Bernie Wants You to Own More of the Means of Production

Source: Jacobin 10.14.2019  Bernie Wants You to Own More of the Means of Production

Bernie Sanders released a proposal today that would gradually shift 20 percent of corporate equity into funds owned and controlled by the workers in each company. The plan, which would apply to all publicly-traded companies and large closely-held companies, would move 2 percent of corporate stock into worker funds each year for a decade. Once the shares are transferred into the funds, workers would begin receiving dividends and have the ability to exercise the voting rights of the shares, including the right to vote on corporate board elections and on shareholder resolutions.

Sanders’s plan is by far the most radical worker ownership proposal put forward by a presidential candidate in recent memory. By last count, the market value of publicly-traded domestic companies stood at $35.6 trillion. This means that the Sanders plan would shift at least $7.1 trillion of corporate equity into worker funds by gradually diluting the value of previously-issued corporate stock.

Those who stand to “lose” from the proposal are the incumbent owners of corporate equity, which are overwhelmingly affluent people. At present, the top 10 percent of families own around 86.4 percent of corporate equities and mutual fund shares, with the top one percent owning 52 percent by themselves. Closely-held businesses, which will also be affected by the scheme if they are large enough, have similarly concentrated ownership, with the top 10 percent of families owning 87.5 percent of private business equity and the top one percent of families owning 57.5 percent of it.

Of course, these incumbent owners will not actually lose anything in an absolute sense. The average historical return of the US stock market has been 9.8 percent per year, while the average return of the last 10 years has been just over 13 percent. The effect of the two percent share issuances is to knock the total rate of return down by two percentage points, meaning that incumbent owners still get richer year-over-year, just less so than they would absent the Sanders plan.

The Sanders proposal largely mirrors an idea first presented by Mathew Lawrence that was recently adopted by Jeremy Corbyn and the UK Labour Party. In the Labour Party version of the plan, large UK corporations are required to transfer one percent of corporate equity into “Inclusive Ownership Funds” (IOFs) for ten years, which would effectively shift 10 percent of corporate equity into worker funds. As in Sanders’s plan, UK workers would receive dividends from the IOFs and exercise the voting rights of the equity owned by the funds.

Both the Sanders and Corbyn plans are rooted in a longer market socialist tradition most commonly associated with the Swedish labor movement and Swedish labor economist Rudolf Meidner. Meidner’s 1978 book laid out a plan that would have used similar share issuances (often called “share levies” or “scrip taxes”) to gradually bring Swedish corporations under the ownership of sector funds controlled by unions and communities. A policy based on Meidner’s plan was successfully implemented in the 1980s but the unrelated electoral defeat of the Swedish Social Democratic Party in the 1991 elections caused the policy to be scrapped before reaching its full potential.

America’s Indefensible Defense Budget | by Jessica T. Mathews | The New York Review of Books

The sheer size of the military establishment and the habit of equating spending on it with patriotism make both sound management and serious oversight of defense expenditures rare. As a democracy, we are on an unusual and risky path. For several decades, we have maintained an extraordinarily high level of defense spending with the support of both political parties and virtually all of the public. The annual debate about the next year’s military spending, underway now on Capitol Hill, no longer probes where real cuts might be made (as opposed to cuts in previously planned growth) but only asks how big the increase should be.

Source: America’s Indefensible Defense Budget | by Jessica T. Mathews | The New York Review of Books

Band of Rebels Signs

We have a number of old signs from the days we met on the street every Monday at noon. Anyone who wants to have some or all of these signs to use, reuse, or repurpose. The signs were donated to Metro Justice.

About 8 printed signs and 5 hand made signs defending Medicare

Medicare Signs

20 or so hand made signs and 7 Tax the 1% signs

Tax Fairness Signs

25 or so hand made Anti Chase Bank signs

Anti Chase Bank Signs


Human Needs over War

Miscellaneous signs

Miscellaneous signs

Social Security

Hands off Social Security

Corporations have no more rights than a dull axe, says Delos F. Wilcox


Delos F. Wilcox 1910

Ted Wilcox’s grandfather was defending human rights over corporation “rights” early in the 20th century. He was doing battle with the elite conception of corporate “rights” long before Ted was born. Now we know one of the sources of Ted’s activism.

