, hot damn I’d be all over that diet like white on rice. But I’m not a child. I’m a grown-up.

Apparently, Republicans are children. And hey, Arthur Laffer: if you have to make shit up to scare a legislative committee into believing your bullshit, maybe you should just hang it up.

This cracked me up:

Those who don’t believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny anymore, and actually look at facts and data, recognize that since supply-side economics has been implemented in America, the complete opposite of what supply siders had promised has occurred,” Martire said.

Ouch! But it’s true. Just because you really, really, REALLY want something to be true doesn’t make it true. It just doesn’t. So grow the fuck up.

You know what’s funny? Tennessee Republicans like Gov. Bill Haslam believing in economic fairy tales like “supply side economics,” while tap-dancing around the science which supports evolution and climate change.

News flash to the nimrods in the Republican Party: there’s these things called numbers and facts and data that smart people look at to definitively prove this stuff! I know, crazy! Who knew? So if you wondered whether Tennessee’s lack of an income tax is a benefit to our economy, we can actually look at this stuff and come up with an answer! Totally weird, I know. And here we all thought we were supposed to use the Urim and Thummim, tea leaves, a set of Tarot cards and a medium to channel the Oracle of Delphi to figure this shit out.

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Filed under taxes, Tennessee

Democrats: Stop Behaving Like Republicans, Please

I really hate when Democrats seize on a national outrage and try to legislate around it just to keep those fires of outrage going. Which is what this sounds like to me.

Personally, I didn’t get the big uproar over Eduardo Saverin renouncing his U.S. citizenship to become a citizen of Malaysia or Singapore or whatever the hell it was. Especially after he said he would pay all the U.S. taxes he owes. I mean, I’m as big a tax-loving liberal as you will find, but if some rich dude wants to live in Singapore full time and not America, that’s his business.

According to Wikipedia, Singapore does not recognize dual citizenship. I dunno, it’s Wikipedia, I’m not an immigration attorney, I’ll assume that’s correct until informed otherwise. Also, as I recall Saverin was a naturalized U.S. citizen anyway, born in Brazil or Venezuela or some place like that. It’s not like he grew up with baseball, apple pie and the stars-and-stripes along with his mama’s milk. Whatever, dude.

It’s stupid, this whole American exceptionalism thing. America is a great place but it’s not perfect and there are a lot of great places out there. Norway is awesome. I call it the Promised Land. I’d live there in a heartbeat. Please, Norway, call me. I’ll answer.

Would I renounce my American citizenship to do so? Probably not. My American-ness is as much a part of me as my hair color and my love of dogs and cats and growing up in the ’70s in Southern California and everything else. It’s part of who I am, it’s my cultural identity. But for someone not born here, I can see it not being that big of a deal.

So I really hate it when Democrats climb on board the Republican “America! Fuck Yeah!” bandwagon. That’s a conservative worldview, not a liberal one.

And while I hate it when people throw around comparisons to the Soviet Union and whatnot, and much as it pains me to say this, the Republicans have a really good point on this legislation the Dems are throwing out there. Again, I haven’t read the bill, so I’m just reacting to what people are saying about it, but banning people from ever entering the country again? Seriously? Hell, yeah, that’s what the Soviets did.

I was in the then-Soviet Union in 1982 as part of a college trip. I remember our class got to have a Q&A with Communist Party officials at some official “meet the Americans” gathering. And the first question we asked was, “why won’t you let your citizens leave the country.” Because for you kids who don’t remember, back then we were always hearing about ballet stars and circus performers defecting through great acts of derring-do, you just couldn’t leave Moscow and move to America without causing an international hullabaloo. And what the Soviets told us was, “we have devoted tremendous resources to educating and caring for our citizens and that investment is lost when they emigrate to another country.”

And dang it but that sounds exactly like the argument liberal bloggers were making last week when they went after Saverin. Here he created Facebook using the servers at Harvard and taking advantage of the taxpayer-funded stability and resources of this country and now he’s cashing in and leaving and not paying us what he owes us.

Really? Again, I’m not an expert on this but if you’re emigrating and taking your assets with you, don’t you already pay some kind of “exit tax”? And isn’t money earned in the United States already taxed by the United States, regardless of the earner’s citizenship? Isn’t that how it works? That’s how I read it.

