Amazon course work is acceptable to an overwhelming number of corporate HR departments. Have to think most universities would be capable of understanding the process.
Amazon course work is acceptable to an overwhelming number of corporate HR departments. Have to think most universities would be capable of understanding the process.
❝ World leaders, celebrities, and even soccer players, a leak from the law firm Mossack Fonseca recently revealed, are fond of using shell companies to avoid paying taxes. While as of yet, few high-profile American names have been linked to the Panama Papers, this sort of tax avoidance is a common practice among a number of well-known U.S. companies, according to a report released Thursday by Oxfam America. The country’s 50 largest corporations have stored more than a trillion dollars in offshore shell companies in recent years to lower their tax rate…
Large corporations such as Pfizer, Walmart, IBM, and Apple have stashed billions of dollars via more than 1,500 subsidiaries in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, according to the report, which analyzed the companies’ Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Though this practice isn’t illegal, keeping profits offshore lowers the taxes owed in the United States, and this ends up costing the U.S. government about $111 billion each year in lost revenue, by Oxfam’s calculations.
❝ The 50 largest American companies made about $4 trillion in profit from 2008 to 2014, according to SEC filings, and kept about a quarter of that amount outside the country. Oxfam analysts calculated that these corporations paid an average effective tax rate of 26.5 percent. That’s below the statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent and lower than what the average American worker pays, which is 31.5 percent…
❝ …Smaller businesses that don’t have the resources necessary to construct complex tax-avoidance schemes end up paying closer to the full tax rate. This means that they end up paying a larger share of the bill for services such as roads, health care, and education, says Deborah Field, a former corporate tax accountant…
❝ Over the past several decades, corporations have been paying a smaller and smaller share of taxes, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. In 1952, corporate income taxes funded about 32 percent of the federal government. That shrank to 10.6 percent by 2015. While tax havens aren’t the sole cause of this shift, it’s worth noting that the share of corporate profits reported in tax havens has increased tenfold since the 1980s.
The companies that in their SEC filings reported holding the most money offshore include Apple, with $181 billion stored in abroad, as well as Pfizer and PepsiCo, which reported owning the largest number of subsidiaries in tax havens — more than 100 each.
RTFA for the details.
It’s not like this is a sudden discovery. Mainstream media used to serve us better, often leading the fight against a corrupt government. And don’t kid yourself. Tax avoidance requires corrupt officials and, most important, corrupt elected officials to shape, tailor, cut and snip the tax code to suit the criminal syndicates made of tax lawyers and corporate beancounters.
When thousands filled the streets of Moldova’s capital last week, their complaint was pretty significant.
Late last year, about $1 billion disappeared in an apparent banking scandal that’s mystified Europe’s poorest country…To put that sum into perspective, it’s an eighth of the country’s GDP. In United States terms, that portion of the economy would add up to more than $2 trillion.
The money reportedly vanished in a series of murky loans dealt out last November by three major banks — one of them state-owned — to as yet unknown recipients.
Officials wised up to the scheme only earlier this year.
Investigators [including the US auditing firm Kroll – who’re pretty sharp] are looking into the matter but have released few details. The speaker of Moldova’s parliament finally released a report by Kroll late Monday night that implicated a Moldovan businessman in the scheme, but recommended further investigation.
Many Moldovans are mad about all this…They say it’s symptomatic of the widespread corruption that’s plagued their country since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
That’s also why Sunday’s protest was about more than just missing money. It drew at least 10,000 demonstrators, police said. If that sounds unimpressive, consider that there are just 3.5 million people in Moldova…
Kroll released their report this week and it ties a local businessman, Ilan Shor, to phony loans issued by banks he’d manipulated into controlling interests + money-laundering schemes + several banks and companies outside Moldova involved in illicit transactions. It would be a comic opera if it wasn’t the sort of corruption that can bankrupt a country the size of Moldova.
Catch this one: Eduard Harunjen, head of the anticorruption division of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, noted that the report did not have legal standing – so, he wasn’t arresting anyone.
Let’s hear it for Illinois!
Incoming Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner campaigned as a reformer of the state’s often corrupt politics – but, watchdog groups say activities surrounding his inauguration Monday are among the priciest of any incoming governor and take advantage of a loophole in campaign finance that allows wealthy special interests to gain access to those who hold political power…
Rauner, a Republican, is allowing corporate donors to kick in as much as $100,000 for inauguration events, and letting individuals spend up to $25,000.
