IT'S CONDITIONING FOLKS!
I want to end with the big picture on taxation becoming a corporate profit-maximization tool that will not stop. An example of a corporate state can be remembered in America with The Royals of England and their East India Corporation. American colonists depended on this corporation for all its supplies and much food and drink----IT HAD A MONOPOLY----and as a way to boost the royal coffers the American colonists were soaked in taxes to receive these supplies. Today, global corporations are taking over every avenue of our product-making including food and energy----and we are already seeing taxes and fees climb as this royal coffer scenario returns. We are again being soaked of taxes to maximize corporate profits by a group of global corporate tribunal people who are thinking they are royals.
THIS WILL ONLY GET MUCH WORSE FOLKS -----TAXES WILL NOT COME DOWN UNDER CLINTON WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH NEO-CONS.
Boston Tea Party Facts The Boston Tea Party-Destruction of the tea in Boston Harbor. 1773.
New York Public Library. Who organized the Boston Tea Party? What caused the Boston Tea Party? Many factors including “taxation without representation,” the 1767 Townshend Revenue Act, and the 1773 Tea Act.
In simplest terms, the Boston Tea Party happened as a result of “taxation without representation”, yet the cause is more complex than that. The American colonists believed Britain was unfairly taxing them to pay for expenses incurred during the French and Indian War. Additionally, colonists believed Parliament did not have the right to tax them because the American colonies were not represented in Parliament.
Since the beginning of the 18th century, tea had been regularly imported to the American colonies. By the time of the Boston Tea Party, it has been estimated American colonists drank approximately 1.2 million pounds of tea each year. Britain realized it could make even more money off of the lucrative tea trade by imposing taxes onto the American colonies. In effect, the cost of British tea became high, and, in response, American colonists began a very lucrative industry of smuggling tea from the Dutch and other European markets. These smuggling operations violated the Navigation Acts which had been in place since the middle of the 17th century. The smuggling of tea was undercutting the lucrative British tea trade. In response to the smuggling, in 1767 Parliament passed the Indemnity Act, which repealed the tax on tea and made British tea the same price as the Dutch. The Indemnity Act greatly cut down on American tea smuggling, but later in 1767 a new tax on tea was put in place by the Townshend Revenue Act. The act also taxed glass, lead, oil, paint, and paper. Due to boycotts and protests, the Townshend Revenue Act taxes on all commodities except tea were repealed in 1770. In 1773, the Tea Act was passed and granted the British East India Company a monopoly on tea sales in the American colonies. The smuggling of tea grew rampant and was a lucrative business venture for American colonists, such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams. The Townshend Revenue Act tea tax remained in place despite proposals to have it waived. American colonists were outraged over the tea tax. They believed the Tea Act was a tactic to gain colonial support for the tax already enforced. The direct sale of tea by agents of the British East India Company to the American colonies undercut the business of colonial merchants. The smuggled tea became more expensive than the British East India Company tea. Smugglers like John Hancock and Samuel Adams were trying to protect their economic interests by opposing the Tea Act, and Samuel Adams sold the opposition of British tea to the Patriots on the pretext of the abolishment of human rights by being taxed without representation.
Trans Pacific Trade Pact seeks to create this royal governance and it dismantles nations' Constitutions and rights as citizens to write public policy and enforce law which is an end to representation......Americans will have no governing structure that reports to them. Ever-climbing taxes on the middle/working class and seizure of any asset the poor might have will be this same TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. IT'S THE SAME THING AND THE FOUNDING FATHERS WROTE THE US CONSTITUTION TO KEEP THIS FROM HAPPENING. Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons are simply ignoring the Constitution and writing it away.
