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Entries tagged "fiscal cliff"
December 10, 2012 · By Sarah Anderson and Scott Klinger
In poll after poll, the American people say they are far more concerned about the jobs crisis than the “debt crisis.” A powerful coalition of CEOs says they have an answer for both problems.
Give us more tax breaks, they say, and we’ll use the money to invest and create jobs. The national economic pie will expand and Uncle Sam will get plenty of the frothy meringue without having to raise tax rates.
That’s the line of the Fix the Debt campaign. Led by more than 90 CEOs, this turbo-charged PR/lobbying machine is blasting the message that such “pro-growth tax reform” should be a pillar of any deficit deal (along with cuts to benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare).
And it might be a good line — if not for some pesky real-world facts. You see the same corporations peddling this line have already been paying next to nothing in taxes. And instead of creating jobs, they’ve been destroying them. Here are five examples of job-cutting, tax-dodging CEOs who are leading Fix the Debt.
1. Randall Stephenson, AT&T
U.S. jobs destroyed since 2007: 54,000
Average effective federal corporate income tax rate, 2009-2011: 6.3%
Randall Stephenson presides over the biggest job destroyer among the Fix the Debt corporate supporters, having eliminated 54,000 jobs since 2007. The company also has one of the largest deficits in its worker pension fund — a gaping hole of $10 billion.
Can Stephenson blame all this belt-tightening on the Tax Man? Not exactly. Over the last three years, AT&T’s tax bills have been miniscule. According to the firm’s own financial reports, they’ve paid Uncle Sam only 6.3 percent on more than $43 billion in profits. If the telecom giant had paid the standard 35 percent corporate tax rate over the last three years, the federal deficit would be $12.5 billion lower.
So where have AT&T’s profits gone? A huge chunk has landed in Stephenson’s own pension fund. His $47 million AT&T retirement account is the third-largest among Fix the Debt CEOs. If converted to an annuity when he hits age 65, it would net him a retirement check of more than a quarter million dollars every month for the rest of his life.
While his economic future is more than secure, Stephenson emerged from a meeting with President Obama on November 28 “optimistic” about the chances of reforming (i.e., cutting) Social Security as part of a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
2. Lowell McAdam, Verizon
U.S. jobs destroyed since 2007: 30,000
Average effective federal corporate income tax rate, 2009-2011: -3.3%
Another telecommunications giant, Verizon, is close behind AT&T in the layoff leader race, with 30,000 job cuts since 2007. Like its industry peer AT&T, Verizon also has a big deficit in its pension accounts. It would need to cough up $6 billion to meet its promised pension benefits to employees and another $24 billion to meet promised post-retirement health care benefits.
Did the blood-sucking IRS leave Verizon no choice but to slash jobs and underfund worker pensions? Far from it. The company actually got money back from Uncle Sam, despite reporting $34 billion in U.S. profits over the last three years. If Verizon had paid the full corporate tax rate of 35 percent, last year’s national deficit would have been $13.1 billion less. Had that amount been used for public education, it could have covered the cost of employing more than 190,000 elementary teachers for a year.
Verizon’s new CEO, Lowell McAdam, already has $8.7 million in Verizon pension assets, enough to set him up for a $47,834 monthly retirement check. McAdam’s predecessor, Ivan Seidenberg, who has also signed up as a Fix the Debt supporter, retired with more than $70 million in his Verizon retirement package.
Wanna see who is rounding up the worst five? Read the rest at Alternet.
December 5, 2012 · By Emily Schwartz Greco
This week, OtherWords unpacks the fiscal challenges furrowing the brows of our lawmakers and just about every Obama administration official. Columnist Sam Pizzigati highlights the way billionaire Peter Peterson bankrolled the misleading portrayal of Social Security cuts as the only way to balance the budget. The Green Party's Jill Stein points out that the biggest problem we're facing is the "climate cliff" and that any "grand bargain" should do something to stop global warming. I explain that at least $881 billion in creative revenue-raisers and spending cuts belong on the table. If you'd like to check out this deficit-reduction proposal, please download the new report that the Institute for Policy Studies is releasing today.
