black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             
Corporations Don’t Need a Tax Cut, So Why Is Obama Proposing One?

The Obama administration is proposing to lower corporate taxes from the current 35 percent to 28 percent for most companies and to 25 percent for manufacturers.

The move is supposed to be “revenue neutral” – meaning the Administration is also proposing to close assorted corporate tax loopholes to offset the lost revenues. One such loophole allows corporations to park their earnings overseas where taxes are lower. Why isn’t the White House just proposing to close the loopholes without reducing overall corporate tax rates? That would generate more tax revenue that could be used for, say, public schools.

It’s not as if corporations are hurting. Quite the contrary. American companies are booking higher profits than ever. They’re sitting on $2 trillion of cash they don’t know what to do with. And it’s not as if corporate taxes are high. In fact, corporate tax receipts as a share of profits is now at its lowest level in at least 40 years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, corporate federal taxes paid last year dropped to 12.1 percent of profits earned from activities within the United States. That’s a gigantic drop from the 25.6 percent, on average, that corporations paid from 1987 to 2008.

And it’s not that corporations are paying an inordinate share of federal tax revenues. Here again, the reality is just the opposite. Corporate taxes have plummeted as a share of total federal revenues. In 1953, under President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, corporate taxes accounted for 32 percent of total federal tax revenues. Now they’re only 10 percent. […]

The Administration’s initiative doesn’t even make sense as a bargaining maneuver.”

Robert Reich

"The National Science Foundation has just released its biennial report on global investment in science, engineering and technology. The NSF warns that the United States is quickly losing ground to Asia, especially to China. …

One big reason: According to the NSF, American firms nearly doubled their R&D investment in Asia over these years, to over $7.5 billion.

GE recently announced a $500 million expansion of its R&D facilities in China. The firm has already invested $2 billion. … GE has also been creating more jobs outside the United States than in it. … 

The Commerce Department says U.S. based global corporations added 2.4 million workers abroad in first decade of 21st century, while cutting their US workforce by 2.9 million.

According to the New York Times, Apple Computer employs 43,000 people in the United States but contracts with over 700,000 workers abroad. It makes iPhones in China not only because of low wages there but also the ease and speed with which its Chinese contractor can mobilize their workers – from company dormitories at almost any hour of the day or night.

An Apple executive says “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.” He might have added “and showing a big enough profits to continually increase our share price.” …

Put simply, American workers are hobbled by deteriorating schools, unaffordable college tuitions, decaying infrastructure, and declining basic R&D. All of this is putting us on a glide path toward even lousier jobs and lower wages. …

Republicans like it this way, and for three decades have been trying to convince average working Americans government is their enemy. Yet corporate America isn’t their friend. Without bold government action on behalf of our workforce, good American jobs will continue to disappear.”

Robert ReichThe State of Our Disunion: A Globalizing Private Sector, A Government Overwhelmed by Corporate Money [+]

The Corporations that Occupy Congress | Reuters

Last month Citizens for Tax Justice and an affiliate issued “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers 2008-10″. It showed that 30 brand-name companies paid a federal income tax rate of minus 6.7 percent on $160 billion of profit from 2008 through 2010 compared to a going corporate tax rate of 35 percent. All but one of those 30 companies reported lobbying expenses in Washington.
Another report, by Public Campaign, shows that 29 of those companies spent nearly half a billion dollars over those three years lobbying in Washington for laws and rules that favor their interests.

The Corporations that Occupy Congress | Reuters

Last month Citizens for Tax Justice and an affiliate issued “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers 2008-10″. It showed that 30 brand-name companies paid a federal income tax rate of minus 6.7 percent on $160 billion of profit from 2008 through 2010 compared to a going corporate tax rate of 35 percent. All but one of those 30 companies reported lobbying expenses in Washington.

Another report, by Public Campaign, shows that 29 of those companies spent nearly half a billion dollars over those three years lobbying in Washington for laws and rules that favor their interests.

What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.