Below you see the Republican Maine with citizens saying the same as they do in Maryland. Maine has a tax code already favoring the rich and the tax cuts described as helping working and middle-class families mostly go to the rich---as do all of the tax break policy toted for main street. Remember, corporate pols never give tax cuts to main street unless they are covering for huge tax breaks for the rich. The tax breaks for main street disappear with other taxes and fees----
Stop Tax Increases on Maine Working Families and the Middle Class
March 11, 2013 by Joel Johnson During the 125th Maine Legislature, Governor LePage insisted on more than $430 million in tax cuts that mostly benefit wealthy Mainers. He got his way. Wealthy Mainers got enormous tax cuts. Now the bill is due.
The Governor plans to balance the budget entirely on the backs of local communities, K-12 schools, and low- and middle-income Maine residents. He is asking for virtually nothing from wealthy Mainers.
This week is our chance to tell Governor LePage and Maine legislators that it is unacceptable to balance the budget by raising taxes on the poor and the middle class and slashing funding for our local schools and communities. Wealthy Mainers must pay their fair share.
On Wednesday March 13, the Legislature’s tax and budget-writing committees will accept public comments on the tax provisions in the Governor’s proposed state budget for the two-year period beginning July 1st, 2013. Approximately $430-440 million of the $881 million budget gap is due to income, pension, and estate tax cuts enacted over the past two years. Remember, the vast majority of the benefits of those tax cuts went to high-income families.
- 2011 Income Tax Cuts: According to Maine Revenue Services data, over 40% of the benefits of the income tax cuts went to the richest 10% of Maine households- those with expanded incomes over $121,000. Over 60% of the benefits of the income tax cuts went to the richest 20% of Mainers.
- 2011 Estate Tax Cuts: These tax cuts only apply to Mainers with estates worth more than $1 million, and the vast majority of the benefits accrue to the heirs of multi-million dollar estates.
- 2012 Pension Tax Cuts: These tax cuts disproportionately benefit wealthy retirees with little or no benefit to low- and middle-income retirees. 58% of the benefits went to the richest 20% of households and 75% of the benefits went to the richest 30%. Seniors living only on Social Security retirement income got nothing.
Now the bill for all those tax cuts is due. Here’s how Governor LePage plans to fill in a $430+ million dollar budget hole without making wealthy Mainers pay their fair share in taxes:
- Cut funding for K-12 schools and shirk the state’s voter-mandated responsibility to pay 55% of the bare-minimum cost of educating Maine kids. Right off the bat, the Governor was able to knock the $881 million budget gap down to about $630 million by choosing to “flat-fund” K-12 schools. In inflation-adjusted terms, that means school funding will be cut. But in addition to “flat-funding” schools, the Governor will “save” another $28 million over the biennium by forcing property tax payers to pay for half the cost of a teacher retirement program that municipalities and property tax payers had no hand or say in creating.
- Force higher property taxes with cuts to basic public services by slashing routine aid to all of Maine’s 490+ towns and cities. The Governor’s plan eliminates all state revenue sharing with towns and cities. This saves the state $283 million over the biennium and forces property tax payers to cover the loss, through some combination of property tax increases and lost municipal services. Since property taxes hit low- and middle-income homeowners and renters especially hard, this is a favor for Maine’s highest income households and a burden for everyone else. Even if towns take a balanced approach to covering this lost revenue from the state, local property tax payers will see their property tax bill increase by at least $80 per year, on average. Many middle class families will see much larger increases.
- Raise taxes on low-and middle-income Maine residents by eliminating over $80 million in property tax relief. Even in the unlikely event that towns manage to cover large losses in state aid without raising property taxes, middle class Mainers face a tax hike of at least $80 million over the next two years under the Governor’s plans to eliminate property tax relief through the Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund Program (aka “Circuit Breaker”) and the Homestead Exemption. Out-of-state folks who own second homes in Maine will spared, but low-income and middle class homeowners and renters will not. The average property tax hike for homeowners who claim the homestead exemption will be about$120 per year. Up to 75,000 low- and middle-income Mainers—including seniors—who currently claim a partial property tax or rent refund under the circuit breaker program will see an average tax hike of about $479 per year.
