Category Archives: NEWS

25 Giant Corporations That Paid Their CEOs More Than They Paid Uncle Sam


25 Giant Corporations That Paid Their CEOs More Than They Paid Uncle Sam.

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Dylan Ratigan (rightfully) Loses It On Air


Liberal media? HUH?

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Job Destroyers Don’t Deserve a Tax Holiday


When thinks tanks from the left and the right agree on something, Congress should pay attention.

Sarah AndersonBy Sarah Anderson and Chuck Collins

A coalition of big businesses is waging a campaign for a massive tax holiday on corporate profits stashed overseas. Its lobbyists claim that this windfall would create millions of jobs. If our lawmakers buy that, they’ve got very short memories.

Just seven years ago, big American corporations made the exact same promises. And Congress gave them a tax holiday that allowed 843 companies to reduce their tax rate from 35 percent to 5.25 percent on $312 billion in offshore profits.

Dr. National and Mr. Transnational, OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

What did Americans get in return? This week, our organization, the progressive Institute for Policy Studies, released a report showing that 58 companies that received 70 percent of the tax windfalls didn’t boost employment. In fact, they actually destroyed a total of nearly 600,000 jobs.

Almost simultaneously, the conservative Heritage Foundation released a paper with the same conclusion: Tax holidays don’t create jobs. When thinks tanks from the left and the right agree on something, Congress should pay attention.

But we’re up against powerful forces.

A coalition called Working to Invest Now in America, which goes by the slick name WIN America, has deployed more than 160 lobbyists and spent at least $50 million to win a tax holiday on more than $1 trillion in offshore funds that might get repatriated if Uncle Sam grants this tax break. Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have introduced bills that would do just that.

The Senate version, unveiled in early October, would give the deepest tax discounts to firms that create jobs, but that requirement only applies for one year. We need jobs that last, not positions that could vanish after the nation’s supposed job creators get their huge tax windfall.

Some executives argue that without the tax holiday, these global firms would keep their cash offshore permanently, and it’s better for Uncle Sam to get something rather than nothing. Nevertheless, offering such drastic tax discounts sets a dangerous precedent.

Back in 2004, the corporate lobbyists argued that the holiday would be a “one-time” deal. But after they won that round, they turned around and began amassing their offshore stashes once again. They must have counted on getting more tax holidays.

A tax holiday for job destroyers isn’t only a waste of taxpayer money at a time of urgent needs. It hurts small businesses and other firms that operate only domestically. What sense does it make to give global companies deep discounts on their IRS obligations while these small, yet strong, engines of job creation face standard tax rates?

There are many things that we can do to strengthen the U.S. economy and spur job growth. But providing subsidies to companies whose business model is based on minimizing labor costs, sending profits offshore, and dodging taxes isn’t a good strategy. These companies may compensate their CEOs lavishly and deliver value to shareholders, but they aren’t in the business of creating jobs.

The WIN America campaign leader that stands to gain the most is Pfizer. The pharmaceutical giant was the leading beneficiary of the 2004 tax holiday when it toted $40 billion in foreign funds back to the United States.

And what did Americans get for Pfizer’s subsidy? Instead of creating jobs, the firm proceeded to scrap more than 58,000 jobs in the years since that holiday.

Today, Pfizer is holding more than $48 billion in profits offshore. Will Congress be fooled again?

Sarah Anderson and Chuck Collins are among the co-authors of the new Institute for Policy Studies report, “America Loses: Corporations that Take ‘Tax Holidays’ Slash Jobs.”

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Shouldn’t Americans repair America’s infrastructure?


by Jim Hightower

Listening at last to his inner-FDR, President Obama is going straight at the Know-nothing/Do-nothing Republican Congress.

At a recent rally on a bridge connecting Rep. John Boehner’s state of Ohio to Senator Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, Obama challenged the two GOP leaders to back his plan for repairing and improving our country’s deteriorating infrastructure. “Help us rebuild this bridge,” he shouted out to Boehner and McConnell. “Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work.”

Yes, let’s do it!

However, in addition to the usual recalcitrance of reactionary Republican leaders, another impediment stands in the way of success: many of the infrastructure jobs that would be created could end up in China.

Holy Uncle Sam! How is this possible?

It’s due to a trap door that was built into the 1933 Buy American Act. This law gives preference to U.S. companies bidding on major infrastructure projects – except it allows the general contractor to opt out of this requirement if the difference in U.S. and foreign bids is significant. This is no theoretical concern, for it’s already happening. For example, the $7-billion reconstruction of the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland is in the hands of a state-subsidized Chinese company that made the lowest bid.

While there are Americans involved in this huge project, the design, engineering, pre-fab, supervision, and other work – as well as profits – are going to China. Consequently, California’s hard-hit people and depressed economy are deprived of the wages, taxes, and consumer spending they would’ve gotten from some 3,000 jobs that went overseas.