Delos Franklin Wilcox on Wikipedia
Guide to the Delos Franklin Wilcox Papers 1907-1928, University of Chicago Library

His books  “Great Cities in America : their problems and their government” and “Government by all the people ; or : the initiative, the referendum, and the recall as instruments of democracy” were scanned by Cornell University Library and can be ordered via

Pinchot was the first chief of the U.S. Forrest Service and later Governor of Pennsylvania. His philosophy of conservation (allowing corporate logging and mining) was in direct conflict with preservationist ideas of John Muir.

Conflict in the philosophies of John Muir and Gifford Pinchot

John Muir in Wikipedia

Gifford Pinchot in Wikipedia  “The Pinchots made a great fortune from lumbering and land speculation, and Pinchot’s father regretted the damage his family’s work had done to the land.”

Pittsburgh Post Gazette remembrance of Gifford Pinchot’s 150th birthday.



Business groups fighting back in support of Common Core

ALBANY—Critics of the Common Core in New York have been winning the debate about the controversial education standards, but now they’ll face a counterattack backed by a considerable investment.

High Achievement New York, a nonprofit coalition of mostly business groups, plans to launch a roughly $500,000 phone and digital advertising campaign over the next several weeks in an attempt to promote the controversial curriculum standards.

New York’s business groups have long been among the state’s most vocal supporters, arguing that a Common Core education will help close the skills gap that makes it difficult for companies to recruit qualified workers. Following a national trend, they’re backing up their efforts with advertising and outreach campaigns.

“We want every child to have a chance at a great education, and that is why community leaders, educators and businesses have joined together to ensure that the high standards and dedication to excellence that the Common Core promotes make it into every classroom,” said Frank Thomas, the group’s executive director.

Read the rest

Pulling the curtain on an anti-minimum wage front group

Monday, March 10, 2014 by Jim Hightower

In Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the “wizard’ turns out to be a phony – just an old guy sitting behind a curtain, using his booming voice to spew nonsense in a vain effort to fool people.

But now, a century after Baum’s fictional Oz, a real-life incarnation of the phony wizard has been discovered, hiding behind not one, but two curtains. He’s recently been booming out his nonsense in full-page newspaper ads that are hyperbolic screeds against economists who favor raising the minimum wage, denouncing them as “radical researchers.”

The ad directs readers to a website named, implying that it’s the site of independent, unbiased, non-radical economists. But, no – it’s not a group at all, just a curtain. Who’s behind it? Something that goes by the name of The Employment Policies Institute, which sounds rock solid, but it, too, is just a curtain.

Go to 1090 Vermont Avenue in Washington, the address of this “institute,” and you won’t find any economists or any other employees, for the institute has none. But you will find the old wizard sitting there – manipulating statistics, twisting logic, and spewing out economic nonsense.

The wiz turns out to be nothing but a 71-year-old PR and advertising hatchet man named Richard Berman. Various corporations pay him to set up official-sounding front groups that advance their political agenda. The Employment Policy Institute, for example, is a front for the big restaurant chains. They want to keep profiting by paying poverty wages to their workers, so they’ve hired Berman to trash any and all who support raising America’s wage floor.

The “Institute” provides a varnish of academic legitimacy for unvarnished corporate greed. As the watchdog group, PRWatch, says of Berman’s flim flam, “They are little more than phony experts on retainer.”


The shocking numbers behind corporate welfare

by David Cay Johnston @DavidCayJ February 25, 2014
Boeing and its stockholders fly high on tax dollars

State and local governments have awarded at least $110 billion in taxpayer subsidies to business, with 3 of every 4 dollars going to fewer than 1,000 big corporations, the most thorough analysis to date of corporate welfare revealed today.

Boeing ranks first, with 137 subsidies totaling $13.2 billion, followed by Alcoa at $5.6 billion, Intel at $3.9 billion, General Motors at $3.5 billion and Ford Motor at $2.5 billion, the new report by the nonprofit research organization Good Jobs First shows.

Dow Chemical had the most subsidies, 410 totaling $1.4 billion, followed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway holding company, with 310 valued at $1.1 billion.

The figures were compiled from disclosures made by state and local government agencies that subsidize companies in all sorts of ways, including cash giveaways, building and land transfers, tax abatements and steep discounts on electric and water bills.

