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Paul Buchheit
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Monday 2 July 2012
Corporations paid $181 billion in federal taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state taxes (2%), for a total tax burden of 11%.

Some Outrageous Facts about Inequality

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Studying inequality in America reveals some facts that are truly hard to believe. Amidst all the absurdity a few stand out.

1. U.S. companies in total pay a smaller percentage of taxes than the lowest-income 20% of Americans.

Total corporate profits for 2011 were $1.97 trillion. Corporations paid $181 billion in federal taxes (9%) and $40 billion in state taxes (2%), for a total tax burden of 11%. The poorest 20% of American citizens pay 17.4% in federal, state, and local taxes.

2. The high-profit, tax-avoiding tech industry was built on publicly-funded research.

The technology sector has been more dependent on government research and development than any other industry. The U.S. government provided about half of the funding for basic research in technology and communications well into the 1980s. Even today, federal grants support about 60 percent of research performed at universities.

IBM was founded in 1911, Hewlett-Packard in 1947, Intel in 1968, Microsoft in 1975, Apple and Oracle in 1977, Cisco in 1984. All relied on government and military innovations. The more recently incorporated Google, which started in 1996, grew out of the Defense Department's ARPANET system and the National Science Foundation's Digital Library Initiative.

The combined 2011 federal tax payment for the eight companies was just 10.6%.

3. The sales tax on a quadrillion dollars of financial sales is ZERO.

The Bank for International Settlements reported in 2008 that total annual derivatives trades were $1.14 quadrillion. The same year, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of $1.2 quadrillion.

A quadrillion dollars is the entire world economy, 12 times over. It's enough to give 3 million dollars to every person in the United States. But in a sense it's not real money. Most of it is high-volume nanosecond computer trading, the type that almost crashed our economy. So it's a good candidate for a tiny sales tax. But there is no sales tax.

Go out and buy shoes or an iPhone and you pay up to a 10% sales tax. But walk over to Wall Street and buy a million dollar high-risk credit default swap and pay 0%.

4. Many Americans get just a penny on the dollar.

-- For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.

-- For every dollar the richest .1% earned in 1980, they've added three more dollars. The poorest 90% have added one cent.

-- For every dollar of financial securities (e.g., bonds) in the U.S., the bottom 90% of Americans have a penny and a half's worth.

-- For every dollar of 2008-2010 profits from Boeing, DuPont, Wells Fargo, Verizon, General Electric, and Dow Chemicals, the American public got a penny in taxes.

5. Our society allows one man or one family to possess enough money to feed EVERY hungry person on earth.

The United Nations estimates that $30 billion is needed to eradicate hunger. Several individuals have more than this amount in personal wealth.

There are 925 million people in the world with insufficient food. According to the World Food Program, it takes about $100 a year to feed a human being. That's $92 billion, about equal to the fortune of the six Wal-Mart heirs.

One Final Outrage...

In 2007 a hedge fund manager (John Paulson) conspired with a financial company (Goldman Sachs) to create packages of risky subprime mortgages, so that in anticipation of a housing crash he could use other people's money to bet against his personally designed sure-to-fail financial instruments. His successful gamble paid him $3.7 billion. Three years later he made another $5 billion, which in the real world would have been enough to pay the salaries of 100,000 health care workers.

As an added insult to middle-class taxpayers, the tax rate on most of Paulson's income was just 15%. As a double insult, he may have paid no tax at all, since hedge fund profits can be deferred indefinitely. As a triple insult, some of his payoff came from the middle-class taxpayers themselves, who bailed out the company (AIG) that had to pay off his bets.

And the people we elect to protect our interests are unable or unwilling to do anything about it.



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ABOUT Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher with formal training in language development and cognitive science. He is the founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, RappingHistory.org, PayUpNow.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.

Can someone explain to me why

Can someone explain to me why what Paulson did is not illegal. If you take out insurance on your house, then deliberately burn it to the ground, if you are caught you are sent to prison. If you deliberately make up a flawed financial instrument, sell it, then bet against, you are a genius and nothing is done.

