Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What "Off the Cliff" Means...Taxing the Very Rich

Even if the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire, the ultra-rich STILL wouldn't be paying their fair share of income taxes.

Most people earning over $1 million a year do so with capital gains earned through stocks, dividends, carried interest, SWAG investments, (etc). And their tax on capital gains would go up from 15% to 20%. Whereas a neurosurgeon could be taxed at the top marginal rate of 39%

Americans support raising the tax rates on the ultra-rich by a two-to-one margin, says a new Pew Research poll. Less than half the nation's Republican voters, just 41 percent, feel that hiking taxes on income over $250,000 would “hurt the economy.”

Who are those idiotic 41 percent of Republican voters that earn less than $250,000 a year and always vote against the own best interests? 41 percent of Republican voters support corporate greed, less regulation for dishonest bankers and private equity firms (listed below), and a 15% tax rate for billionaires. And they still believe in "trickle-down economics" and the tooth fairy too. Where have these people been since the stock market crash in 2008?

And yes, $250,000 a year is a lot of money...even in New York City. I once lived in Manhattan earning a minimum wage as a waiter at the Halloran House at 49th and Lexington.

Fox News is again using scare tactics: "Senate Democrats appear willing to use your paycheck to play political hardball on taxes unless Republicans agree to President Obama's plan to raise taxes on America's top earners."

Notice the use of the words "top earners". Republicans refuse to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires to help pay down our debt, fund the military, and pay for jobs programs, like infrastructure. Instead the GOP wants to more tax breaks for the ultra rich paid for with cuts to food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Fox News writes "Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are hoping to shift around those spending cuts to spare key areas like defense, and to temporarily extend the Bush tax rates for at least some Americans. Some have warned a failure to do so could send the nation back into recession."

Those "some Americans" that Fox News mentions are the 98% of us that earn LESS than $250,000 a year.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., indicated Democrats are willing to let the deadline pass in order to better their negotiating position, saying "If we can't get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013 rather than lock in a long-term deal this year that throws middle-class families under the bus."

The Republicans often use the talking points that Obama extended the Bush tax cuts two years ago and that the economy is off worse today than it was then. But two years ago the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 2,000 points lower than it is today; and the bigger corporations and CEOs have been doing just fine. Many on the Fortune 500 have been paying an "effective" corporate tax rate of 18% (not the highest in the world as the GOP always claims) while their CEOs have paid a 15% tax rate on millions in stock bonuses.

Also, two years ago Obama only extended the Bush tax cuts because the Republicans held the extension of federal unemployment insurance program hostage for millions of out work Americans.

Sen. Patty Murray went on to explain: "If all the tax cuts expire, then that will diminish the GOP argument that the Democratic plan is tantamount to a tax hike -- because come 2013, any change to the tax code would be a tax cut. We will have a new fiscal and political reality. If the Bush tax cuts expire, every proposal will be a tax cut proposal and the [Grover Norquist] pledge (to not raise taxes) will no longer keep Republicans boxed in and unable to compromise."

"If middle-class families start seeing more money coming out of their paychecks next year -- are Republicans really going to stand up and fight for new tax cuts for the rich? Are they going to continue opposing the Democrats' middle-class tax cut once the slate has been wiped clean? I think they know this would be an untenable political position. And I hope this pushes them to come to the table with real revenue now before being forced to the table if we don't get a deal before the New Year," she said.

Fox News scare tactics: "The political strategy underscores how heated the debate over the Bush tax cuts has become, and how risky it is for the American people. President Obama is pushing for an extension of the rates only for American households making less than $250,000, and a tax hike for those earning more than that."

When Fox News says "how risky it is for the American people", they must mean risky for the very RICH American people, those earning over $250,000 a year.

I heard a Republican senator on Fox News this morning outright lie, saying Obama's tax plan would raise taxes on seniors!

Obama only wants to raise taxes on the top 2% of all earners --- such as bankers, CEOs, hedge fund managers, himself and Mitt Romney). But even they will still get a tax break on the first $250,000 they earn starting after January 2013. Then they will pay the old Bill Clinton tax rate on everything they earn over $250,000 a year.

Only 3% of what are defined as "small businesses" (such as those owned by Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton (and private equity firms and hedge funds) earn more than $250,000 a year.

Why would 41 percent of Republican voters not want to raise taxes on these people in the top 2%? Why? A good many of those 41% of Republican voters can't be millionaires, and they have been getting just as screwed as everybody else!. Have they been dumbed down by Fox News? Idiots!

Below is a small sampling of people who will see their taxes rise, just a little, under Obama's tax plan. Don't forget, most of their earnings are with stock options (etc) and are only taxed the top marginal rates on their base salaries.