Yes, let’s approve Obama’s infrastructure proposal, but let’s improve it by nailing the opt-out trap door shut. For information, go towww.americanmanufacturing.org.

“Bringing America Back: Are Infrastructure Jobs Being Shipped to China?”www.abcnews.com, September 23, 2011.

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Elegy For Lisa’s Mother


May God bless Lisa in this time of sorrow.

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So You Think You Can be President?


Likening Social Security to a Ponzi scheme was the least crazy thing Perry said during the recent debate among Republican presidential candidates.

Donald Kaul By Donald Kaul

 In a country with a functional political system, Rick Perry‘s presidential candidacy would be laughed out of the room.  I mean, really. This is the 21st century, right? It’s the information age.

 Is it reasonable to take seriously a candidate who doesn’t believe in evolution, is contemptuous of  even the possibility of climate change, and calls the chairman of the Federal Reserve a traitor for attempting to help the economy?

It…is…not.

Gov. Perry’s dismissal of global warming is especially ironic. His state, Texas, is in the midst of the hottest weather and longest drought in its history. Fittingly, when Perry led a mass prayer meeting to ask God for relief, God answered by giving him the biggest wildfire in the state’s history.

You might imagine that the “lamestream media” — the aggressive left-leaning press that exists largely in the fevered imaginations of the hard right — would characterize him as a fool and buffoon.

It…does…not.

It considers him a legitimate candidate, a worthy opponent for President Barack Obama. Actually, he’s dumber than Michele Bachmann.

Perry doesn’t get an entirely free pass, of course. Following a recent debate among leading GOP presidential hopefuls, the media got on him (naturally) for his least crazy statement — his calling Social Security “a Ponzi scheme.” You would have thought he’d insulted Nancy Reagan.

(DonkeyHotey / Flickr)In reality, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, of a kind. It was sold as an insurance program, but it never was. It depends on people putting money into the system faster than other people take it out. That’s classic Ponzi.

But Social Security isn’t the theft kind of Ponzi. It’s one that simply recognizes that younger generations have a societal responsibility to help support older generations. That responsibility is becoming heavy, however.

When Social Security began in the 1930s, there were far more workers than retirees, and the retirees didn’t, as a rule, live all that long. Providing them with a minimal lifetime income was a cinch. That’s no longer the case. We can now see a time when each worker will be supporting a single retiree, who in turn expects to keep driving around in his or her RV. Not going to happen.

My solution would be to raise or even eliminate the cap on payroll tax contributions. That way, a guy who makes $30 million-a-year would pay the same percentage of his income into Social Security as the guy who cleans his office. (I guess I’m just a flat-taxer at heart.) In any case, something has to be done, and we’re not doing it.

Overall, that Republican debate was kind of depressing, inspiring an “Is this all there is?” feeling.

Mitt Romney continued his imitation of the job-seeking teacher who, when asked if he believed the earth was round, said: “I can teach it round and I can teach it flat.”

Bachmann didn’t do much. The rest of them were…the rest of them.

Folks, we’re trying to pick someone who might become the next U.S. president. There’s no sign so far that Republicans actually care which candidate would make the best president. They just want the thrill of a contest. I thought that’s what “So You Think You Can Dance?” was for.

The day after that Republican debate, Obama addressed a joint session of Congress on the economy where he laid out a program that would create jobs, cut taxes, and might do some good.

The Republicans of course were dismissive, even though he promised to travel the country hitting them over the head with their reluctance to provide jobs for workers instead of tax cuts for people who don’t need them.

All of which is fine. But his solution, while welcome, is still too timid. It’s better than nothing but where was this speech and this program last year?

We’ve officially got 14 million Americans unemployed, and the total number of people who are out of work, have given up looking for work, or are scraping by with part-time jobs when they want to work full-time is an estimated 25 million. Yet these guys keep playing games.

None of this would be happening if the news media were still alive.

OtherWords columnist Donald Kaul lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. – www.otherwords.org

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9/11 is No Excuse for Bashing Muslims


Violent jihadists don’t represent Islam any more than the Anders Breiviks of the world represent Christianity.

J. Richard CohenBy J. Richard Cohen

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we’ll be transfixed once more by images of the planes ramming into the World Trade Center and people, caught in the flames, leaping to their deaths. We’ll see pictures of the burning Pentagon and hear stories of the heroic firefighters and police officers who sacrificed their lives to save others.

And we’ll be reminded that, despite Osama bin Laden’s death, violent jihadists are still a threat.

We’d be naive to think otherwise. What’s more, the threat has morphed in recent years. While we’ve made progress in eroding al-Qaeda’s capacity to launch attacks from overseas, we’ve seen an increase in plots hatched by “homegrown” terrorists — U.S. citizens or permanent residents inspired by extremist, al-Qaeda-like ideology. Indeed, half of the “homegrown” plots since 9/11 have occurred in the last two years, many of them instigated by the FBI.