This is about as clear and

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral,
neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel,
has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis
must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day.
It's a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000 People
-By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ...

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish;
to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators,
to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.
Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like
"the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from
doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees...

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

From its very conception

From its very conception American socio-political model contained the most flagrant contradiction between acceptance of unlimited disparity in distribution of wealth and power and declaration of the inalienable and equal rights of every man to live, to be free, and to pursue happiness.
The key Founders were among the richest men of colonies and became even richer after the War of Independence (due to speculations in land and securities). For example, at death George Washington’s estate was worth $530,000 – this is when the entire yearly federal budget of the USA was about $4,000,000. It would be like President Bush Jr. leaving $400 billion fortune after his death. Washington was able to pledge at the Continental Congress in 1775 to “raise one thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march myself at their head for the relief of Boston." His wealth was equal to the combined wealth of about 5.800 white small farmers who qualified for voting rights. His power over his 277 slaves was absolute.
Since then disparity in distribution of wealth in America has grown roughly 100 times to about 1:500.000 ratio (if we compare fortunes of Bill Gates and net worth of a working American family).
Unfortunately, all developing countries after liberation from totalitarian, authoritarian and feudal regimes tend to emulate American model of unlimited inequality and at the same time try to build democratic societies. They mistakenly attribute American economic success to the unlimited wealth disparity. In fact, there can never be true democracy in a society of unlimited inequality, because such inequality and injustice can be maintained only by deception and coercion. From its very creation American “republic” was ruled by the slaveholding and mercantile oligarchs. Consider how smoothly power had been transferred from Washington to his vice president, John Adams, then to his secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, then to Jefferson’s intimate friend and secretary of state, James Madison, then to James Monroe, their friend and junior partner, then to John Adams’ son Quincy, who was “almost like a son” to Jefferson, then to Jackson, secretary of war in Monroe's cabinet. The situation hasn’t changed much since then, except for the composition of oligarchy.
Thanks to the ingenious Madison’s Constitution the oligarchy can rule unhindered by “stupid and ignorant multitudes;” and thanks to ingenious rhetoric of Jefferson it can claim popular mandate. More regretfully, thanks to both of them Americans are convinced that they enjoy the best democracy in the world because their country is ruled “by the people and for the people.”
As a naturalized American I came to this understanding through doubts and pains, and would appreciate your comments, DmitryMikheyev@gmail.com

There's not enough time for a

There's not enough time for a course in economics on this thread, so I'll just comment on #1 & #2.
1. If I were king, there would be no corporate tax beyond royalties for oil and mining leases, and such. If corporations didn't have to pay taxes, they wouldn't be tempted to hide their profits offshore. They would have more profits to pay their employees, who would have more income to save for retirement and pay for healthcare. The government already helps the people at the bottom of the heap by banking their Medicare and Social Security contributions. Without corporate taxes siphoning off money, there would be more money to pay workers and for the workers to bank. The government (i.e., the Congress) is the thief here, both collectively and individually, and the voters who let the thieves get away with it are the fools, from whose money they are soon parted.

2. Yes, high-tech companies make a lot of money off government-sponsored research. Then, they pay their employees well, and the employees pay back the government via their income taxes, and buyers of the overpriced gadgets pay through the nose in state sales taxes, except in Oregon, which has no sales tax. Consumers are fools, from whose money they are soon parted.

yes anono the tapeworm [govt]

yes anono the tapeworm [govt] is cause of vast majority of hunger because hunger allows govt to control that is why bho buddy berwick said a condition on recieving health care is who you are

Interesting article when one

Interesting article when one compares the information with the first articulation of the American Dream by historian James Trusslow Adams
in his book The Epic of America during the Great Depression. The time period was perhaps representative of his anti-capitalistic definition of the term, which he states as follows:
“…[The American Dream is] that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement…It is not the dream of motor cars
and high wages merely, but a dream of a social order in which each man
and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they
are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
Your article is a reminder of how far we are from the attainment of the American Dream.