- Use a stealth accounting trick to increase income taxes for the middle class. Governor LePage’s budget proposal also saves almost $9 million over the biennium by suspending the automatic inflation adjustments for Maine’s income tax brackets. This will increase taxes by about $49 for Maine residents who earn over $20,000 per year. Middle class families will pay for most of this tax increase.
This plan to balance the budget on the backs of schools, communities, and low- and middle-income Maine taxpayers is unacceptable. Now is the time to tell our lawmakers.
Trans Pacific Trade Pact seeks to allow global corporations to come to the US and ignore all environmental laws to create the same environmental devastation in the US as happened in Asia. Maryland is a raging TPP global market state and Baltimore is king of it all. There is no environmental policy in Maryland -----ONLY ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRESSIVE POSING. EVEN THE STATISTICS ARE JUKED! All environmental law in Maryland is ignored. So, when you see very neo-conservative Baltimore hawking plastic bottle and bag taxes and Maryland a RAIN tax that excludes all of the BIG BOX retail stores with oceans of parking lots and government facilities with oceans of paved land----you know it is simply a tax revenue on main street. That was what all of the taxation from Erhlich to O'Malley was about---moving the weight of taxation from the rich and corporations to mainstreet and with the bond market crash and property taxes tied with those bonds and all that corporate tax break for decades----
TAXATION ON MAIN STREET WILL SOAR NO MATTER BUSH NEO-CON OR CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL ----THEY WORK FOR THE ROYAL GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL.
Republicans call this tax and spend Democrats-----but Republicans are the king of taxes as fees and fines----as long as it is on main street.
Baltimore has one of the worst environmental records in the country and all of its development has failed to meet environmental standards----they simply use 'green' to move government funds to corporate subsidy.
When It Rains, It Pours Tax Dollars In Maryland -...
www.forbes.com/.../when-it-rains-it-pours-tax-dollars-in...Jan 02, 2014 · Maryland is the only state in the country that taxes the amount of rain that falls. ... So what exactly is the “rain tax,” and who must pay it?
Baltimore Moves Closer To $.10 Bag Fee
The Baltimore Sun | By YVONNE WENGER Posted: 01/22/2014 10:45 am EST Updated: 03/24/2014 5:59 am EDT
The legislation -- which would apply to most purchases at grocery stores and major retailers such as Target and Walmart -- cleared a key council committee Tuesday.
The proposal is the latest in a decade-long effort against disposable bags that advocates say is intended to reduce litter and help the environment. Roughly 100 communities nationally, including Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, have banned plastic disposable sacks or imposed a fee on them.
"We're trying to make our city a cleaner and greener city," said Councilman Brandon M. Scott of Northeast Baltimore, who sponsored the bill. "This is a good step for us to be a sustainable city moving forward."
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will sign the legislation if the council approves it, according to her spokesman. But Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young called the measure a regressive tax that would hurt those who could least afford to pay it.
"They think it's going to clean up the bay. It's not going to do that," Young said. "Are you going to ban soda bottles because they end up in the bay? I keep saying this is a people problem. I don't care what you impose, it's not going to stop littering."
To address a concern of merchants, businesses would keep 3 cents from the fee to cover administrative costs. Jeff Zellmer, senior vice president of the Maryland Retailers Association, said the figure is reasonable.
"We don't really welcome it, but the train's coming down the road, and we accept it," Zellmer said.
Scott said that the nickel fee imposed in Washington and Montgomery has been successful in reducing litter and that businesses are saving money by providing fewer of the giveaway bags. Supporters say plastic bags, in particular, harm the environment and often blow into waterways that feed the Chesapeake Bay.
A spokeswoman for Target declined to comment on the pending legislation. Giant Food of Maryland said in a statement that officials would study the proposal.
Bag manufacturers oppose the bill. According to the American Progressive Bag Alliance, an industry group, about 30,800 American jobs, including 200 in Maryland, depend on plastic bag manufacturing and recycling.
