- TPP: The Dirtiest Trade Deal You've Never Heard Of
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could cost us our internet freedom, labor rights, access to affordable medicine, the safety of our food, and protections that keep our water and air clean.
- Paradise Stolen - The Myth of Efficiency
Answering some of the arguments against the idea that small sustainable communities are impractical.
- Moyers and Company - The Face of America's Hungry
Here in the richest country on earth, 50 million of us — one in six Americans — go hungry. More than a third of them are children. Debates on how to address hunger – in both Congress and the media — are filled with tired clichés about freeloaders undeserving of government help, living large at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers. But the documentary A Place at the Table paints a truer picture of America’s poor.
- International Bankers Collapse Argentina's Economy in 2001
This documentary reveals exactly what the international bankers did to Argentina in 2001, exactly what they are doing to us right now! If you want to see what we are in for WATCH THIS FILM!
- Walmart - The High Cost of Low Prices
This documentary reveals exactly what the low prices of Walmart iscostingnotonlyAmerica, but the entire world? To save a few bucks in the short term, we have allowed our economy and industry to be sold out to the lowest bidder, destroying practically our entire manufacturing base.
- The Age of Walmart
This documentary goes inside Walmart, the world's most powerful company. It can be argued that no companyexemplifiesthewholesaleoff shoring of our economy than Walmart. This retail empire has forced a great many U.S. companies to go out of the country for cheap labor because they simply could not survive against a retailer like Walmart unless they did so.
- Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
If you really want to know howtheglobalelitecontrol the world, this interview will really open your eyes. John Perkins was a major player in the system that the global elite have set up to strap the entire planet in massive debt which can never be repaid, by corrupting a relatively small handful of key people in countries around the world.
- War By Other Means
John Pilger and David Munro examine the policy of First Worldbanksagreeing loans with Third World countries, who are then unable to meet the cripling interest charges.
The wealthy have tucked billions into private nonprofits... where the IRS can’t touch it.
by Tyler Durden
Congress is still scrambling to find ways to pay for its tax cut, so perhaps it should pay closer attention to last month’s news that George Soros had transferred $18 billion of his fortune to a private charity that he controls. There it will be sheltered from the Internal Revenue Service forever. This may be the single biggest tax dodge in U.S. history, yet no one on the right or left seems to have raised an eyebrow.
True tax reform is predicated on the principle that all income should be taxed at a low rate once, and only once. But much of the wealth that Mr. Soros spent years moving into his Open Society Foundations will never be taxed. A gift of billions of dollars of appreciated stock escapes any capital gains tax, and the estate tax as well. So Mr. Soros can donate appreciated stock that Open Society Foundations can liquidate without the government ever taking a cut.
There’s more. When a person donates untaxed, appreciated assets to a private foundation, he may also deduct up to 20% of its market value on his personal return, carrying forward this deduction for five years. This double write-off may be the sweetest deal in the tax code.
The donors also can retain control of the money within the private foundation for years or even decades before it is disbursed. Since the foundation can employ family members at six-figure salaries for life to “administer” it, the umbilical cord to the donor never has to be cut.
Congress should stop ignoring this tax-avoidance scheme. The super rich have already poured hundreds of billions into private foundations, but the figure could soon be in the trillions. Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99% of his Facebook shares, currently estimated to be worth somewhere around $70 billion, and much of it will go to a foundation his family controls. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have each put roughly $30 billion tax-free into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This has left the foundation so flush that it spent $500 million on a 12-acre, 900,000-square-foot office complex in Seattle for its 1,500 employees. This is philanthropy?
I don’t question these billionaires’ right to do with their money as they wish. I’m simply arguing that Congress shouldn’t let the rich and politically powerful use private foundations to escape taxation. This loophole is one reason for an anomaly in our otherwise progressive tax code: The top 1% of earners pay an effective tax rate of 23%, but the top 0.001% pay only 18%.
Mr. Buffett has sanctimoniously denounced the fact that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. His suggestion is that Congress raise taxes on capital gains. But even if the tax rates were lifted, say, to 50%, Mr. Buffett still wouldn’t have to pay it on the tens of billions of dollars he puts into private foundations, and he would still be able to deduct a fifth of that contribution on future tax returns.