It’s only about $10 million among friends. Who cares what that money could have meant to schoolkids or the unemployed? Certainly, not the governor or his buddies.
He is hardly alone. Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, will accept up to $50,000 per donor. Corporate sponsorship packages for inaugural events by Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, both Republicans, cost $30,000 and $25,000 respectively…
The price tag for gubernatorial inaugurations is dwarfed by presidential celebrations. President Barack Obama did not allow corporate donors for his first inauguration, though just 211 individuals covered 80 percent of the $35.3 million price tag. For his second inauguration, Obama accepted unlimited corporate donations.
Inauguration events are essentially private parties that are considered non-partisan and are funded by special committees. Under federal and state campaign laws, the inauguration committees are not required to disclose spending or donor names because the inauguration exists outside the election process. All money raised for the events is meant to cover expenses, with surpluses typically given to charity.
In recent years, the events have transformed from honorary banquets to ticketed, star-studded concerts and lavish balls. Donors gain access to events and also can get their names splashed in programs and across other marketing materials.
The process has created the perception that these are veiled opportunities for lobbyists and other corporate interests to curry favor with lawmakers…
What “created the perception” means, of course, is these are public displays of who actually holds the power of the state in their hands.
According to the Illinois Observer, Rauner and his wife are also hosting a private “business roundtable and reception” in Chicago this month that costs $25,000 per couple for both events.
Rauner Spokesman Mike Schrimpf says donors will be disclosed but would not say when. He also would not say where any surplus money would go.
I have occasionally posted, edited and participated in blogs and websites where Class Warfare is acknowledged. I admit, some of the sites that use my work not only deny such an analysis; but, the owners vigorously oppose the concept – and the reality.
Welcome to the United States of America at the beginning of the 21st Century.
Sooner or later, I am confident that more and more reality will intrude into the befuddled lives of ordinary Americans. Economic and social practices affecting all of us can’t be denied by beer commercials and glorious patriotic music forever. We are, after all, a species capable of learning from our mistakes.
I just hope it doesn’t take as long as the discovery that the Earth is round.
Tim Berners-Lee — Reuters/Vincent West
Tim Berners-Lee, the British scientist who effectively invented the web with a proposal 25 years ago, has used the anniversary to establish a campaign called Web We Want. He wants people to sign up to this campaign and help draft a global “Internet Users’ Bill of Rights” to cover the next 25 years.
Berners-Lee kicked off the Web We Want drive with a series of interviews, in which he argued that the web is under threat from both corporations and governments, leaving its openness and neutrality in doubt.
“Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying about what’s happening at the back door, we can’t have open government, good democracy, good healthcare, connected communities and diversity of culture,” he told the Guardian. “It’s not naive to think we can have that, but it is naive to think we can just sit back and get it.”
On the government side, Berners-Lee is worried about surveillance in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ revelations, as well as the fragmentation this may cause. On the corporate side, he is concerned about the abuse of net neutrality and copyright law (which he described as “terrible”), as well as the prevalence of proprietary ecosystems such as Facebook.
The principles behind Web We Want, which is coordinated by the World Wide Web Foundation, are as follows:
Affordable access to a universally available communications platform
The protection of personal user information and the right to communicate in private
Freedom of expression online and offline
Diverse, decentralized and open infrastructure
Neutral networks that don’t discriminate against content or users
I’ve been online since 1983. Even in early Internet days folks understood the risk of abuse by Government probably more so than by corporate scumbags. I recall one BBS I belonged to that had to become a fundraising center because one of the members was arrested and thrown into jail in the great state of Louisiana because of his gender identity.
Like most experienced geeks, I haven’t had a problem with most corporate access to my data because generally that access was granted by my own decision. Though, again, there always are those who see a chance to make a disreputable buck by selling illegally-acquired info.
But, courtesy of George W Bush and Barack Obama, we’re back to government snooping big time. The best of tech companies are working their coneheads off trying to build more secure systems, better encryption, means and methods we haven’t even heard of – yet – to protect us from Big Brother. Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal for a Web Bill of Rights makes a lot of sense, too. And I heartily endorse it.