Mark Daniels, chairman of the alliance, disputed claims that imposing a fee on disposable bags reduces litter. He said in written testimony that the charge would contribute to Baltimore's highest-in-the-state taxes.
"A ten-cent tax will only make trips to the grocery store more expensive," Daniels wrote. "It will also be detrimental to local businesses because some consumers will begin to shop outside the city in order to avoid the tax."
Councilman James B. Kraft, chairman of the committee that approved the legislation in a 4-0 vote, said the city attempted to work with retailers and grocers to voluntarily reduce plastic bag usage about three years ago. But the law, which stops merchants from giving shoppers a plastic bag unless they ask for one, didn't work as intended, he said.
"The real folks we were going after -- the big guys -- still to this day are not just ignoring it but flagrantly violating the law," Kraft said. "The question isn't whether we're going to invoke the fee, it's how much it's going to be."
Finance officials said it is hard to estimate how much revenue the fee would generate, but Kraft said the city could expect at least $1.5 million in the first year. The money is projected to decrease annually as more people get into the habit of bringing reusable bags to shop.
The fee would be collected by the retailers, which would face fines for not complying. The city would charge interest and penalties for late payments and require businesses to compile reports on bags distributed and money collected.
The bill would exclude bags used to carry hot or cold cooked foods, prescriptions and fresh produce and meat. It would cover most retailers, including pharmacies and convenience stores. But farmers' markets could still give bags without charge.
The legislation, which would take effect July 1, seeks to direct the revenue to a fund to clean up the city's parks, streams and harbor. But because the council currently has no power to direct spending, the money would go to the general fund.
Kraft said he planned to introduce legislation to ask voters in November to approve a city charter amendment giving the council the power to earmark money for environmental initiatives.
Rawlings-Blake's spokesman, Kevin R. Harris, said the mayor would be agreeable to having the money split between the general fund and those initiatives.
Kraft said the primary aim isn't to raise money but to encourage Baltimoreans to use reusable sacks. And with fewer bags in the waste stream, Kraft said, the city could eventually save money on environmental cleanup.
Julie Lawson, director of the Trash Free Maryland Alliance, testified Tuesday that studies prove surcharges dramatically reduce plastic bag use and promote sweeping changes in behavior.
In Washington, a recent survey found 80 percent of residents changed their behavior after the five-cent fee was imposed in January 2010, according to Lawson. Only 8 percent of businesses and 16 percent of residents reported negative feelings about the law, she said.
"Citizens around the city are tired of seeing plastic bags caught in tree branches, dotting roadsides and blowing down neighborhood streets," Lawson said.
One thing you do not hear in TPP is the creation of this global tax structure with the global tribunal at its head. We see the talk of global corporate taxation but wait-----global corporate pols are eliminating all forms of corporate taxation----I know, it is a global tax system for citizens contributing to corporate profit through taxation! How can citizens contribute to allow corporations to do more social and environmental good?
In other words----paying corporations to be a nation's government services.
Take a look at the video to see what is the creation of a global taxation authority----and think how small the Boston Tea Party's rebellion against England's royal family will be. This is the sucking squid that is Wall Street!
NO WONDER THEY DO NOT WANT THE AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN PEOPLE TO SEE THIS--
For third world nations tied to TPP is is simply a larger sucking squid. TPP right now has a dozen nations that may sign on if the citizens cannot get rid of their political leaders soon enough, but these guys see all nations in this tribunal court.
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Watch the video
If a Wall Street global corporate neo-liberal or Bush neo-con has been stating that a US state needs to be positioned for 'attracting business' they are speaking to the global corporate business structure below---and Maryland's Erhlich/O'Malley/Hogan are all about making Maryland business-friendly. Republican voters think this means for small businesses and Baltimore City is dangling the idea of owning small businesses to city residents desperate for jobs all the while working to move this global corporate structure into the city and state where no small businesses can survive.