In fact, the numbers significantly understate the true value of taxpayer subsidies to businesses, for reasons explained below.

A fight for transparency

On a shoestring budget — roughly $1 million a year — Good Jobs First has for years dug through disclosure statements in all 50 states to compile reports on subsidies. Many of these subsidies exist despite strong provisions in many state constitutions prohibiting corporate welfare. New York state, for example, gets around this because its highest court ruled in 2011 that while the state may not give gifts directly, it can create an agency and let it give the gifts.

Good Jobs First does not oppose all subsidies. Rather, it favors transparency in the hope, executive director Greg LeRoy said, that any subsidies will be used wisely to expand the economy and not just prop up inefficient enterprises.

The data on welfare paid to companies come from Good Jobs First’s Subsidy Tracker 2.0, an improved Web tool that examines subsidies by linking subsidiaries to parent companies. The older version of the tool obscured the benefits to brand name corporate parents such as Apple, Google, Toyota and Walt Disney.

The size and range of the subsidies the tool has uncovered helps explain the burdens taxpayers must bear because so many major corporations rely on welfare for much or all of their profits rather than earning them.

Such burdens are especially hard on the poor. The bottom fifth of households in all but one state pay a larger share of their income in state and local taxes than the top 1 percent of earners. This means that corporate welfare effectively redistributes from the poor to those rich enough to own corporate stock.

Many forms of subsidies to business are excluded from Subsidy Tracker 2.0. For example, Good Jobs First does not count federal subsidies. It also leaves out indirect subsidies like perpetual monopoly rights of way for pipelines as well as rules that limit competition in pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and a host of other industries.

Phil Mattera, the organization’s research director, starts with publicly announced subsidies. With his small staff, he then gathers whatever records state and local governments make public or disclose through various Freedom of Information Act–type laws.

We know far too little about taxpayer support for business because of the ways governments do and do not collect data.

Read the rest of the article.

New Guardian Docs Show ALEC Misled Press, Public

Internal documents from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) published by The Guardian provide stunning insight into the inner workings of the “corporate bill mill” — and offer new evidence about how the group has continually misled reporters, the public, and even its own members.

Examining ALECThe notoriously secretive ALEC has been thrust into the sunlight in the two years since the Center for Media and Democracy launched, analyzed over 800 of ALEC’s previously-secret model bills, and documented the corporations and legislators pushing ALEC’s legislative agenda. It now appears that ALEC has been scorched by the sunshine.

According to the new Guardian documents, which were apparently prepared for ALEC’s board in August, over the past two years ALEC has been losing corporate members, suffering from major funding shortfalls, and anticipates legal trouble with ethics rules and its charitable tax status.

ALEC is still supported by tobacco, oil, and pharmaceutical interests, but has lost around 60 corporate members in the fallout over ALEC’s role in promoting Stand Your Ground legislation, voter ID, climate change denial, and an array of other controversial, corporate-friendly bills, the documents show. The leaked documents outline a “prodigal son” project (misspelled as “prodical son”) aimed at luring “lapsed” corporations back into the fold, and describe a $1.4 million budget shortfall that accrued as a result of ALEC’s shrinking roster of corporate backers.

Read More

Oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)



There’s a global corporate coup happening right now. No, seriously. Transnational corporations are attempting to undermine our democracy on a scale we’ve never seen before—they’re literally rewriting our laws and regulations to find new ways to squeeze out a bit more profit. The important gains of progressive movements like ours will be threatened as we lose the ability to form our own policies.

It’s all through a massive new “free trade” agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)  The TPP encompasses 40% of the global economy with 12 countries around the Pacific Rim, and would set new norms for the entire globe. If you’ve never heard about it, that’s because they don’t want you to. While President Obama has been negotiating this agreement with 600 corporate “trade advisors,” the public and Congress have had no say in what goes in this agreement. We don’t even have access to the text, and we might only have a couple more weeks to stop this. It could come to a vote as early as November.

Call your representative today to demand that they stand with us and reject the TPP.