Though nothing has come of the World Trade Organization’s Doha Development Round of global trade negotiations since they were launched almost a dozen years ago, another round of talks is in the works. But this time the negotiations will not be held on a global, multilateral basis; rather, two huge regional agreements – one transpacific, and the other transatlantic – are to be negotiated…
The Doha Round was torpedoed by the United States’ refusal to eliminate agricultural subsidies – a sine qua non for any true development round, given that 70% of those in the developing world depend on agriculture directly or indirectly. The US position was truly breathtaking, given that the WTO had already judged that America’s cotton subsidies – paid to fewer than 25,000 rich farmers – were illegal. America’s response was to bribe Brazil, which had brought the complaint, not to pursue the matter further, leaving in the lurch millions of poor cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and India, who suffer from depressed prices because of America’s largesse to its wealthy farmers…
Given this recent history, it now seems clear that the negotiations to create a free-trade area between the US and Europe, and another between the US and much of the Pacific (except for China), are not about establishing a true free-trade system. Instead, the goal is a managed trade regime – managed, that is, to serve the special interests that have long dominated trade policy in the West…
…There must be a commitment to transparency. But those engaging in these trade negotiations should be forewarned: the US is committed to a lack of transparency. The USTR’s office has been reluctant to reveal its negotiating position even to members of the US Congress…
If negotiators created a genuine free-trade regime that put the public interest first, with the views of ordinary citizens given at least as much weight as those of corporate lobbyists, I might be optimistic that what would emerge would strengthen the economy and improve social well-being. The reality, however, is that we have a managed trade regime that puts corporate interests first, and a process of negotiations that is undemocratic and non-transparent.
The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans’ interests is low; the outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker.
I doubt there is much inclination to invite of any of our recent Nobel Prize winners in economics to participate in governance of the United States. They have an unsettling habit of telling the truth about who owns our politicians, Liberal and Conservative. Joe Stiglitz in particular.
As much as politicians inside the Beltway blather about transparency they wholly ignore the concept in practice. When gadflies like Stiglitz puncture the information bubble provided by tame media a certain amount of dissent leaks to those Americans willing to engage in independent thought.
I’m not certain how large that number is or what effect they have on politicians or ordinary voters alike. I don’t hear a whole boatload of discussion in either the analog or digital world. That doesn’t mean we stop trying.
Thanks, Barry Ritholtz
Click to enlarge – it still won’t be worth more!
1) money is not speech; and Why do we need a constitutional amendment declaring that: 2) corporations are not people.
Well, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling under Citizens United has gotten a lot of coverage this election season, and for good reason. Unlimited donations by billionaires and corporations to SuperPacs have drowned out the voice of ordinary Americans…
Alternatively, a constitutional amendment has been drafted that would require all federal elections to be funded exclusively through public money. When some people first hear of the idea of public funding of elections their immediate reaction is “What? No way I’m going to give those politicians even more money.” But the reality is that the amount of money needed would be less than $2 Billion. That’s about .02% of the federal budget. It could be paid for by closing offshore tax loopholes for corporations.
But the big thing is “You buy ‘em, you own ‘em.” Right now elections are paid for by corporations and the super rich. And politicians do what the people who paid them want. When “we the people buy ‘em, we own em” and the politicians do what we want…
It’s important to note that no other major democracy in the world allows for the unfettered spending on elections by private individuals or corporations. Most countries allow for relatively small contributions from individuals and beyond that public dollars are used to pay for elections. Sure, wealthy individuals and large corporations still wield undue influence in those societies. But the only chance any of us have of government acting as a counterweight against that undue influence is to ensure that politicians need our support more than they need the support of a tiny percentage of wealthy individuals.
Every little bit helps. You will not be breaking the law by using your own personal stampstampede stamp to decorate our currency. You will be passing along a message to everyone who gets that dollar bill after you. Yes, other denominations are cool.
This stamp and several others are sold at cost to keep the campaign rolling. Click the link in the article and see which design suits your personal sense of humor. I like this one – it fits my cynicism.
A toxic cloud that formed after 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked at a southeast Texas storage facility sent nine people to hospitals and forced thousands of residents indoors…
Four firefighters were among those who were hospitalized for exposure after a tank ruptured at a storage facility near the Port of Texas City, Bruce Clawson of the local emergency management office said.
More than 45,000 residents of Texas City were ordered by emergency management officials to remain indoors, turn off air conditioning units and make sure all windows and doors were closed until the vapor cloud dissipated…
It is not the first time the residents of Texas City have dealt with a threat from a chemical leak.
In March, an acid leak was reported at BP’s refinery in the port city. And last year, several dozen homes were evacuated when 250,000 gallons of gasoline spilled following a pipeline rupture.
How many more years will Texans continue to accept the usual official excuse – “thats just the smell of money, folks!”