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A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.



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Entries since October 2011

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WIN America Coalition Seeks to Pad Pockets with "Tax Holiday"

October 11, 2011 ·

Businesspeople WinAt a moment in U.S. history when the public and members of Congress are searching for new revenue streams that could be invested in ways that help create jobs in this country, a coalition of firms has launched a campaign for a massive tax holiday on overseas corporate profits. The WIN America campaign was formed earlier this year to aggressively lobby for a second tax holiday on repatriated offshore funds.

Last week WIN America succeeded in getting members of the Senate to introduce a bill that would grant a tax holiday on offshore profits.

In 2004, Congress gave them a tax holiday that allowed 843 companies to reduce their tax rate from 35 percent to 5.25 percent on $312 billion in offshore profits.

What did Americans get in return? Last week, our organization, the progressive Institute for Policy Studies, released a report showing that 58 companies that received 70 percent of the tax windfalls didn't boost employment. In fact, they actually destroyed a total of nearly 600,000 jobs.

WIN America has invested $50 million in lobbying Congress for hundreds of billions of dollars of tax breaks that would flow from a tax holiday. They have hired 42 former congressional staffers who worked for the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee, the two legislative bodies that write the nation’s tax rules. WIN America is made up of 18 publicly traded corporations and 24 trade associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Fifteen of the eighteen corporations leading the charge for a massive tax holiday on offshore funds under the moniker “WIN America” repatriated a total of $55 billion after the 2004 tax holiday. Among WIN America’s supporters, only one, Brocade Communications, has not announced job cuts since then. One additional firm, Devon Energy, had only minimal layoffs related to an office closing.

The supposedly "one-time" tax holiday in 2004 didn't curb these corporations from continuing to squirrel profits away in overseas tax havens. The offshoring of capital has soared at the 18 WIN America corporations. Collectively they had $54 billion in offshore funds following the 2004 repatriation; today they have $205 billion, a whopping 279 percent increase.

Collectively these 18 corporations stand to save an estimated $61 billion if they pay a tax rate of 5.25 percent, rather than the 35 percent they would otherwise owe.

WIN America Coalition Member Companies

WIN America member, ranked by change in global employment

Amount repatriated, 2004-2005 ($millions)

Offshore funds, 2010 ($millions)

Change in global employment, 2004-2010 (from 10-K)

Change in U.S. workforce, 2004-2010

Announced layoffs, 2004-2011







Eastman Kodak






Duke Energy












CA Technologies


















Devon Energy




































Cisco Systems





































Take Action. Tell your member of Congress that you oppose giving these corporations another "Tax Holliday."

The Lineup: Week of Oct. 10-16, 2011

October 10, 2011 ·

In this week's OtherWords editorial package, Sarah Anderson and Chuck Collins explain why Congress shouldn't give a tax break to corporations that hoard profits in overseas tax havens. Get all this and more in your inbox by subscribing to our weekly newsletter. If you haven't signed up yet, please do.


  1. Job Destroyers Don't Deserve a Tax Holiday / Sarah Anderson
  2. How to Achieve Transparency for the Supercommittee / Ellen Miller
  3. Mitt Romney Believes in Corporate America / Randy Borntrager
  4. Military Spending Belongs on the Table / Patricia Morris
  5. Gridlock and Bedlam / Donald Kaul
  6. Big Oil: $135 Million -- School Children: 0 / Jim Hightower
  7. What Have They Done with Ron Paul? / William A. Collins
  8. Dr. National and Mr. Transnational / Khalil Bendib

Dr. National and Mr. Transnational, OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

Ten Years in Afghanistan

October 7, 2011 ·

U.S. Marines patrol through Trek Nawa, Afghanistan. Photo by Marine Corps.In Afghanistan, with 98,000 U.S. troops, almost 50,000 more NATO troops, and 100,000 U.S.-paid contractors still occupying the country, UN figures show unequivocally that violence is up – way up. But the U.S.-led NATO coalition still insists that its claims of reduced violence are absolutely accurate. Despite the economic crisis the U.S. has found the money to train several hundred thousand Afghan men as soldiers and police – but has only funded training for 2000 women as midwives.  Just as it was when the Taliban was in control, UNICEF figures show Afghanistan remains the worst place in the world for a child to be born and hope to survive to her or his fifth birthday – one of every four Afghan babies will die before that time.

So it’s no surprise to hear reports of a protest march in Kabul yesterday, chanting “No to Occupation” and “Americans Out” to commemorate ten years of war, while the U.S.-backed Afghan government and the U.S. forces themselves said nothing to acknowledge the bitter anniversary. 

Here in the U.S., with an economic crisis so dire that real unemployment is close to 15%, and double that in the African-American community, the war in Afghanistan cost more than $122 billion last year. That could have paid for 2.4 million good green middle-class jobs back home. Besides those killed, concern about the thousands of injured soldiers, disgust with the vast corruption of the Kabul government, outrage at the expansion of the war to a massive drone war in Pakistan, Yemen and beyond, has led to growing opposition to what was once deemed the “good war.”  In fact public opposition has spiked to more than 64%, who believe the Afghanistan war is not worth fighting. What a transformation from the first days of the war, when a whopping 88% of people in the U.S. were enthusiastic supporters!