We all know that “free trade” policies accelerate the race to the bottom, leading to more sweatshops at the expense of good-paying jobs. By pitting worker against worker and country against country, corporations have found a way to reduce the bargaining power of workers and unions as the constant threat of relocation for cheaper labor elsewhere looms. With increased competition for fewer jobs, 90% of Americans will see a pay cut and unions will be weakened under the TPP. Countries like Vietnam will be rewarded for extreme worker suppression and workers will face harsher conditions.

But that’s just the beginning. Under the TPP, corporations will be elevated to the status of nation-states in private international courts. Don’t like corporate personhood? Try corporate nationhood. This means that transnational corporations will be given the power to sue sovereign governments for policies and regulations that they claim violate their potential profits. If the TPP is passed, these privileges will be given to over 30,000 companies.

Just a few other concrete impacts of the TPP are:

USAS was there at the WTO Battle of Seattle in 1999 and we helped overturn monsters like this in the past. We can do it again. If we can get Congress to demand transparency and a seat at the negotiating table, we can stop the whole TPP. Our allies at United Students for Fair Trade just launched a student campaign to stop it. But corporations have been lobbying for this for years. We must make our voices heard now, before it’s too late.

Make a call today — click here for a helpful phone script!

In solidarity,

Katie Corbit
University of Michigan
USAS Local #17

Cuomo’s Tax “Reform” Commission Spells Trouble

No one really likes paying taxes and the current tax system certainly needs reform. Primarily, the tax system should return to being more progressive, i.e., tax rates should increase with income. Low income people should have low taxes and high income people should have high taxes with a graduated scale in between. That’s fair.

The current hegemonic anti-tax ideology is a formidable barrier to fair tax reform.

Now, Governor Cuomo, planning for his reelection campaign in 2014 has appointed a “tax commission” to recommend tax cuts of $2 to $3 billion over the few years. Cuomo presents this as a bi-partisan project that will demonstrate that Republicans and Democrats can work together and reduce taxes in NY to promote economic development and  job growth. We can look forward to tax policies that give major tax breaks to corporations that set up operations near universities.

Bill de Blasio, likely to be the next Mayor of NY City plans to raise taxes on the wealthy to help achieve his goal of reducing inequality in our most important city. Will he face opposition from Cuomo’s commission?

Progressive tax reform is the last thing we can expect from this commission. But we cannot afford to ignore it’s work. We must be prepared to oppose the tax cuts that will harm the citizens of New York.

Commission Members

Here is a list of the members of this commission. The descriptions of these members are copied from various organization web pages, media, and wikipedia found by by searching on their names. Notice the corporate links for almost all of the commission members.

George Pataki: former governor – Chadbourne & Parke, LLP – Governor George Pataki’s practice focuses on energy, environmental and corporate matters. Prior to joining Chadbourne & Parke LLP, he served three terms as the 53rd governor of New York state, from 1995 through 2006. First elected in 1994, he won re-election in 1998 and 2002. Governor Pataki brings to Chadbourne broad experience in law and public service. He was a partner in the New York law firm of Plunkett & Jaffe until 1987. He was elected mayor of Peekskill, New York in 1981, and served in the New York State Legislature as an assemblyman and then a senator from 1985 to 1994, before becoming governor. During his tenure as New York’s chief executive, Governor Pataki advanced award-winning, cutting-edge policies in the renewable energy and environmental fields. His initiatives included the protection of over one million acres of open space, the adoption of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the implementation of the nation’s first green building tax credit, landmark brownfield legislation and programs to enhance the production and use of alternative energy like biodiesel, ethanol, fuel cells and clean coal.Pataki profile at NNDB

Carl McCall: former comptroller and gov. candidate – Mr. McCall served as Comptroller of the State of New York from May 1993 to December 2002.  As Chief Fiscal Officer of the State, he was responsible for governmental and financial oversight and pension fund management.  As sole Trustee of the 880,000-member State and Local Retirement Systems, Mr. McCall was responsible for investing a pension fund valued at $120 billion. Mr. McCall has had a distinguished career as a public servant.  He served three terms as a New York State Senator representing the upper Manhattan district of New York City; as an Ambassador to the United Nations; as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and as the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights. H. Carl McCall was appointed Chairman of the State University of New York Board of Trustees October 17, 2011. He first joined the Board as a member on October 22, 2007. Mr. McCall has been a passionate advocate for public education.  He served as President of the New York City Board of Education from 1991 – 1993, where he set policy for the largest school system in the nation and as the Chairman of the Public Higher Education Conference Board, a coalition of 14 member organization which supports a strong and vibrant public higher education system in New York State. He has also been active in the private sector; he served as a Vice President of Citibank and as Corporate Director of the New York Stock Exchange, Tyco International, New Plan Realty Corporation and presently Ariel Investment. He was educated at Dartmouth College, Andover Newton Theological Seminary and the University of Edinburgh.  He is the recipient of nine honorary degrees.