Be sure to visit our blog, where I recently posted more highlights from the avalanche of fan mail that followed Donald Kaul's heart attack. We're also running bonus pieces from Jim Hightower there — such as his recent take on Texan secessionists. And, consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter if you haven't signed up yet.
- Mother Nature Belongs at the Bargaining Table / Jill Stein
Throwing the nation over the climate cliff will make our current fiscal challenges look like a minor bump in the road.
- Snake-Oil Deficit Savings / Ryan Alexander
Like things you spot in your side-view mirror, many of the budget numbers flitting around the debt talks are larger than they appear.
- The Fiscal Hoax / Peter Hart
Don't believe the cliff hype.
- For Pete's Sake, What's Happened to Our Democracy? / Sam Pizzigati
One billionaire has the wherewithal to totally redirect America's political discourse.
- Dodging the Fiscal Swindle / Emily Schwartz Greco
With a little creativity, we can easily balance the budget without cutting Social Security.
- Solving the Twinkie Murder Case / Jim Hightower
Equity hucksters plundered the company to feather their own nests.
- The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind / William A. Collins
Do we all have to drown in rising seas or broil in epic droughts before we decide it's time to switch to renewable energy?
- Highway Robbery / Khalil Bendib (Cartoon)
November 21, 2012 · By Emily Schwartz Greco
This week, OtherWords is running two "fiscal cliff" commentaries. Guest columnist Mattea Kramer makes the case for deep, yet targeted military spending cuts while Marian Wright Edelman calls for restraint when it comes to scaling back programs that serve children. We will continue to feature under-debated angles of the growing conversation about how to balance the nation's budget and avoid what could prove a "fiscal swindle."
Scroll down to see all our offerings. I encourage you to visit the OtherWords blog, where we are running a special Thanksgiving post from Jim Hightower. And please subscribe to our weekly newsletter if you haven't signed up yet.
- Name that Foreign Policy Legacy / John Feffer
Under Obama's leadership, Washington is finally coming to terms with the world's multipolarity.
- Will the Supreme Court Dismantle the Voting Rights Act? / Raul A. Reyes
Widespread efforts to suppress voting by people of color and the poor through a rash of voter ID laws make it clear that we still need the landmark 1965 legislation today.
- Don't Cut Our Kids Out of the Budget / Marian Wright Edelman
America's security and prosperity depend on our children's ability to drive the economy of the future.
- The Classy Election of 2012 / Steve Cobble
Big ideas can change voting patterns.
- Another Side of Inequality / Sam Pizzigati
A vast gulf between the rich and the rest of us is incompatible with democracy.
- The Real Problem with Military Spending / Mattea Kramer
The Pentagon's budget has plenty of fat, but cuts need to be targeted.
- Bosses Gone Berserk / Jim Hightower
Papa John's and other employers are punishing their workers for Obama's win.
- Our Endless State of War / William A. Collins
As long as it's fought by other people on someone else's soil, Americans can live with perpetual conflict.
- Voting Rights Appeal / Khalil Bendib Cartoon
November 7, 2012 · By Karen Dolan
It was the nail-biter that wasn't
...not even close.
By just after 11,
the GOP gave up the ghost.
Turns out voters are smart —
they knew just what to do.
They knew who was for many
and who was for few.
The tea party is over,
the real work is at hand.
And we all gotta push
whoever's in command.
You can get high,
you can marry your mate,
you can get an education,
we can overcome hate.
But the job's just beginning
to transform how we live.
What we do to the planet,
what we take, what we give.
Don't make a grand bargain,
that slashes and burns
a safety net that we need,
so our kids eat, thrive and learn.
Tax Wall Street, cut waste,
end wars, tax the rich.
Turn green with great haste,
Frankenstorms are a bitch.
The people have spoken,
we've chosen our path.
Now get to work Mr. President,
look at the math.
America's not broke,
the resources are there.
We've gotta be bold,
and create for all a fair share.
Among other things, Karen Dolan is the Institute for Policy Studies' deadline poet. IPS-dc.org