Yahoo's corporate directors just hired their fourth CEO in four years. The latest, Marissa Mayer, will be raking in $59 million to start. She replaces Scott Thompson. He stood to make $26 million his first year, but Thompson only lasted four months. His predecessor, Carol Bartz, signed on for $32 million. She followed Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, who put in a brief stint after his hand-picked successor Terry Semel flamed out, but not before cashing in $204 million worth of personal option profits in 2004.

Timothy D. Cook, Apple
Compensation: $378 million

David Simon, Simon Property Group
Compensation: $137.2 million

David M. Zaslav, Discovery Channel
Compensation: $52.4 million

Michael S. Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch
Compensation: $46.6 million

Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation
Compensation: $29.3 million

Ian M. Cumming, Leucadia National
Compensation: $29.3 million

Gregory W. Cappelli, Apollo Group
Compensation: $25.1 million

Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs
Compensation: $16.2 million

John T. Chambers, Cisco Systems
Compensation: $12.9 million

Robert L. Antin, VCA Antech
Compensation: $12.1 million

The was a short list of CEOs and doesn't include all the billionaires on the Forbes 400 List.

Also, check out this list of "job creators" from our past (excluding AL Capone and other notable mobsters) who the GOP never wanted to raise taxes on.

  • Bernie Madoff holds the world-record for biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Madoff stole billions while chairing the Nasdaq and maintaining cushy relationships at the SEC. He received the maximum sentence of 150 years in prison.
  • Joseph P. Nacchio - The CEO of Qwest Communications International. He was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading in Qwest stock and was sentenced to six years in federal prison
  • Kenneth Lay and Jeffery Skilling -- Enron -- Total Scammed: $74 Billion.
  • Thomas Joseph Petters - The former CEO and chairman of Petters Group Worldwide and convicted for turning his company into a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme. He received a 50 year federal prison sentence.
  • Raffaello Follieri was accused of misappropriating a $50 million investment from billionaire Ronald Burkle meant to buy up Roman Catholic churches. Bishop Joseph Anthony Galante was implicated in the scandal.
  • Dr. Gerald Barnbaum - Medicaid fraud, mail fraud, identity theft, sexual battery, medical malpractice and second-degree murder.
  • Eugene Plotkin and David Pajcin, both formerly of Goldman Sachs, were the masterminds behind a complex Wall Street con and a scam using strippers to solicit information from Wall Street bankers.
  • Richard Scrushy - He was once the superstar CEO of HealthSouth, a huge provider of outpatient rehab services until federal prosecutors accused him of masterminding a $2.7 billion fraud.
  • Samuel Israel III turns his wall street hedge fund, "Bayou Investments", into a Ponzi scheme after poor management, then attempts a fake suicide to flee prosecution.
  • Dennis Kozlowski - He was once described as "The Most Aggressive CEO in America," now sits behind bars. A poster boy of excess, the former CEO of Tyco stole millions from his company, using the money for a lavish party, a gilded shower curtain and expensive art.
  • Dr. Jorge Martinez - Expensive, painful and unnecessary shots, all part of a multi-million dollar billing scheme.
  • Anthony Elgindy - "The Mad Max of Wall Street" - The founder of Pacific Equity Investigations was a short seller who made millions in a trading scam using government secrets.
  • Lou Pearlman - The manager of bands like *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys and masterminded scams of $500 million from investors in the longest running Ponzi scheme.
  • Al Parish - An economics professor and a trusted financial advisor was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to financial fraud. Nearly 600 people lost up to $90 million invested in Parish Economic's private investment "pools."
  • Dr. Ronald Mikos - The story of a another murderous Chicago doctor who bilked Medicare.
  • Sholam Weiss - He helps fix the National Heritage Life Insurance's gaping $35 million accounting hole, and ends up partnering up with them - and bilking customers out of $500 million. He was sentenced to 845 years in prison.
  • Robert W. McLean - An investment manager and arts patron who traveled by limousine and ran a Ponzi scheme that had siphoned tens of millions of dollars from close friends and business associates. He eventually killed himself.
  • Stephen Trantel was once a Wall Street insider, a broker making hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Manhattan trading pits. After becoming unemployed, he started robbing banks.
  • Nancy Kissel murders her husband Robert Kissel, who had been a vice president in Goldman Sachs' Asian special situations group. His brother, Andrew Kissel, who had been accused of defrauding a New York co-op board of millions of dollars, was found murdered at his rented Greenwich, Connecticut estate.
  • Troy Titus - A disbarred and disgraced attorney who was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for defrauding clients and friends out of more than $8 million in Ponzi scheme.
  • Alberto Vilar - An investor who was known as "a patron of opera". He was tried and convicted in November 2008 on charges of money laundering, investment advisor fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud, and was sentenced in February 2010 to nine years in prison.
