A Senate panel late Monday accused Apple (AAPL) of using what it called a “complex web of offshore entities” to dodge billions of dollars in U.S. income taxes.
via Lawmakers say Apple dodged billions in taxes – CBS News.
If we could just manage to get a Centrist party in control of those folks in Washington one of the first things I would want them to attack is our bloated tax code. The 10,000 plus pages of rules are at the core of the above article. Of course businesses want to minimize their tax load in order to increase their profits. That is, after all, what the free enterprise system is all about. Profits are the sole driver.
One of my major themes in my life lately has been around the word “Simplify”. Our world is just getting too complicated when it doesn’t have to be. Let’s throw out those 10,000 pages and replace them with just a handful. Let’s take away the means for corporations to move massive amounts of their income into tax exempt entities.
Let’s just make income well, income. If it comes in it is income and you pay a certain percentage of it as taxes to support our government and its business. For the individual that means you pay the same rate for income for profits from your investments as you do from the sweat of your brow. That means if you inherit income you pay your taxes on that amount in order to pass part of your windfall on for the common good. You didn’t earn it so it is taxable income to you. For corporations money coming in is income; doesn’t matter if it was from a foreign sale or one in the U.S.
Lets Get a Centrist party in power and direct them to simplify our tax code. After they accomplish that then I would want them to give us “real” universal healthcare; not that pretend extremely watered down version called Obamacare. But first things first I guess and that is getting centrists into power in our government. Click on the logo below to see more about that.
Our financial ills will never be settled till you fix it so every man will pay an income tax on what he earns, be it a farm, grocery store or municipal or government bonds — Will Rogers March 21,1933
Will’s words above were spoken during the heights of the depression but even then the rich were finding loopholes to avoid paying taxes. I have never understood how “unearned income” is treated any differently than the income the average guy has to sweat in order to earn. But for some reason, and I’m sure the politicians had their hand in it, “unearned income” is taxed at a lower rate called capital gains than when it is earned by the sweat of your brow.
To take advantage of this loophole most wealthy people do not actually have much income that is “earned”. That is they get their income from the wealth they already have. For instance more than 80% of Mr. Romney’s income was considered capital gains; that is how he and so many other rich guys can get away with paying less percentage of taxes than most of us. More…
I must admit that I am a loyal customer of Amazon. I pay an extra $79 a year to have two-day free delivery of almost everything I buy and I buy quite a bit from them. I get many things the next day. It amazes me just how quickly they can get my order to me!
Another company that amazes me is Google. If I have a question on just about anything I can get many different views on the subject usually within a minute or two. I can remember in high school and even college spending hours in the library scouring through twenty-four book encyclopedias and many other books to find a minute amount of info I can now get in seconds.
I am totally sick of the “slippery slope” that my conservative friends so often cling to!!
If I hear another person give me a slippery slope story I just might punch them. The idea of the slippery slope consumes so much of their lives. It is the center point for their current stands against gun regulation. It is the center point for their current stands of excluding anyone from their religious circles who don’t totally align with them. It is the center point of their current stands on taxes.
Source: Most Americans Face Lower Tax Burden Than in the 80s – NYTimes.com.
But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.
Households earning more than $200,000 benefited from the largest percentage declines in total taxation as a share of income. Middle-income households benefited, too.
Everything is relative. I learned that in college in a physics class way back in the 1960′s. Another lesson I learned is that everything is a shade of grey; nothing is totally black or white. So when I hear people complain about how all their hard More…
source: A Very Different Lame-Duck: Lessons From 2010 – ABC News.
The fiscal cliff is what we’re focused on,” Cantor spokeswoman Megan Whittemore said. “That’s what we need to get a resolution for.”
“Fiscal cliff” this “fiscal cliff” that; I am really getting tired of all the rhetoric. It is almost as if some evil empire dropped the “fiscal cliff” viciously into our laps. This reminds me of all the gloom and doom associated with Y2K. Does anyone remember that one. That happened in 1999 when some wise guru decided that the world was going to end when the calendar turned to January 1, 2000. The reasoning was that computers would get the date confused with 1900 as we only use the last two digit in most of our year designations. Of course when the date actually happened it was as mundane as the year before. No the “fiscal cliff” wasn’t dropped down on us by some evil empire, it was a result of a big majority vote by those same folks in our congress that are so upset about it now.
Source: Churches and Taxes – ProCon.org.
US churches received an official federal income tax exemption in 1894, and they have been unofficially tax-exempt since the country’s founding. All 50 US states and the District of Columbia exempt churches from paying property tax. Donations to churches are tax-deductible. The debate continues over whether or not these tax benefits should be retained.
Proponents argue that a tax exemption keeps the government out of church finances and thus upholds the separation of church and state. They say that churches deserve a tax break because they provide crucial social services, and that church tax exemptions have been in place for over 200 years without turning America into a theocracy.
Opponents argue that giving churches special tax exemptions violates the separation of church and state, and that tax exemptions are a privilege, not a right guaranteed by the US Constitution. They say that in tough economic times the government cannot afford what amounts to a subsidy worth billions of dollars every year.