I wrote this essay over two

I wrote this essay over two years ago, and people ignored it. If you want to see the original, and other posts including A White Guy's Primer on Racism in America, please go to my blog: liberaltruths.blogspot.com
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2010
Now. the Financial Mess
Friday, February 26, 2010
Now, the Financial Mess
Between 1998 and 2000, the laws regulating banks and bank investments wtitten afetr the Great Depression were stripped of all their regulatory power. From that monet on, Credit Default Swap bonds became the whole in the fabric of our economic life.

To understand them best, go to Time Magaxine for March 2008 in an article by Janet Mirrissey. You can also get CDSB defintion from the net, but the explanation is difficult to understand.

To undwestand thm best, look at y0ur newspaper for today. Take a look at the foreclosure listings. Call the banks involved and find out the net left on the mortgages. Take that number and mukltipkly by 30 or 40, and y0u will get th money that will be paid out to a CDSW holder. All the "bonuses" mentioned in the press are CDSB payments--not bonuses. In his first Press Conference, President Obabma mentioned in an answer to a wuestion from MSNBC's political reproter--"..You know that the boinds that pay 30 to one caused this pronbekms." That may not ne exact, but thepoint he made was that CDSB took trillions of dollars out of 0ur economy. Morrissey, in her Time article suggests the amount might be over 45 Trillion dollars--Now, experts are predicting that the amount will be closer to 75 Trllion. The bond holders and hedge fundas who now own that amount of money have more money than any group of any indivicuals aand organizations in theistory of the world.

Also, a retired lawyer who spent his whole career bewteen New York and Europe designing tax loop holes for officers, board, and the corporation itself for a major internationl American bank. He confirmned this theory. As he put it, "we got away with murder!" Clinton needed mortages for the poor--no one told him that it would cost our economy over 50 trillion dollars! Senator Gramm and his ilk got to increase these mortages by 50%, creating the largest mortgage failure in our history.

"Yield Spread Premiums"(Check on Google) were paid to loan origanorts of betaween $2,000 and $15,000 based on the fact that a $ 100,000 mortages written in 2002, would produce $ 3,000,00 if the CDSB was 30 to one, or
$ 4,000,000. Think about it? YSPs made mini fortunes for everyone involved.

If we want to stop this crisis, the federal governemtn must Claw Back these YSPs and ALL CDSB payments. Then, over 50 Trillion dollars would be retuerned to the people of the United States.
Posted by Lionspen at 10:54 AM

Probably a major reason it

Probably a major reason it was ignored is because you cannot type. I didn't read the whole thing because it was too hard to decipher.

I see your points, but not

I see your points, but not all businesses are tax avoiding sharks. I own a manufacturing compamy that pays its employees well (including bonus if we make money). Covers them with life/health insurance and holiday & vacation pay. I personally grew up on the south side of Chicago and my family was not wealthy (lower middle income). I got a scholarship to go to college, and we had nothing when I got married. I worked from the time I was 10 years old and still work today (60+ hrs wk).

My business has converted over 1.5 billion pounds of plastic garbage into a lumber alternative (saving over 150,000 acres of forest in the process). We have a 0++++ carbon foot print. So we are not a polluting capatalist either, but I have made some money in the process. We support many charities (including food programs), because of our ability to do so.. My children have also worked since they were young teenagers, and they all work for my business today, so they are not silver spooners either.

I am saying this to qualify my next statement. People who are incapable of helping themselfs should be helped, but many (capable people) who have the ability to work just expect someone to help them, or that government should provide for them.. This is not only WRONG, but it uses the money provided for such programs to be wasted. It is selfish!

If my tax dollars are going to feed the hungry, (by the way we have a combined corporate tax rate of over 40% and a personal tax rate that is almost as high), they need to be truly in need.

If the government is going to give out housing, EBT cards and other welfare items, then it is proper to ask those recieving them to work for those benefits (if able to do so). Even if the work is only cleaning the streets in their neighborhoods.

The people that really need the help will be there ready to work.
The one's that will not work are proving my point.

Lets start by geting rid of hunger in the USA, and eliminate those that are just in it for the freebees. Then we can fix the worlds problems with the money left over after the waste in our programs is eliminated.

