Sun 15 Feb 2009
Sun 18 Jan 2009
A majority of America’s largest publicly traded companies and the U.S. government’s largest federal contractors — including some receiving millions in federal bailout money — use multiple subsidiaries in offshore tax havens to conduct business and avoid paying U.S. taxes, a new report finds.
The new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, released today by Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), lists Citigroup and Morgan Stanley as having set up hundreds of tax haven subsidiaries, along with American International Group and Bank of America. Also in the tax-haven list are well-known companies and such federal contractors as American Express, Pepsi and Caterpillar.
GAO, searching publicly available data filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, determined that 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded corporations and 63 of the 100 largest federal contractors maintain subsidiaries in countries generally considered havens for avoiding taxes. Dorgan and Levin said they requested the updated report from one several years ago because they are focused on combating offshore tax abuses, which they estimated cause $100 billion in lost U.S. tax revenue each year.
GAO auditors did not review the companies’ transactions to independently verify that the subsidiaries helped the companies reduce their tax burden. The GAO said only that the companies had subsidiaries located in jurisdictions considered tax havens and that historically the purpose of those subsidiaries is to cut tax costs.
The practice is legal, but Dorgan and Levin are hoping to gain the support of President-elect Barack Obama for legislation that would outlaw it.
To illustrate the problem, Levin said the report found that Citigroup has set up 427 tax haven subsidiaries to conduct its business, including 91 in Luxembourg, 90 in the Cayman Islands and 35 in the British Virgin Islands. He said other havens include Switzerland, Hong Kong, Panama and Mauritius.
Thu 4 Dec 2008
Spencer Elden, the baby from the cover of Nirvana‘s “Nevermind,” recently became an intern for Obey Giant, the company created by Shepard Faiery, the artist responsible for those cool Obama graphics.
MTV News had a write-up about Mr. Elden:
Now, 17-year-old Elden is a high school student, who told MTV News last year that “it’s kind of creepy [to think] that that many people have seen me naked – I feel like I’m the world’s biggest porn star.”
Speaking of Shepard Faiery & Obey Giant, there’s an art exhibit of his work in Washington D.C. that’s ending soon.
You can also get a free Shepard Faiery sticker from MoveOn.
UPDATE: Nerve.com recently posted an article entitled “The 40 Greatest Lost Icons in Pop Culture History,” featuring Spencer Elden, and various other individuals that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Tue 1 Jul 2008
It appears that STARBUCKS will be shutting down 600 stores in the USA. So now, instead of a STARBUCKS on every single block of every major city, maybe it’ll be every other block?
Sat 22 Sep 2007
President Bush, on his handling of the U.S. economy:
“You need to talk to economists [about a possible recession]. I think I got a B in Econ 101. I got an A, however, in keeping taxes low, and being fiscally responsible with the people’s money.”
CHICAGO, Sept. 21 — The money spent on one day of the Iraq war could buy homes for almost 6,500 families or health care for 423,529 children, or could outfit 1.27 million homes with renewable electricity, according to the American Friends Service Committee, which displayed those statistics on large banners in cities nationwide Thursday and Friday.
The war is costing $720 million a day or $500,000 a minute, according to the group’s analysis of the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance lecturer Linda J. Bilmes.
The estimates made by the group, which opposes the conflict, include not only the immediate costs of war but also ongoing factors such as long-term health care for veterans, interest on debt and replacement of military hardware.
“The wounded are coming home, and many of them have severe brain and spinal injuries, which will require round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives,” said Michael McConnell, Great Lakes regional director of the AFSC, a peace group affiliated with the Quaker church.
The $720 million figure breaks down into $280 million a day from Iraq war supplementary funding bills passed by Congress, plus $440 million daily in incurred, but unpaid, long-term costs.
The Iraq War, according to current Republican policy, is essentially a permanent war. With no exit plan, no clear mission, and no clear and attainable objective for our presence in that nation, the war will continue to drain billions from the U.S. economy annually. But what else to expect from the Republican party. Trillions are pocket change when you’re dead set on pursing the ultimate and unattainable goal of validating the policy of pre-emption. And the thousands of dead and tens of thousands of wounded? As the Republican Minority Leader plainly stated, those are just a “small price.”
The cost of war? There is no “cost” large enough or irrational enough or horrific enough, in trillions and in lives, that will force these morally bankrupt Republicans to bring the troops home.