This is the reason Clinton/Bush/Obama has allowed US corporations to do as they please complete with plundering all of our public Trusts, retirements, savings, and assets---it is a race to win market share by expanding wealth.
As you saw above----this global corporate tribunal will have the same structures as our US government with global agencies for taxation replacing the IRS. Your Maryland pols have been working hard to reverse the state and city tax structure to meet the needs of this global tribunal----and it is all about SHOW ME THE MONEY FROM THE CITIZENS IN YOUR ECONOMIC ZONE!
THERE IT IS----THE ENGLISH ROYAL EAST INDIA CORPORATION COMING TO TAX THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO DEATH AGAIN!
'The new global corporate law
Juan Hernández Zubizarreta
according to the business opportunities and incentives for foreign direct investment they offer, assuming
that the countries that provide the most legal certainty are precisely the ones with the best prospects for
the operations of transnational corporations'.
Corporate Power | State of Power 2015
The fourth edition of our annual State of Power report, coinciding with the international meeting in Switzerland of what Susan George calls “the Davos class”. This series seeks to examine different dimensions of power, unmask the key holders of power in our globalised world, and identify sources of…tni.org
The new global corporate law
Juan Hernández Zubizarreta
The global economic crisis that unfolded in 2009 was significant not just for the questions it raised over
the power of big finance, but also for the attention it drew to other crises facing our planet – notably food,
ecology and care work. What has been given less attention is the national and international legal systems
that underpin these crises and the way legislation has been skewed in favour of capital and transnational
The reinterpretation of legislation in favour of capital and transnational corporations and the regulatory
asymmetry this causes vis-à-vis the rights of the unprotected majorities are undermining the rule of
law, the separation of powers and the very essence of democracy. Now more than ever in history, law is
being used to benefit political and economic elites. At the international level, this allows corporations to
operate free from regulatory controls and with a high level of impunity.
A recent example is the case of transnational oil corporation Chevron, which conditioned signing the
investment agreement with YPF on Argentina’s Vaca Muerta oil field upon the adoption of reforms to
federal and provincial laws. Chevron’s proposals were set out in a series of “strictly confidential” documents,
which focused on the maximum amount of taxes the provinces could charge the company, the
duration and characteristics of the concessions, and tax stability for the oil company and its subsidiaries.
The proposals favouring the oil corporation were written into the new law on hydrocarbons, which the
Argentine Congress approved on 30 October 2013 in order to “promote investments in exploration”.1
The new global corporate law
Juan Hernández Zubizarreta
This is a very clear example of how corporations intervene in regulations designed to control them, which
is leading to a profound crisis of democratic institutions and popular sovereignty, the violation of the separation
of powers and the rule of law, and the contractualisation of legal norms and economic relations.
Finally, it also places the rights of corporations above the rights of people through the privatisation of
legal norms and institutions. Transnational corporations approve legal norms “de facto”, and states (in
this case, the Argentine state) dedicate themselves to upholding the logic of the market and guaranteeing
unlimited profits for corporations.
From the rule of law to a new global corporate law: legal certainty
The evolution of global capitalism from the mid-nineteenth century to the present has served to consolidate
and strengthen the pivotal role of transnational corporations in the global economy, as well as
their increasing dominance over multiple areas of life. Today, transnational corporations have greater
economic power than many states: the annual revenues of Walmart, Shell and Exxon Mobil, for example,
are larger than the gross domestic product of countries such as Austria, South Africa and Venezuela.2
Major corporations also have tremendous political power, not only in relation to nation-states – as can
be seen in their obvious influence in advancing economic counter-reforms and the suppression of social
rights – but also at the international level, in multilateral institutions such as the UN “through various
models of multi-actor initiatives”.3
On a legal level, the contracts and investments of transnational corporations are protected by a multitude
of norms, treaties and agreements that make up a new global corporate law, the so-called lex mercatoria.