Here is a letter from my Quaker friends at AFSC that I thought you might be interested in. If enough of us speak out we might just be able to force some of the politicians to actually do some of the things that they campaign on.
If you want to sign this petition click on this link https://afsc.org
But every one of us write our own history. If it sounds better the way we want it than the way it might have been why that don’t stop us any more than an amber light. – September17, 1933 Will Rogers
Will’s quote here is still pretty much true today except to maybe change the word amber to red. The number one cause of accidents now are people running red lights.
Being a senior citizen I have lived in historical times. I personally saw the Civil Rights marches not in person but on TV. I was a naive teen during much of that time so I couldn’t understand why people were treated so badly just because of the color of their skin. I heard the inspiring words of Martin Luther King but somehow didn’t really take them to heart until sometime later.
I was a small business owner for six years after I retired from the big business corporate world. But being a sole proprietor with no employees I really don’t have a good view of just what small businesses are really about. The Republican political leaders say small businesses are the growth engine of our country and we shouldn’t tax them by taking away the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 annually.
How many of the so-called small businesses were like mine just a guy in a shop building things for customers? How many hire more than a handful of employees? I decided to look into this.
Here is a link to a bunch of numbers in this area: http://www.census.gov/econ/smallbus.html
- There are approximately 29 million business in this country
- Of those 29 million about 22 million are business with no employees
- Only one million firms have more than 9 employees
- Only 90,000 (0.3% have more than 100 employees
- Across the United States, small business failure rates rose by 40% between 2007 and 2010
- Only about one if five small businesses will be in existence five years after its creation
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is really the case then I say let the Democrats emulate the Republicans in their do-nothing attitude. There has been talk about the Senate Democrats letting the all the Bush tax cuts expire and forcing the ten-percent reduction in the military budgets by doing nothing. Will the Republicans be flattered by this imitation of their strategy in congress? I kind of doubt it.
But at least it would result in some restructuring of our debt increases. Will it be good for the jobs picture? It can’t be any worse than it is. The conservatives said that tax cuts to the “job creators” (meaning rich) would create jobs; never happened in the ten years since. How long do we need to wait If the Republican are really for no new taxes and all tax cuts then maybe they will agree to a middle class tax cut to put them back to where they were with the Bush cuts. It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone except those who are filthy rich. They might have to fork over a little more of their obese discretionary income. They may not be able to buy a second or third vacation home but they should get by.
This idea seems too good to be true for a Democrat strategy so I’m pretty sure they will screw it up before the end of the year. After all they have proved to be pretty good at caving into Republican demands lately. But at least I can hold out hope for this one.
But what do I know…
This excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article peaked my senses. It seems the rich, who we give massive tax breaks, are aware that their kids will probably blow through their inherited wealth after they are gone. What a bind to be in! I bet they take all this planning and trustees as tax deductions. It seems very ironic that while most of us are just trying to stay out of the poor house, and in any other house at all, there are those who worry about the other end of the spectrum.
Instead of “cleverly written trusts” and “carefully chosen trustees” how about just letting them make their own way in life like the other 98% of us do? Who knows, maybe Paris Hilton would even be a productive member of our society if she had not inherited so much of granddaddy’s wealth. Up until recently (the 1980s that is) the government taxed wealthy estates so that a significant part of the accumulated money could go back for the common good. Our country was even established around the ideas that aristocracies are a drain on society. They thoroughly renounced the European version when we formed our country. In fact it was not long after our revolution that the French also rebelled against their aristocracy in a very bloody fashion. So how is it now that we do so much to retain our version of aristocracy that makes up the top 1% of our population but controls almost 50% of the country’s wealth?
OK, here I go again with the “Walters plan” for accumulated wealth. I know we can’t force the super rich to allow their children to make their own way in the world. But let’s treat the money they pass on to their children as “income” and therefore subject to the usual income taxes. To me income is income no matter where it comes from. If you get money that you didn’t work for and you haven’t paid any taxes on it is considered income to you. Another part of the “Walters Plan” is where we establish a more equitable income tax structure. Don’t tax the billionaires at a lower rate than the people who empty their trash. Let’s set a level of tax free income so that a person can get the basic necessities and then tax everything else at a certain rate and with no tax deductions. These big tax loop holes that congress seems to endlessly write for the rich, and for many others for that matter, are one of the reasons we are in the deficit hole we are in.
But what do I know.
I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this – no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.
This goes in line with a previous post about paying for wars. We seem to always be ready to point out other countries problems to them and part of our solution is to teach them how to do it right. Bullets seem to be our most frequent teaching aid. It is widely acknowledged that we have spent over $1 trillion on our latest wars. The way Mr. Bush funded them was to put them on our credit card for our kids to figure out how to pay off. Mr. Obama at least saw the errors of Mr. Bush’s way and put them in the budget. But that got him in trouble for adding to our budget problems. There just doesn’t seem to be a good way to pay for our wars. And it my mind there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason for any of them in the first place.