Denis Hughes: former president AFL-CIO NY – Chairman (formerly acting chairman and Deputy Chair) and Class C director of the New York Federal Reserve Board, as well as President of the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO. In 2003, Hughes was elected to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and currently serves as Chair of the Management and Budget Committee, and is a member of the Audit Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.He joined the New York State AFL-CIO staff in 1985 as a political director, and in February 1990, was appointed to the position of executive assistant to the president. In this capacity, Mr. Hughes acted as a union lobbyist within the federation. Mr. Hughes was elected president of the New York State AFL-CIO 1999.

Heather Briccetti: president & CEO of Business Council of New York State – Prior to joining The Business Council, Briccetti was a consultant and lobbyist for Powers and Company, where she advised clients on a range of state and federal government relation issues. While she was there, Briccetti finished the Javits Center expansion and the new Yankee Stadium park. Before joining Powers and Company, Briccetti served as an assistant counsel to the New York State Senate Majority, working on a range of issues, including economic development, budget reform and consumer protection. She also worked for the Assembly Majority for several years, serving as a legislative aide and counsel to the Racing and Wagering Committee.

Dall W. Forsythe: Professor of Practice, Wagner School of Public Service, New York University; former Professor, School of Public Affairs at Baruch College/CUNY; former Chief Administrative Officer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York; former Budget Director of New York State; and former Managing Director of Lehman Brothers. Mr. Dall W. Forsythe serves as Vice President of Finance and Operations at Atlantic Philanthropies. Mr. Forsythe was a Professor of practice teaching financial management at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service. He served as the Managing Director in Lehman Brothers’ public finance department. He has extensive management experience in the governmental, private and not-for-profit sectors. In government, he served as a Budget Director for the State of New York and for the New York City Board of Education. In the nonprofit sector, he served as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York for four years. Mr. Forsythe has been a Board member of Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board since October 2011. He serves as a Member of Strategic Advisory Board at Blue Wolf Capital Partners LLC. He teaches governmental and non-profit financial management at New York University. He taught at Baruch College, the Kennedy School at Harvard, and Columbia University. He serves as the chairs the board of the Fund for the City of New York and has served on the Audit Committee of the City of New York and the board of the Municipal Assistance Corp. Mr. Forsythe’s current research interests center on the finances of New York City and New York State.

News about the commission

Associated Press. 2013. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo Taps George Pataki, Carl McCall for Tax-cutting Task Force.” The Post-Standard – Retrieved October 3, 2013. Go to story

Campbell, Jon. 2013. “Where Do Lawmakers Stand on Commission?” Retrieved October 3, 2013. Go to story

Lovett, Kenneth. 2013. “Gov. Cuomo Tax Cut Commission Could Clash with Bill de Blasio’s Plan to Raise Hikes If Elected Mayor.” NY Daily News. Retrieved October 3, 2013. Go to story

Spector, Joseph. 2013. “Pataki, McCall, Union and Business Leaders to Serve on Cuomo Tax-cutting Commission.” Politics on the Hudson. Retrieved October 3, 2013. Go to story

Bailed Out, Booted and Busted

From: The Mobilizer
Rocester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation

We’re told that corporate executives get paid outrageous sums of money because they add value to the companies they work for. But a new video and report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) show that this is far from accurate. Of the 500 highest-paid CEOs of the past 20 years, the report shows, 112 of the companies they represent filed for bankruptcy or received bailout money from the federal government, 39 of the CEOs were fired and 39 of those companies had to pay massive fines or settlements for serious fraud—a total of nearly 40% of all the highest-paid executives.