There are, however, no adequate counterweights or real mechanisms to control the social, labour, cultural
and environmental impacts of their operations.4 The rights of transnational corporations are shielded
by a global legal framework based on trade and investment rules that are imperative, coercive and
executive in nature, while their obligations are remitted to a fragile international human rights law system
and to national legal systems weakened by neoliberalism. In this context, ‘corporate social responsibility’
and voluntary codes of conduct that cannot be legally enforced have emerged as a form of soft law.5
Legal certainty for whom?
In spring 2006, the headlines of Spanish newspapers blared, “Evo Morales decrees the nationalisation
of Bolivia’s oil and gas” and “Repsol YPF says it will defend its rights”.6 Since then, every time attempts
are made in Latin America to reclaim state sovereignty over natural resources, energy and key sectors
of the economy, transnational corporations defend their investments by resorting to a concept that has
become key: legal certainty.
In early 2010, Spain’s Senate Committee on Ibero-American Affairs approved a report on the role of
Spanish corporations in Latin America. In the report, countries in the region were classified based on
their “level of legal certainty”: Mexico, Peru and Colombia were among the safest, whereas Cuba, Venezuela,
Ecuador and Bolivia were listed among the least secure. The report also regrouped countries
The new global corporate law
Juan Hernández Zubizarreta
according to the business opportunities and incentives for foreign direct investment they offer, assuming
that the countries that provide the most legal certainty are precisely the ones with the best prospects for
the operations of transnational corporations.
If you wonder why Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons in Congress have threatened these several years to pass a national infrastructure building project and to reform corporate taxes and have yet to do it-----THEY HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT TO PASS.
Corporate tax reform will look just like what the global corporate tax tribunal says it will look. They are waiting so they can say---THE TREATY MADE US DO IT!
Obama has failed to collect any Federal tax base for several years with hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate taxes unpaid just because-----TPP will have a completely different tax structure based on how people can be taxed to subsidize corporations---which is the model built in Baltimore by Johns Hopkins.
Good ole Bill Clinton still telling us that corporations are going to be benevolent once they own everything and have all the money. Maryland's Republican candidate for governor went around shouting
CORPORATIONS WANT TO TAKE CARE OF YOU! THIS IS THE GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL SPEAKING!
'Sadly, there is little to suggest that big corporations and investors have gotten the former president's message, or that executives share his fantasy. Current trends suggest the reverse: that CEOs are plundering their companies' assets, cashing in their future to reap short-term profits and bonuses.
A recent column by Edward Luce in the Financial Times summarized at naked capitialism reports on the current executive gambit: using corporate funds to buy back its stocks, hike the stock price and pocket bigger bonuses'.
When will the Race to the Top in expanding market share globally end? When one small group owns every capital market economic gain in the world. Maybe that is the sweet spot Bill Clinton alludes to.
Bill Clinton's Corporate Idylls
Posted: 09/25/2014 2:05 pm EDT Updated: 11/25/2014 5:59 am HUFFINGTON POST
We should only hope. That revolution in the corporate worldview would be immensely important, to say the least. The focus on "shareholder value" -- magnified by lavish executive compensation packages -- has driven executives to focus on meeting short-term profit goals, scramble for every tax dodge, trample worker rights, and play communities and countries off against one another in a brutal race to the bottom.
There are companies that adhere to more socially responsible policies; the Social Venture Network brings many together. There are also socially responsible investors that use values to screen what they are willing to invest in. The current movement to divest from fossil fuel companies exemplifies that.
Sadly, there is little to suggest that big corporations and investors have gotten the former president's message, or that executives share his fantasy. Current trends suggest the reverse: that CEOs are plundering their companies' assets, cashing in their future to reap short-term profits and bonuses.