Please don’t make me agree with that fucking sack of lard Rush Limbaugh on this, Democrats. Tell me what I’m missing because on this issue at least, you’ve lost me.

And Republicans: enough with the hissy fits. Aren’t you guys the ones always threatening to “Go Galt” and leave the country over every imagined step towards Socialism/Fascism/Multiculteralism/Pacifism/NotBeingADoucheIsm? Go, then. Buh-bye. You’re still going to have to pay your damn taxes. Now you’ll have to pay it to two countries. Smart move.

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In Republicanland, Some Taxes CAN Be Too Low!

Did you know there’s such a thing in Tennessee as an “unconstitutionally low” tax break? I didn’t either! But according to Tennessee Republicans, there is … if it has anything to do with Tennessee’s growing solar industry, that is.

Today the House and Senate are voting on a “fix” for what the state comptroller’s office is calling an “unconstitutionally low” tax break that was passed to help lure solar manufacturing companies Hemlock Semiconductor and Wacker Chemie AG to the state. Both companies are now opening major manufacturing facilities here, bringing hundreds of jobs to a state still struggling with 8% unemployment. But the tax break that helped bring them here has Democratic cooties on it, so it must go.

Former Republican House Majority Leader and current Executive Assistant to the Comptroller Jason Mumpower explains:

He says the bill is an attempt to fix a tax break that the Attorney General has said is unconstitutionally low, and he says the proposed increase would still give green businesses a tax break.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, “Two years ago the legislature passed something that was unconstitutional?

Mumpower answered, “Yes, looking back that is exactly what happened.”

The law passed in the hectic final days of the legislature in 2010.

It was part of the annual Technical Corrections Bill, which deals with changes to the tax laws.

That year, the bill had 66 provisions.

Mumpower was in the legislature at the time and says he and other lawmakers had no idea the bill cut the tax rate so low.

Wow. Mumpower wasn’t just in the legislature, he was House Majority Leader at the time. And he passed an unconstitutional tax break? What an astonishing admission! Apparently because some Bredesen Administration officials started a solar company a few months after the legislature passed this tax break — and even though that company has not benefited from the tax break — that’s still “unconstitutional” to Mumpower.

If you’re starting to smell the waft of bullshit over his story, well, read on:

But while the comptroller wants to eliminate that low tax rate for green businesses, it’s leaving the same low rate in place for other businesses.

Companies that install pollution control equipment have received the rate for years.

Many of them would not be classified as green or environmentally friendly.

They include gas producers, smelting companies and rock quarry owners.

Three guesses what might have happened if those ex-Bredesen officials had started a rock quarry instead of a solar company. And please, the whole constitutionality argument is unbelievably tortured. It pales in comparison to more obvious conflicts of interest coming out of Gov. Pilot Oil’s office (here’s one example just off the top of my head).

But putting aside the pretense given, let’s just cut to the chase: I’m sorry, but you’re Republicans and WTF? You’re going after a tax break? I thought Republicans hated taxes! Hated ’em! Taxes keep jobs away, isn’t that what you guys always say? And here we have a tax break that already brought two major manufacturing businesses to Tennessee and you want to gut it? Seriously? With unemployment the way it is?

Are you fucking kidding me, Tennessee Republicans?

If ever there were a more obvious example of Tennessee Republicans blinded by their partisanship, I’d love to see it. Even when their ideology smacks up against their partisanship, partisanship wins.

Honestly, you people have no principles at all. None.

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Filed under solar energy, taxes, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Caterpillar: Just Your Modern Job Creators

Sunday’s New York Times has a twist on the “privatize gains, socialize losses” meme we lefties often harp on about: privatize gains, socialize costs.

States like North Carolina, in the hopes of luring jobs from corporate giants like Caterpillar, are paying to train workers in the often-times narrow skills specific to Caterpillar’s needs.

The Times writes:

Yet North Carolina is picking up much of the cost. It is paying about $1 million to help nearly 400 workers acquire these skills, and a community college has committed to develop a custom curriculum that Caterpillar has valued at about $4.3 million.

Caterpillar is one of dozens of companies, many with growing profits and large cash reserves, that have come to expect such largess from states in return for creating jobs. The labor market is finally starting to show some signs of improvement, with the government reporting on Friday that employers created 200,000 jobs in December.

Although the sums spent on training are usually small compared with the tax breaks and other credits doled out by states, some critics question the tactic.

