Jim Hightower on Passing the Cost on to You

Corporations shift their tax burdens to you

Wednesday, May 28, 2014   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Did you scramble to get your taxes done this year, dashing to the mailbox at the last minute? Yeah, me too.

I really didn’t mind paying what I owe – but I hate having to pay the taxes owed by the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Mitt Romney, Exxon, and Amazon. They’re just a few of the astonishingly profitable corporations and superrich financial hucksters who walk their tax tabs each year, thus putting the cost of everything from the military to our national parks onto our shoulders.

We constantly hear CEOs and their congressional hirelings wail about the “punishing” tax rate of 35 percent assessed on corporate profits. But they’re grinning as they’re crying, for they know they actually pay nowhere near that. In fact, the latest assessment by the Government Accountability Office found that U.S. corporations pay an average tax rate of only 12.6 percent, forcing workaday taxpayers to cover the multiple billions of dollars that these privileged elites dodge.

How do they do that? Simple. They duck through ridiculous loopholes in our tax laws. How ridiculous? Try the subsidy for corporate criminals. If you get a speeding ticket, do you get to deduct the fine from the income tax you owe? Ha – just try it! But JPMorgan Chase was fined more than $20 billion last year for major frauds and consumer rip offs, and its honchos have now deducted that “punishment” from the corporate tax bill, claiming it as a cost of doing business. Oh, they also get to deduct the many millions of dollars they paid lawyers to defend their blatant wrongdoing.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Well, sniff the elites, we’re merely making rightful use of the deductions allowed by tax laws. But it’s their lawyers who wrote those laws to legalize their thievery! And need I mention that they also get a deduction for the mega-salaries and expenses of those lawyers? So, we pay for their wrongdoings, their fines, and their lawyers.

“Corporate Loopholes To Covet,” The New York Times, April 15, 2014.

* * * *

Bernanke’s cut of bankers bailout lootBookmark and Share

Perhaps you’ve been wondering: How’s Ben doing?

Extremely well – thank you, now that he has stepped down as head of the Fed. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Benanke presided over most of the 2008 financial crash, the Wall Street bailout, the Great Recession, and today’s so-called “recovery-that-isn’t,” since 90 percent of Americans still have not recovered.

So what’s Ben been doing now that he’s no longer saving banksters with US taxpayers’ dollars? Going to bankster gatherings to bask in their glowing gratitude – and collecting his cut of the bailout loot.

In one week in May, Bernanke was in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Johannesburg on Wednesday, and Houston on Friday, speechifying to global bankers and hobnobbing with hedge fund billionaires and economic titans. Each of these private chats put $200,000 or more into Ben’s pockets. He’s doing beaucoup of these cash-on-the-barrelhead BenFests for the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Blackstone Group, and Morgan Stanley. In conferences and in small dinners at four-star restaurants, Bernanke is offering “words of wisdom” to barons of high finance he bailed out, in exchange for a ridiculous fee that most could not have paid without those rescue funds that the Fed chief extracted from you and me.

But here’s an irony that’s gotta be chapping Ben’s butt – some of the banksters he saved are refusing to play the payback game. Not because they’re bothered by the totally corrupt ethics involved, but because they’re balking at his high fees. Goldman Sachs, for example, which got a $10 billion bailout and whose CEO took $23 million in personal pay last year, says Bernanke’s $200,000 tab is too steep.

This is Jim Hightower saying… Is there no honor among thieves? What’s this world coming to when the robber barons won’t toss a couple of hundred thousand bailout crumbs to Ben, their loyal servant?

“Goldman CEO Blankfein To Earn $23 Million in 2013,” http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303973704579353170299234620, January 30, 2013.

“Springtime for Bankers,” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/opinion/krugman-springtime-for-bankers.html, May 19, 2014.

“Crisis Management, Rethought,” The New York Times, May 18, 2014.

* * * *

Wall Street rewards Ben and Tim for stiffing youBookmark and Share

Not only has the Wall Street bailout restored the banksters who wrecked our economy to full prosperity, it’s also paying off very handsomely for the bank overseers who orchestrated the bailout.

For example, as chairman of the Federal Reserve for six years, Ben Bernanke led the bucket brigade that poured trillions of public dollars into Wall Street’s vaults. So, he’s now on a global “Show Me Some Love” tour, pocketing up to $400,000 for each speech he delivers to the financial giants he rescued with our money.

Then there’s Timmy Geithner, whose chief responsibility as head of the New York Fed had been to regulate Wall Street’s reckless banks so their greed wouldn’t cause a nationwide financial crisis. But – oops! – they did exactly that on Timmy’s see-no-evil watch. Still, having proven himself a banker’s man, Geithner was promoted to be President Obama’s Treasury Secretary. There, he insisted that the government’s priority must be rescuing greedy bankers with taxpayer dollars, rather than saving the millions of American homeowners stuck with bloated mortgages, facing wage cuts and joblessness, and who were sinking into deep debt and poverty.

But, being a banker’s man, Geithner was not punished for his inept and morally-deplorable policies. Rather, he was richly rewarded with a top executive position as – what else? – a Wall Street banker. Now, he has published a book about his years of public screw-ups. Oh… sorry, I meant “public service.” Concluding that he was correct and courageous, Geithner’s book should’ve been titled: Heckuva Job, Timmy!

This is Jim Hightower saying… So Wall Street prospers, Ben and Tim wallow in wealth – and the real economy remains mired in the ditch of joblessness, low wages, household debt… and rising anger at the Wall Street/Washington cabal of self-serving elites who shoved them into that ditch.

“Springtime for Bankers,” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/19/opinion/krugman-springtime-for-bankers.html, May 19, 2014.

“Crisis Management, Rethought,” The New York Times, May 18, 2014.

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