  • Dr. Vilas Likhite - An elaborate sting operation exposes a doctor and former Harvard Medical School professor who was stripped of his medical license and began a new career as a con man selling fake art treasures.
  • Danny Pang - He was the CEO of Private Equity Management Group who ran a Ponzi scheme and made millions betting on when people will die. His wife, ex-stripper Janie Louise Pang, was murdered in the Villa Park house, possibly by a contract killer, after she took steps toward a divorce. He has also since died. Wall Street Journal
  • Marc Harris promised financial freedom to people with off-shore bank accounts as a way to keep assets out of the reach of government. But the "guru" was running a Ponzi scheme and bilking clients out of millions of dollars.
  • Greater Ministries International - A story of religious fraud and a $500 million dollar pyramid scheme.
  • Robert Allen Stanford - He was the chairman of the now defunct Stanford Financial Group and was a sponsor of professional sports - - now accused of a massive Ponzi scheme.
  • Larry Salander - One of the biggest names in New York’s art world (Salander-O’Reilly Galleries), but collectors see red when he swipes more than $100 million from their pockets.
  • Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin - The former CEO of Agriprocessors, now-bankrupt slaughterhouse and meat packing plant. He was convicted of 86 counts of financial fraud, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud and money laundering. In June 2010, he was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
  • William “Boots” Del Biaggio III - A venture capitalist and former co-owner of the hockey team San Jose Sharks. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and more than $67.4 million in restitution for misappropriating funds from individual investors he advised.
  • Scott W. Rothstein - A disbarred lawyer and the former managing shareholder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the now-defunct Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm. He was accused of funding a massive 1.2 billion dollar Ponzi scheme.
  • The Baptist Foundation of Arizona - Their fraud led to the largest collapse of a religious financial institution in U.S. history.
  • John Bennett - His Foundation for New Era Philanthropy operated a notorious Ponzi scheme. After having raised over $500 million from 1100 donors, he embezzled $135 million.
  • Martin Frankel - A financier and con-man who vanished with $200 million dollars. A story of money laundering, prostitution, bizarre sex and drug abuse.
  • Eric Stein - Masterminded one of the largest Ponzi schemes in Nevada history, cost his victims nearly $34 million.
  • Reverend Abraham Kennard - As many as 1600 churches nationwide are swindled out of $10 million.
  • Reed Eliot Slatkin - An ordained Scientology minister and co-founder of EarthLink was the perpetrator of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in the United States since Charles Ponzi himself.
  • Robert Ray Courtney - A former pharmacist who owned and operated Research Medical Tower Pharmacy. He was convicted of pharmaceutical fraud and sentenced to federal prison.
  • Bernard Ebbers - The CEO of WorldCom becomes the poster child for everything that went wrong on Wall Street in the 1990s. WorldCom's eventual downfall shakes the financial community and the lives of thousands of investors.
  • Stefan Wilson - Operated a fraudulent investment fund. His Ponzi scheme took almost $13 million from over 50 investors and landed him 20 years in prison.
  • Marc Dreier is a high-powered lawyer with celebrity clients. But Dreier is a conman and steals more than $700 million from hedge funds.
  • Dr. Michael Rosin - Convicted of telling patients they had cancer and performing unneeded operations, now sentenced to 22 years for fraud.
  • Arthur Nadel - Manages the hedge fund Scoop Management Co, a $350 million fund. In the blink of an eye, he disappears and leaves clients without their life savings.
  • Joseph Medawar - A television producer runs a scam to rob investors out of millions of dollars.
  • Barton Harry Watson - One the chairman of Cybernet, a wildly successful global technology company, he stood accused of stealing millions in an elaborate fraud.
  • Dr. Mark Weinberger – A self-proclaimed “nose doctor” – has it all and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. But inside The Weinberger Sinus Clinic, all is not what it seems. Malpractice and fatalities are now on his resume.
  • Dana Giacchetto - Advised Hollywood's hottest stars (from Leonardo diCaprio to Ben Affleck) But his star-power faded when nearly $10 million goes missing, for which he spent 5 years in prison.
  • Alfred Taubman - A wealthy art collector and the former chairman of Sotheby's who is now a convicted felon for the price-fixing scandal at Christie's and Sotheby's.
  • Matt Cox and Rebecca Hauck team up to make millions in the real estate fraud.
  • Nevin Shapiro - A University of Miami football booster who is currently imprisoned for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme. He even purchased a yacht on which sex parties with prostitutes were held.
  • Kenneth Starr - An accountant to stars like Sylvester Stallone, Diane Sawyer, and Wesley Snipes, but mismanages his clients’ money, pockets millions, and then he marries an exotic dancer. But then later he gets more than seven years behind bars for a multimillion-dollar investment scheme.

Al Capone went to prison for 11 years for owing $250,000 in back taxes. How much prison time should Mitt Romney get?

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