And that is the true parallel in the West. The protest movements are indeed against Big Business – a perfectly justified cause – and against “governments”. What they have really divined, however, albeit a bit late in the day, is that they have for decades bought into a fraudulent democracy: they dutifully vote for political parties – which then hand their democratic mandate and people’s power to the banks and the derivative traders and the rating agencies, all three backed up by the slovenly and dishonest coterie of “experts” from America’s top universities and “think tanks”, who maintain the fiction that this is a crisis of globalization rather than a massive financial con trick foisted on the voters.

The banks and the rating agencies have become the dictators of the West. Like the Mubaraks and Ben Alis, the banks believed – and still believe – they are owners of their countries. The elections which give them power have – through the gutlessness and collusion of governments – become as false as the polls to which the Arabs were forced to troop decade after decade to anoint their own national property owners. Goldman Sachs and the Royal Bank of Scotland became the Mubaraks and Ben Alis of the US and the UK, each gobbling up the people’s wealth in bogus rewards and bonuses for their vicious bosses on a scale infinitely more rapacious than their greedy Arab dictator-brothers could imagine. 

I didn’t need Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job on BBC2 this week – though it helped – to teach me that the ratings agencies and the US banks are interchangeable, that their personnel move seamlessly between agency, bank and US government. The ratings lads (almost always lads, of course) who AAA-rated sub-prime loans and derivatives in America are now – via their poisonous influence on the markets – clawing down the people of Europe by threatening to lower or withdraw the very same ratings from European nations which they lavished upon criminals before the financial crash in the US. I believe that understatement tends to win arguments. But, forgive me, who are these creatures whose ratings agencies now put more fear into the French than Rommel did in 1940?

Why don’t my journalist mates in Wall Street tell me? How come the BBC and CNN and – oh, dear, even al-Jazeera – treat these criminal communities as unquestionable institutions of power? Why no investigations – Inside Job started along the path – into these scandalous double-dealers?”

Robert Fisk: Bankers are the Dictators of the West

The federal government is certainly complicit in the oppression of the 99%. And the people are rightly upset. Congressional approval is now in the single digits, which is the lowest in recorded history for CBS/New York Times pollsters. The Federal Reserve’s first audit showed trillions in secret bailouts to the same Wall Street banks foreclosing on our homes and laying off thousands, as well as trillions in bailouts to banks outside of the United States. And if that wasn’t enough, it appears that the Fed is letting Bank of America dump $74 trillion in derivatives into taxpayer-insured FDIC accounts. President Obama’s support for Occupy Wall Street seems hollow when such rampant greed and corruption is allowed to continue under the nose of our supposed regulators.

But antagonizing the state as the sole culprit for our grievances is disingenuous. The state enables the unrestrained greed of corporate and financial titans to push millions into poverty worldwide. Toothless agencies, staffed with former executives of the companies they’re supposed to be regulating, were complicit in the BP oil disaster by letting the companies write their own rules. Corporations are now breaking apart pieces of the Earth’s mantle to draw natural gas, free to pollute water supplies without fear of government regulation. President Obama’s re-election team just hired a senior adviser who formerly lobbied for TransCanada—the same company pushing the White House to approve their Keystone XL oil pipeline that would pillage the land for oil destined for other countries. Even Sen. Dick Durbin admits that banks “frankly own the place.” Our government has become a subsidiary of industry. […]

In a recent segment on Democracy Now!, Glenn Greenwald noted that mere legislative demands from Occupiers would be insufficient to address the grievances of the 99 percent taking the world by storm. If Congress is so rife with corruption that they’ll even vote down creating 300,000 jobs for teachers and first responders to protect millionaires from even a .05% tax increase, then the system is beyond saving through conventional means. The real battle must be waged nonviolently in the streets, even in the face of excessive oppression by an emerging police state.

The cancer eating America alive right now is a corporatocracy where cozy relationships between the power elite dictate policy for the 99%. Americans must surgically remove the corporate cancer from government through direct action and the voting booth, and cultivate new leaders from within the movement. When the people lead, our leaders will have no choice but to follow.”

The Corporatocracy is the 1%

Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world

An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy. […] 

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s OWS movement and protesters elsewhere. But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs).

"Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it’s conspiracy theories or free-market," says James Glattfelder. “Our analysis is reality-based.” […]

The work, to be published in PloS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships. Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What’s more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms - the “real” economy - representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

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©2011 Kateoplis