A recent column by Edward Luce in the Financial Times summarized at naked capitialism reports on the current executive gambit: using corporate funds to buy back its stocks, hike the stock price and pocket bigger bonuses.
According to Barclays, US companies have lavished more than $500bn in the past year on stock buybacks - a multiple of what most are spending on research and development and other capital investments. In the first six months of the year, buybacks surged to $338.3bn - the largest half-yearly volume since 2007. The rationale is simple. By reducing the volume of outstanding shares, chief executive officers increase earnings per share. That in turn lifts their pay, which is heavily tied to short-term stock performance. If you need an explanation for why the top 0.1 per cent is doing so well, start with equity-based compensation.
William Lazonick of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, explains the true scope of the perversity:
In total, the top 449 companies in the S&P 500 spent $2.4tn - or more than half their profits - on buybacks in [the decade of 2003-2012] They spent almost the same again in dividend payouts. Taken together, they came to 91 per cent of net income.
[S]even of the top 10 largest share repurchasers spent more on buybacks and dividends than their entire net income between 2003 and 2012. In the case of Hewlett-Packard, which spent $73bn, it was almost double its profits.
In a time of soaring profits, CEOs are putting off capital investments and starving research and development while devoting profits and sometimes taking out loans to buy back stocks, hike stock values and reward themselves. This does not suggest a growing concern for consumers, workers, communities, or even the long-term health of the company. CEOs are plundering their companies to reward their shareholders -- and themselves -- in the short term. In the long term, they'll have gotten theirs and will be gone.
Clinton convened a panel of business leaders to reinforce his views, but the selections didn't exactly support his case. Tony James, president and CEO of Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, praised socially responsible companies, but Blackstone is under investigation for violating anti-bribery laws, and is infamous for its rabid defense of the obscene "carried interest" deduction that enables private equity billionaires to pay a lower tax rate than their chauffeurs. Blackstone, like other private equity firms, often make their money by taking over companies, burdening them with big debts, getting their money out first in fees, and selling off the remains, all in the name of exacting "shareholder value."
Antony Jenkins, CEO of Barclays, suggested there was a "sweet spot" where a company can "create real commercial value" while still doing good. Barclays isn't exactly exploring that sweet spot, having just paid a record fine for co-mingling its depositors funds with its own money, while under separate investigation for, among other things, rigging the Libor and interest rate markets, and for "systematic fraud and deceit" of its investors in its "dark money pool" trading practices.
Laws and policy matter. Corporations and the rich have rigged the rules to benefit themselves. They don't deploy armies of lobbyists out of public spirit; they deploy them to carve out exemptions, build in subsidies and defend their privileges. Concern about consumers hasn't stopped turncoat Burger King from doing a foreign merger to duck paying U.S. taxes.
In a later interview, Clinton suggested that the solution for Burger King and other turncoat companies is to reform and lower corporate taxes. But the corporate tax code is complicated because corporate lobbies have carved out exemptions and dodges to avoid paying taxes. The effective tax rate of most U.S. corporations is already low. Continuing a race to the bottom -- competing with tax havens like the Cayman Islands -- is to fall for the rigged game.
We need leaders who understand that the rules have been rigged, and will tell the people the truth. We need progressive tax reform that raises taxes on the wealthy and treats the income of investors and private equity buccaneers the same as the wages of workers. Corporate tax reform should end deferral of taxes on profits reported abroad, and tax multinationals on the same scale as domestic companies. Executive compensation packages that give CEOs personal multimillion-dollar incentives to plunder their own companies have to be penalized, not rewarded.
Clinton knows this. His effort to limit excessive executive pay while president carved out an exemption for "performance pay," premised on aligning executive pay with shareholders' interest. This lead directly to today's perverse compensation packages. It is good that he's predicting that era must come to an end. But it won't happen unless the rules are changed, and new laws passed and enforced. And that won't come from those who are making out like bandits under the current arrangements. It will require a people's movement that demands the change, and leaders that seek a mandate to effect it.