The real problem is almost certainly worse than that picture, however, because IPS couldn’t quantify things that many of them had done, such as cutting corners on environmental protections, gutting employee pensions or cheating consumers. The report also shows that taxpayers are subsidizing this executive excess because a loophole in the tax code allows corporations to write off this excessive pay as a tax deduction.

Read the full 20th annual Executive Excess report.

Large Corporations Game the Tax System to Avoid Paying Taxes

For U.S. Companies, Money ‘Offshore’ Means Manhattan

By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI The New York Times May 21, 2013

Apple is one of about 20 major corporations that have been pushing for a fresh tax break, known as a “repatriation holiday,” which would allow them to bring the money to the United States at a drastically reduced rate. John T. Chambers, chief executive of Cisco, has led a sustained lobbying effort for such a policy, promising that it would act as a stimulus to encourage investment and increase jobs in the United States.

A similar policy was enacted in 2004, which prompted American companies to return more than $300 billion in foreign earnings at the reduced rate of 5.25 percent. But it led to no discernible increase in American investment or hiring. On the contrary, some of the companies that brought back the most money laid off thousands of workers, and a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research later concluded that 92 cents on every dollar was used for dividends, stock buybacks or executive bonuses. A study by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that a similar program would result in $79 billion in forgone tax revenue over a decade. …

“The offshore companies are a fiction and the statement that the money is offshore is a fiction,” said Edward D. Kleinbard, former staff director for the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. “What they are asking for is a reward for having gamed the system.”

Corporations Find a Friend in the Supreme Court

This NY Times story draws on two important reports about the business bias in the current US Supreme Court.

  1. Minnesota Law Review Volume 97 Lead Piece, How Business Fares in the Supreme Court by Lee Epstein, William M. Landes, and Richard A. Posner

On Tax Day, Five Ways The Tax Code Subsidizes The Wealthiest Americans

On Tax Day, Five Ways The Tax Code Subsidizes The Wealthiest Americans

By Travis Waldron on Apr 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

Today is Tax Day, the day on which federal and state taxes are due for all Americans. Republicans have, of course, spent the year since Tax Day 2012 arguing that tax rates are too high and pushing for tax cuts for the wealthy at both the federal and state level. In reality, however, America’s tax code provides substantial benefits to the rich that working class Americans don’t get to enjoy.

State tax codes are heavily slanted toward the rich, as we’ve highlighted before. At the federal level, huge tax expenditures also make the tax code friendlier to the wealthiest Americans. The United States spends more than $1.3 trillion a year on tax expenditures, and while some of them help the middle class, many of them are aimed specifically at the wealthy, who receive an extra $250,000 a year in income thanks to tax breaks. Here are five ways the tax code benefits the wealthy:

Go Here to Read the 5

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Taxpayer $1,026 a Year, Small Businesses $3,067


April 4, WASHINGTON – With Tax Day approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. U.S. PIRG was joined today by Senator Levin (D-MI), Joseph Rotella, the owner of a Massachusetts small business, and Scott Klinger, the Tax Policy Director of the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for Shared Prosperity, to release a new study which revealed that the average taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,026 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. The report also found that the average small business would have to pay $3,067 to cover the cost of offshore tax dodging by large corporations.

Read more

How much federal tax do you pay?

Payroll Tax

  1. Social Security — If you are working you paid 4.2% of your gross pay in Social Security tax during 2012 because the Obama stimulus included a reduction of two percentage points  in Social Security. The 6.2% rate was restored at the beginning of 2013.
  2. Medicare — If you are working you paid 1.45% of your gross pay in Medicare tax.

Consumption Taxes

There are federal taxes that everyone pays: on gasoline, alcohol, cigarettes and so forth.

Federal Income Tax for income in 2012

  1. Low income people may pay no taxes — “about half of people who don’t owe income tax are off the rolls not because they take advantage of tax breaks but rather because they have low incomes. For example, a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 will pay no federal income tax this year because their $11,600 standard deduction and four exemptions of $3,700 each reduce their taxable income to zero. The basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.” from “Why Do People Pay No Federal Income Tax?” by Roberton Williams
  2. Middle income people often pay 15% or more — After deductions and exemptions each tax unit (individual, married couple, etc.) the remainder2012 federal tax rates is taxable income. Here are the tax rates that apply for 2012 income. A  single filer with $40,000 taxable income would pay:
    1. 10% of the first $8,700 = $870
    2. 15% of the next $26,650 = $3,997.50
    3. 25% of the next $4,650 = $1,162.50
    4. Total federal income tax = $6030.00, which is 15% of taxable income
    5. It is less than that for gross income (before deductions and exemptions), but individual/family reductions in taxable income are dwarfed by corporate welfare exemptions and deductions.