So it’s no surprise that the “Occupy Wall Street” and the vast array of similar Occupy US protests are erupting across the country, just at the moment of the ten years of war in Afghanistan, fighting back against the lack of jobs, the unfair taxes, the bailouts of the banks but not of the people, foreclosures on houses but not on tax-cheat corporations, and so much more. And while the billions wasted on the war in Afghanistan isn’t always on top of the protest signs, ask any Occupy protester whether they think the war is a good use of their tax money – and see how powerful the opposition. For the same reason that the New Priorities Network, linking trade unions, community-based economic justice organizations and peace activists, has come together to call for moving the money – out of the wars and Pentagon budgets, and into jobs and our communities and reparations for the damage we’ve done in Afghanistan and beyond.

The legacy of the U.S. government and the Wall Street corporations that back it is the ten years of violence, death and destruction in Afghanistan and ten years of economic crisis at home in a war that has killed too many Afghans and not made us one whit safer. 

But OUR legacy is in the ten years of anti-war organizing that helped transform public opinion from fear-based massive embrace of the war to an outraged majority opposition. OUR legacy is in the growing links between our movement and the peace campaigners in Afghanistan and around the world demanding an end to occupation and new approaches to protect people’s lives, human rights, women, children and the land of Afghanistan. OUR legacy is in the rising protest movements challenging not only the system of wars and warmongers and war profiteers, but the banks and corporations and billionaires that feed them.  Ten years on, OUR legacy is more powerful than ever.

From Arab Spring to Wisconsin to Wall Street to October 12

October 6, 2011 ·

Today, the occupation of Wall Street spreads to Washington, where it's gaining momentum. These occupations are focusing the nation's attention on confronting the giant corporations that have grabbed too much economic and political power after decades of deregulation, subsidies, tax avoidance, and bailouts. In cities across the country, other occupations are beginning with the message that we must shift from a speculative Wall Street economy to a green Main Street economy and address extreme wealth inequality.

The roots of this new social movement reach deep into the soil of Egypt and Wisconsin, where hundreds of thousands of people made the statement with their bodies that they would be present until governments that were oppressing their basic rights were changed. Occupy Wall Street and Occupy DC are aiming their sights on both a rapacious Wall Street and a corrupt Washington. They are demanding that jobs come before cuts, and that Wall Street, corporations, and the wealthy pay for those jobs.

This week, IPSers Chuck Collins and Sarah Anderson joined courageous lawmakers Bernie Sanders and Barbara Lee to release a new study on tax dodging corporations at the "Take Back the American Dream" conference hosted by our board member, Robert Borosage. Our "America Loses" study exposes 58 "built-to-loot" firms that reaped billions from a 2004 "tax holiday" and then proceeded to slash nearly 600,000 jobs. Many of these corporate giants are now lobbying for another "tax holiday." We urge you to add your voice to those saying no.

And as we say no to Wall Street, we say yes to honoring today's heroes. We invite you to join us Wednesday, October 12 at the National Press Club for the 35th annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights awards reception and ceremony as we pay tribute to the leaders of the progressive Wisconsin struggle and a valiant Mexican group that protects the rights of migrants. Don't miss out on one of DC's must-attend events for progressives. Buy your tickets today.

Please join the youth-led movements on the streets and donate to help the Institute's efforts to do the work that provides the facts, figures, and analysis that will help these movements win.

Sign up to receive the Institute's Unconventional Wisdom newsletter every Thursday.

Troubled Soldiers and Harmful Projects: Ten Years in Afghanistan

October 6, 2011 ·

At FPIF, Shukria Dellawar and Antonia Juhasz describe the quiet privatization of massive amounts of resources in Afghanistan:

Afghanistan’s known hydrocarbons are primarily located in the North. Its approximately 1.6 billion barrels of crude oil and 15.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas are minor in comparison to the resources of its neighbors (Iraq’s oil reserves are estimated at 115 billion barrels), but are comparable to those in nations such as Chad and Equatorial Guinea —and may be considerably larger, as there has been no significant exploration in decades.

Unknown to most Afghans, in January 2009 the government implemented a new Hydrocarbon Law that transforms its oil and natural gas sectors from fully state-owned to all but fully privatized. In April 2011, the Afghanistan Ministry of Mines launched the first of what it expects to be “several tenders for Afghanistan’s oil and gas resources over the next few years.”

If there is anything that Afghans never had a choice following their country's role as immediate 9/11 scapegoat, was that corporate involvement from the West would follow the armies of the Operation Enduring Freedom.

It is unlikely that Pentagon strategists sending U.S. troops half a world away are spending much time thinking about their attitudes, but they reveal a military that is confused about whether Iraq and Afghanistan merited all their investment and sacrifice. From the latest Pew numbers

Among all adults in the new Pew survey, 41% say that, considering the costs versus the benefits to the United States, the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, while 52% say it has not. Of the war in Iraq, 36% of Americans say it has been worth it and 57% say it has not. Fewer than three-in-ten Americans, 28%, say both wars have been worth fighting; 45% say neither has been worth it.

As noted, half of post-9/11 veterans (50%) say the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting; 42% say it has not. And 50% of that group says Iraq has not been worth it, compared with 44% who view it positively. About as many post-9/11 veterans say neither war has been worth fighting (33%) as view both as being worthwhile (34%).

At IPS, we are strongly on the side of decreases on military spending, internationalism based on international law and the United Nations, and local investment that gives our local communities the support they need.

Join us today at the event War Voices: Ten Years of War in Afghanistan. After 10 Years of War in Afghanistan join people building community after a decade of struggle at home and abroad. St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, 6:30-9:30pm.

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