There’s yet another danger, not only to our physical security but to our character as a people. It’s a danger that President George W. Bush warned the country about in the days following 9/11: the danger of branding all Muslims as our enemies.

(David Shankbone / Flickr)

Unfortunately, in recent years we’ve seen a revival of the Muslim-bashing that fueled a 1,600-percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims in 2001.

During the last presidential election, Barack Obama, a Christian, was portrayed as a Muslim and even a terrorist sympathizer.

Then, last year, anti-Muslim activists coalesced in opposition to the so-called “ground zero mosque,” a proposal to build an Islamic center two blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center. Exploiting the memory of 9/11, a small cadre of extremists who opposed the project created a national controversy brimming with bigotry and intolerance. They wanted nothing less than to deny American Muslims their rights under our Constitution.

The question some are asking is whether the anniversary of 9/11 will spark another jihadist attack. A more likely possibility? A new round of Muslim-bashing across America from those who want to divide, rather than unite, us — from those who forget there were many Muslims who died on that day and who would equate all Muslims with terrorists.

Their words — their depictions of Islam as a virulent political movement rather than a religion — have consequences.

We saw it in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when a Sikh man was fatally shot outside a gas station in Mesa, Arizona. His killer mistook him for a Muslim.

We saw it in 2008, when three men burned down a mosque outside Nashville.

And we saw it on July 22, when Anders Behring Breivik slaughtered 77 people, mostly teenagers, in Norway.

Breivik cast himself as a Christian knight dedicated to stemming the tide of Muslim immigration. He wanted to jolt his country into recognizing what he viewed as the threat of multiculturalism in Europe. In a 1,500-page manifesto, Breivik cited the words of Frank Gaffney, Pamela Geller, and other U.S.-based Islamophobes dozens of times, making clear their influence on him.

So as we mark this solemn anniversary, we must remain vigilant against the threat of terrorism by Islamists who preach an anti-Semitic ideology that is antithetical to our democratic values.

At the same time, we must remember that violent jihadists don’t represent Islam any more than the Anders Breiviks of the world represent Christianity. Our democratic values require nothing less.

J. Richard Cohen is president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and antigovernment extremists. www.splcenter.org

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The War on Labor


Wages are falling, good jobs are vanishing, and fewer Americans have health insurance, pensions, or full-time jobs.

William A. CollinsBy William A. Collins

 Bashing unions
 Makes me quake;
 We’ve all got
 A lot at stake.

Here in investor-laden Connecticut, labor scored a rare coup this year. We became the first state to require most service-sector employers to provide paid sick leave.

Sure, all governments and most big companies already offer this basic benefit, as it’s simply the civilized thing to do. Unfortunately in America, civilization is fading fast.

This decay is no accident. It’s a campaign with a long history. While most of the world, including Native Americans, developed over the millennia into community-based cultures, the United States was different. We were a remote outlet for individualism, enterprise, and greed. Escape from stultifying Old World community standards lay on our shores.

Thus as Europe, and even parts of Asia, painfully developed societal responses to industrialization and technology, America lagged. We’re entrepreneurs, by God! Anything goes! Survival of the fittest!

Of course we eventually discovered the limits of rampant individualism. The Great Depression and World War II forced us at last into more communal action. Government regulation expanded and unions blossomed, and with this assistance millions clawed their way up to the middle class. The 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were America’s economic heyday.

But since then, our true rugged-individual identity has gradually reemerged from beneath those thin layers of communal solidarity. We again don’t want others telling us what to do, be they governments, unions, or other nations.

And so as a community we’ve largely failed to respond as banks have regained their dominance, as big business has gained control of our press, as wealthy individuals have captured government policy, as jobs have been shifted overseas, as war has become an instrument of national policy, or lately, as the Supreme Court has given corporations unfettered permission to influence elections.

Even now, there’s precious little outrage as several Republican-dominated state governments try to restrict collective bargaining, as famously anti-union Walmart becomes a national icon, as Boeing moves production from union-friendly Seattle to “right-to-work” South Carolina, or as Gov. Jerry Brown, of all people, vetoes a farmworker bill in California.

Yes, the current flap over public unions has to a significant degree been labor’s own doing. It has often used its commanding bargaining position to extract health care and retirement provisions that average citizens can only look upon jealously. Not smart. Such overreaching not only gives anti-labor politicians cover to destroy public unions altogether, and it also emboldens opportunistic business leaders to parlay that hostile climate into assaults on private-sector unions.

The overall result of this war on labor is lower wages for all, the disappearance of good jobs, an unyieldingly high unemployment rate, skyrocketing corporate profits, and more Americans without health insurance, a pension, or a full-time job.

And even if you have a decent job today, it doesn’t mean you’re not painfully affected already, or that you won’t be let go tomorrow.

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Irene As Viewed From Space


What a big fat mean lady this Irene is.

Good thing I live in tornado alley!

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