This tax favoritism might be defensible to promote genuine philanthropic activities.
Many billionaires, such as the Gateses and David Koch, have heroically donated to fight cancer and malaria or provide relief to hurricane and earthquake victims.
But others, including Mr. Soros and Michael Bloomberg, have turned private foundations into massive de facto lobbying operations for bigger government and liberal causes like higher minimum wages, gun control, universal health care, and a carbon tax. Mr. Soros’s $18 billion gift alone is the equivalent of maybe 100 Heritage Foundations. This kind of weaponized philanthropy has the potential to undermine the American free enterprise system.
Yes, billions go to groups on the right, too, from Mr. Koch and others. But regardless of ideology, why shouldn’t tax be collected before the money is given away? What message does it send that the Republican tax-reform bills retain this trillion-dollar loophole for the super rich, at the same time as the House plan eliminates the adoption credit for middle-class families who want to help children?
One simple solution would be for Congress to apply the capital-gains tax to assets of more than $1 million before they are transferred to a charity. This could even finance cutting the capital-gains rate to 15% for everyone.
Alternatively (or perhaps in addition) Congress could cap deductions for any given household to $250,000 a year. Under this kind of plan, Mr. Soros would be able to write off only a tiny fraction of his multi-billion dollar gift.
This isn’t an argument against charity. But selfless and effective giving is not motivated by tax breaks. Two-thirds of Americans don’t itemize their deductions, yet millions give until it hurts. In the 1980s, individual donations to charities surged, even as the top tax rate—and thus the maximum value of the write-off—fell from 70% to 28%.
The question is whether a tax code that encourages dynastic family foundations is good for America. If Congress stopped letting billionaires pour money tax free into the foundation-industrial complex, it would go a long way toward lowering rates and making the tax code fairer for everyone. This would help the economy grow faster, which is the best way to help those in need.
This award-winning film examines the US-China trade relationship. The companion Crouching Tiger ten episode documentary on YouTube is based on the best-selling book Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism means for the world. Watch Episode One of Crouching Tiger: https://goo.gl/RboRPx . View the Crouching Tiger Book on Amazon: https://goo.gl/1yYPex
It’s mostly not about trade. Only 5 of the 29 chapters are about traditional trade.
– Julian Assange in a recent interview with Democracy Now
I’ve focused a little bit more of my attention on the Trans-Pacific Partnership lately, as the Obama Administration scrambles to attain “fast-track” authority from Congress.
The content of this unbelievably dangerous gift to multi-national corporations is being kept secret from the public, and for very good reason.
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For some background on the TPP and where it stands, see:
As the Senate Prepares to Vote on “Fast Track,” Here’s a Quick Primer on the Dangers of the TPP
What little we know about the TPP has come from whistleblower site, Wikileaks. This is what Julian Assange thinks of this “trade” treaty in his own words.
It took just a few days after the stunning defeat of Obama’s attempt to fast-track the Trans Pacific Partnership bill in the Senate at the hands of his own Democratic party, before everything returned back to normal and the TPP fast-track was promptly passed. Why? The simple answer: money. Or rather, even more money.
Because while the actual contents of the TPP may be highly confidential, and their public dissemination may lead to prison time for the “perpetrator” of such illegal transparency, we now know just how much it cost corporations to bribe the Senate to do the bidding of the “people.” In the Supreme Court sense, of course, in which corporations are “people."
According to an analysis by the Guardian, fast-tracking the TPP, meaning its passage through Congress without having its contents available for debate or amendments, was only possible after lots of corporate money exchanged hands with senators. The US Senate passed Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – the fast-tracking bill – by a 65-33 margin on 14 May. Last Thursday, the Senate voted 62-38 to bring the debate on TPAto a close.
Those impressive majorities follow months of behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing by the world’s most well-heeled multinational corporations with just a handful of holdouts.
Using data from the Federal Election Commission, the chart below (based on data from the following spreadsheet) shows all donations that corporate members of the US Business Coalition for TPP made to US Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate.
The result: it took a paltry $1.15 million in bribes to get everyone in the Senate on the same page. And the biggest shocker: with a total of $195,550 in “donations”, or more than double the second largest donor UPS, was none other than Goldman Sachs.
A brief and crucial history of the United States