“The question is, why shouldn’t the company pay for this training?” asked Ross Eisenbrey, the vice president of the liberal Economic Policy Institute. “It’s for their benefit.”

Yes, that is a good question. Why doesn’t Caterpillar pay to train its own workers? Time was, employee training was part of the deal. Not any more. Desperate times call for desperate measures, apparently; when unemployment is high, employers can set their own terms. That means generous incentives — the Times story says Caterpillar got a $51 million package from North Carolina — all in the hopes of luring an employer. Kinda makes you wonder who’s really paying for all of this “job creating,” hmmm?

And honestly, I almost wouldn’t mind this so much, were it not for corporations like Caterpillar pissing and moaning about their gawd-awful tax burden all the time — yes, even as they get handed a trained workforce on a silver platter and tax credits and everything else, they’re still pulling shit like this:

Caterpillar Inc. used offshore subsidiaries in Switzerland and Bermuda to avoid about $2 billion in U.S. taxes from 2000 to 2009, boosting its earnings through a “tax and financial statement fraud,” according to a Caterpillar executive’s lawsuit.

The company, the world’s largest construction-equipment maker, sold and shipped spare parts globally from an Illinois warehouse while improperly attributing at least $5.6 billion of profits from those sales to a unit in Geneva, according to the suit filed by Daniel J. Schlicksup. He was a global tax strategy manager for Caterpillar from 2005 to 2008.

And this:

CHICAGO (Dow Jones)–Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) remains highly critical of Illinois’s business climate, despite state lawmakers’ approval of a series of business tax breaks this week that includes tax credits for research and development investments sought by Caterpillar.

A spokesman for the construction machinery manufacturer called the extension of the R&D credits a “small step in the right direction,” after the state allowed the credit program to expire at the end of the 2010. But Caterpillar characterized the package of business tax breaks as largely a knee-jerk reaction to threats by companies to leave the state. Caterpillar said the legislation does little to improve a state fiscal condition that the Peoria, Ill., company considers unappealing for business investment.

“From a financial standpoint, Illinois is a patient in critical condition,” said spokesman Jim Dugan. State government “continues to react in crisis mode, using band-aids rather than developing a long-term plan to get the state on the road to being healthy.”

The business tax breaks are expected to cost the state $214 million a year by 2014, according to state estimates. Illinois is facing budget deficits and massive pension costs for state employees in the coming years that threaten to force legislators to consider additional increases in state income taxes.

And Caterpillar “starving the beast” of $214 million helps how, exactly?

Corporations like Caterpillar are the worst offenders because they’re exploiting a jobs crisis they created by outsourcing jobs overseas, while at the same time dodging their tax obligation through fraud, tax shelters and strong-arm “negotiation” tactics. They’re getting all of the benefits of operating in the United States without paying their fair share, threatening to “go Galt” and all that crap because they know they’ve got us between a rock and a hard place. You know what? Fuck you, then. Go. You don’t like this country? Leave. Go move your HQ to someplace else, if you don’t think we’re a nation worth investing in. Go wave someone else’s flag, then.

I mean, seriously. Look what they’re doing to their workers up in Canada, demanding a 50% pay cut, no cost of living adjustment, changes to the healthcare co-pay. The union said no and Caterpillar locked them out. That’s some serious hardball. So wise up: are we this desperate for jobs that we’ll cut a deal with the devil? Apparently, yes.

Such is the American dilemma in these days of high unemployment. But corporations need to remember that times change. They won’t always be on top. We’ll muddle through this crisis and, God help us, when we emerge on the other side, let’s not forget how Our Corporate Overlords treated this country and its workforce in its time of need. Let’s not forget how they starved the public of the tax money it needs to make this country a place worth living and working in. Let’s not forget that while cheating on their taxes, they acted like Mafia bosses, demanding ever more from We The People or else. We pay for the training and the tax abatemenss, or the workforce gets it.

And pray let us not forget how at the same time, they spent millions on lobbying, hoping to stack the deck ever more in their favor. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the sorry “poor me” song they sang, while they netted $2.7 billion in profits off of $42.6 billion in revenue.

We took these deals because we were hungry. But we won’t be hungry forever. Things change. The world changes. Some day they’ll be on the losing side of some trend, or some awful shift in technology. They are going to demand Uncle Sam bail their sorry asses out for some stupid mistakes that were made, and God help us, let us not forget this moment in time.