I see your points, but not

I see your points, but not all businesses are tax avoiding sharks. I own a manufacturing compamy that pays its employees well (including bonus if we make money). Covers them with life/health insurance and holiday & vacation pay. I personally grew up on the south side of Chicago and my family was not wealthy (lower middle income). I got a scholarship to go to college, and we had nothing when I got married. I worked from the time I was 10 years old and still work today (60+ hrs wk).

My business has converted over 1.5 billion pounds of plastic garbage into a lumber alternative (saving over 150,000 acres of forest in the process). We have a 0++++ carbon foot print. So we are not a polluting capatalist either, but I have made some money in the process. We support many charities (including food programs), because of our ability to do so.. My children have also worked since they were young teenagers, and they all work for my business today, so they are not silver spooners either.

I am saying this to qualify my next statement. People who are incapable of helping themselfs should be helped, but many (capable people) who have the ability to work just expect someone to help them, or that government should provide for them.. This is not only WRONG, but it uses the money provided for such programs to be wasted. It is selfish!

If my tax dollars are going to feed the hungry, (by the way we have a combined corporate tax rate of over 40% and a personal tax rate that is almost as high), they need to be truly in need.

If the government is going to give out housing, EBT cards and other welfare items, then it is proper to ask those recieving them to work for those benefits (if able to do so). Even if the work is only cleaning the streets in their neighborhoods.

The people that really need the help will be there ready to work.
The one's that will not work are proving my point.

Lets start by geting rid of hunger in the USA, and eliminate those that are just in it for the freebees. Then we can fix the worlds problems with the money left over after the waste in our programs is eliminated.

Billionaires and filthy rich

Billionaires and filthy rich corporations know

LIE BIG, LIE OFTEN!!

Another vivid example of what

Another vivid example of what is wrong in our capitalistic-corporate dominated system, and how inequality is worldwide and ecologically unsustainable. When are we, the people, going to wake up and demand that government and all our systems of technology work FOR PEOPLE instead of against them?

Trish House's picture

So, new rule, the basic

So, new rule, the basic social safety net of society mandates that every individual is entitled to a share of the land and resources they need to be self sustaining. This must be our birthright, part of the commonwealth of the people and it must be unassailable. Without that we are merely a slave population dependent on the jobs and wages created by the whims of the ruling class of corporations, the military industrial complex and the government that they run. If we truly want a country by and for the people we must give the people a steady platform from which to create their lives and their economy, and that means control of their land, homes and food supply. People in dread of losing a job and becoming homeless & hungry will agree to desperate & violent things - stable, free people will not. Focus on land reform for individual rights first, fix the rest later.

Somebody please explain the

Somebody please explain the quote below to me, and how I can accomplish this.

"According to the World Food Program, it takes about $100 a year to feed a human being."

Trish House's picture

People working collectively

People working collectively can do incredible things. The Greeks are figuring this out fast. If we all get together locally and create shared organic gardens and food supplies we will be healthier and more secure and happier. If this economy crashes, as it well might, it will take only a week of serious food shortages for the population to become really desperate. A parent with a child that hasn't eaten in 3 days or a week is liable to do some things that we don't even want to think about. So if we want to maintain some social harmony no matter what happens get together with your neighbors and figure out how to feed yourselves locally.

Go live in a poor country in

Go live in a poor country in Africa. Eat what the locals eat.

Start the government working!

Start the government working! Create jobs. Eliminate Federal and state deficits.
People make the government work. Hiring workers increases the job base. More people increase the tax base. More money in the system increases the purchasing power of the average person.
http://signon.org/sign/reducing-government-size

Author note: Fact #5 should

Author note: Fact #5 should have stated that "The United Nations estimates that $30 billion A YEAR is needed to eradicate hunger." -PB

The tapeworm with all the

The tapeworm with all the money gets to play god. Global omnipotence is the name of the game. Choosing who eats, who starves, who lives, who dies, who slaves, who lives free. Who could resist having that power? Especially now that it is in grasp.

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