Let’s call this the Rogers doctrine. We need to get out of our current two wars and not be allowed to get into another one until we have paid the trillion dollars for these two. That should keep us out of trouble for quite a few years especially since the Republicans can’t see clear to ask their fat cat donors to pony up a little more of the fortunes to pay for anything let alone for war. Let’s start a ground swell for implementing the Rogers doctrine.
But what do I know…
Less taxes and less regulation is the constant mantra that Republican party sees as a way to bring down the unemployment rates in this country. Everything else to them is seems to be utter nonsense. But let’s look at the facts around these two issues.
- Less Taxes — Taxes are currently the lowest they have been in 36 years, especially for the top 10% of income levels. Most of this reduction came about almost eight years ago and yet there has been no significant blip on the employment levels in this country.
- Less Regulation – I don’t think anyone would argue that George W. Bush went about systematically shutting down existing regulations in this country and yet there has been not significant increase in the employment levels as a result of these actions.
People talk about how much the government takes from their paycheck. They seem to think that all the infrastructure, schooling, fire protection, police protection amongst many other services comes to them free of charge. We complain about our tax rates but how do they compare with other countries in the world? In reality we are well below average in this category too.
But spending is another thing. Our government does spend too much in several areas. Since I want to keep this stuff simple let’s look at the low hanging fruit in this post. One of those is our military. We spend forty time more per citizen than any other country in the world. How can we expect to ever bring our spending down when so much of it is our insistence on being the world’s policemen. Let’s get that in line with some sanity and then tackle some of the other issues. Military spending is the low hanging fruit ready to be picked. We could easily get a $200 – $300 billion annual savings in that category every year. Cutting military spending would be a win-win situation. It would also mean that we would have to bring many of our young men and women home for our foreign wars and let the rest of the world contribute their share. That is if the conflict is even worth it and I have serious doubts that they are.
Why don’t those yahoos in congress pick this low hanging fruit as the first thing on the chopping block? The reason is money coming in. Almost every congressional district has several military projects in their areas and they don’t want to see that money disappear from their district. I am going to finish here with a couple of Will Rogers quotes.
People talk peace but men give their life’s work to war. It won’t stop until there is as much brains and scientific study put to aid peace as to promote war.
One thing no nation can ever accuse us of is secret diplomacy. Our dealings are an open book. Generally a check book.
This post is going to start a new category for me entitled “My Conservative Friend”. It will be about some conversations I have had with some of my conservative friends. It will also be about some of the conversation I have yet to have with them. Yes, even though they deem me a liberal I still have some conservative friends; in fact some of them are very conservative. So the posts in the category will be put all of them into the persona of “My Conservative Friend”. Their real identities will remain anonymous to protect the guilty (ha).
One thing that my conservative friend can go on and on about is “how so many people get away without paying taxes. He often labels those in that category “takers” while he and his friends are the “makers”. He often rants about how almost half the people in the U.S. don’t pay any taxes and more than half of these “freeloaders” receive at least one federal benefits. I’m not sure if he learned this from Rush or Glen or one of his other conservative patriarchs.
One obvious group in his “taker” category are people like me. I am retired and no longer drawing a paycheck. But like most retirees out there I spent forty years in the paycheck world and during that time I contributed thousands of dollars to keep our country operating. I also gave forty years worth of income to the Social Security Fund of which I am now drawing from. But I guess my friend at least according to his statistics still deems me a “freeloader”. My friend is also getting up there in years so I guess he will have to include himself in the freeloader/taker category soon. Does that mean he can no longer be a member of the conservative club? Just wondering.
My friend just loves spouting statistics that seem to support his opinions. Yes 55% of the U.S. population might pay no federal taxes (according to his definition) but here are some statistics that he either does not know or just chooses to ignore.
- The top 1% of the U.S. population controls over 35% of the nations net worth
- The top 20% of the U.S. population controls over 60% of the nations net worth
- The top 50% of the U.S. population controls over 90% of the nations net worth
So given these facts my conservative friend gets so upset because those who have less than 10% of the nations worth don’t pay federal taxes. Of course these people spend everything they have just to survive in today’s country. Is it too much to ask those that control 90 cents of every U.S. dollar to pay more? Those who benefit the most from U.S. prosperity should pay the most. But my conservative friend seems to ignore the fact that everyone who has a paycheck pays social security taxes. Everyone who buys gasoline pays a form of federal taxes. And of course those 50% who only control 10% of the wealth of the country pay the same taxes as their richer neighbors when they go to the grocery store or any other retail establishment. Statistics are nice but try to learn the whole story instead of stopping when you think you can prove your point.
Here is to you my conservative friend. I wish you all the best but I do hope that you will take the blinders off once in a while and try to look at the world as it really is. If you promise to do that I will do the same. Neither one of us have it completely right and whether you want to believe it or not we could actually learn something from each other if we could just stop narrow-minded thinking and just listen for a while. I know those in today’s congress have lost that ability but I pray that you still have it.
But what do I know.