Let us hope the Memory Hole is there to remind us.

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Filed under corporations, taxes

Job Creators!

Apparently America’s biggest tax-dodging corporations spend more money on lobbying than they do on taxes:

A report released this month by Public Campaign demonstrates just how important it is for Americans to battle corporate special interests and reclaim our democracy. The group’s research finds that thirty big corporations actually spent more money lobbying the federal government between 2008 and 2010 than they spent in taxes. For example, General Electric — one of the top 10 most profitable companies in the world — got a net tax rebate of $4.7 billion during this period. Meanwhile, it spent $84 million lobbying the federal government.

How much do you want to bet that a lot of this money is spent lobbying against taxes which they don’t pay anyway? Here’s the graphic:

Meanwhile, in that time GE has:

• Closed its Virginia lamp plant and moved it to China ….

• Moved its x-ray division from Wisconsin to China

• Cut 600 jobs from its Lynn, MA aircraft engine plant …and demanded $25 million in tax credits from the State of Massachusetts to keep from cutting any more. (Extortion, much?)

Also in this time period:

• Verizon has cut 16,000 jobs in two years.

• PG&E cut 225 jobs last month. In 2009 they laid off 500 workers.

• Number four on this list, Wells Fargo, laid off hundreds this spring. All part of a plan to

… reduce about $1.5 billion quarterly operating expenses.

Really? You’re not going to cut what you spend on lobbying the federal government? You’re going to cut jobs, instead?

Someone remind me: we’re sucking up to these people because why?

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Filed under corporations, lobbyists, taxes

How U.S. Billionaires Avoid Paying Taxes

[UPDATE]:

And on the corporate side, big business is laying off workers while using its extra cash to … wait for it … buy back their stock. Job creators, my ass. If business won’t hire, government must. Tax these motherfuckers already.

——————————–

Not a shocker, but still:

“The problem is not that people like Warren Buffett pay tax at a 17 percent rate, it’s that they can use complex transactions not available to most Americans to get cash from their appreciated stock without paying any taxes at all,” Miller said.

The rate at which the 400 U.S. taxpayers with the highest adjusted gross income actually paid federal income taxes –their so-called effective tax rate — fell to about 18 percent in 2008 from almost 30 percent in 1995, IRS data show. That’s the tip of the iceberg, since much of their wealth never converts into income on a tax return, McCaffery said.

In the McCombs case, the billionaire entered into transactions known as variable prepaid forward contracts. He received about $259 million for lending an investment bank his Clear Channel shares with a promise to deliver the stock for good a few years later. The arrangement enabled McCombs to defer paying capital gains tax because he hadn’t sold his shares, lawyers for the billionaire said. The IRS deemed the transaction a sale since the bank paid McCombs cash and got the use of his stock almost immediately.

The article goes on to detail several billionaires who utilized this complex tax avoidance scheme to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, tax-free. I’m just, like, so shocked that these assholes haven’t created thousands of jobs with their personal megamillions. Amazing.

One of these people, Arthur M. Winn, recently pled guilty to making illegal campaign donations:

The developer behind the failed Columbus Center project in Boston has agreed to plead guilty to funneling illegal campaign contributions to Massachusetts politicians as part of a seven-year scheme to win favorable political treatment for the massive development, prosecutors say.

[…]

Prosecutors alleged that Winn orchestrated a scheme in which he and one of his corporate affiliates, Winn Columbus Center Limited Partnership, funneled more than $150,000 in illegal donations to federal, state, and city politicians between 2002 and 2009 in the hope of getting their backing for public funds for the $800 million project.

Pigs at the trough, folks. This is how plutocrats work. They avoid paying their taxes and thumb their nose at campaign laws so they can buy politicians and get taxpayer money for their personal projects.

But yeah, let’s tell Occupy protesters to get a job and take a bath. That’s where the problem is.

[/eyeroll]

This is the kind of shit that has people pissed off.

Note that one of the megabazillionaires ripping off America using these schemes to dodge his taxes is Phillip Anschutz, the right-wing financier behind The Discovery Institute and American Petroleum Institute. See, this is how it works: they dodge paying their taxes and instead of creating jobs with their big windfall (isn’t that what the right wingers tell us they are? Job creators?) they fund conservative talking point factories spreading propaganda denying evolution, climate change, and the like.

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