Each tax unit has to figure out the result based on its situation, deductions and exemptions, etc.  Nevertheless it is clear that it is common for middle class people to pay around 20%, ± a bit,of their income in federal taxes of all kinds.

How many wealthy families and corporations pay that high a rate?

The 10 Biggest Banks Get Almost As Much Money From Taxpayers As The Sequester Cuts

Economists are warning that the upcoming sequester could severely harm the economy as government agencies at the federal, state, and local level will see sharp spending cuts.

The sequester’s cuts this year will amount to $85.3 billion. Around half of this spending will be cut from the waste-ridden defense budget, but much of the rest of it will come out of necessary investments in the country’s public infrastructure.

But there’s another area of the budget where almost as much money is spent — subsidies to Big Banks. In an editorial published last week, Bloomberg noted that the ten biggest banks get an effective annual subsidy of $83 billion from taxpayers, and that almost all their recent profits are subsidized by the federal government.

Read More

We need new signs for our Deficit Reduction Plan

Take a look at the Band of Rebels Deficit Reduction Plan and suggest some short, pithy, and clear text for new signs. We want to get our message across. Our existing signs are good and are in the style we want, but as our focus changes to Tax Corporate Wealth Cut Corporate Welfare we need new signs making this point. Add your suggestions in the comment section below.

Bernie Sanders Calls Out CEO Tax Dodgers over Deficit, Hypocrisy

‘The last thing we need to do is listen to these deficit increasing CEOs’

Senator Bernie Sanders called out a group of the top US CEOs Thursday in a new report revealing top corporate tax dodgers in the US and urged those dodgers to ‘look in the mirror’ for the causes of America’s ballooning deficit. The report followed a joint statement issued Thursday morning by the top 80 US CEOs, pleading to Congress for a deficit reduction plan that would include cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and a decrease in taxes “for the top 2%.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (WDCpix) The report Top Corporate Tax Dodgers outlines individual CEO income and tax information, exploring the vast amounts of tax avoidance from the members of the group who today urged congress to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ budget, through their telling new plan.

October 25, 2012 by Common Dreams

CEO Council Demands Cuts To Poor, Elderly While Reaping Billions In Government Contracts, Tax Breaks

CEO Council Demands Cuts To Poor, Elderly While Reaping Billions In Government Contracts, Tax Breaks

by Christina Wilkie and Ryan Grim

The corporate CEOs who have made a high-profile foray into deficit negotiations have themselves been substantially responsible for the size of the deficit they now want closed.The companies represented by executives working with the Campaign To Fix The Debt have received trillions in federal war contracts, subsidies and bailouts, as well as specialized tax breaks and loopholes that virtually eliminate the companies’ tax bills.

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Ralph Nader’s 10 Point Agenda to End Corporate Domination


Statement of Ralph Nader on the Election


November 7, 2012

The “democracy gap” in our politics and elections spells a deep sense of powerlessness by people who drop out, do not vote, or listlessly vote for the ‘least worst’ every four years and then wonder why after every cycle the ‘least worst’ gets worse. People need to be “Expert Voters” and “Expert Citizens.”

The important work of our democracy does not end on election day, rather it begins anew once the votes are counted.

A civic agenda that starts to end the corporate domination of our country should:

* End ballot access obstructionism
* Open up the Presidential debates
* Public financing of campaigns
* Raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour
* Adopt single payer national health insurance
* Launch a nationwide public works and repair program
* Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget
* Retire nuclear power, expand Renewable Energy to deal with climate change
* Crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare
* Adopt a carbon pollution tax and end tax escapes for corporations and the wealthy
* Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East
* Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law
* Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax
* End corporate personhood
* Defend, Restore and Strengthen the Civil Justice System

Corporate Welfare

There is a long story in the New York Times today, “As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price.” by Louise Story.

“A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.”

The story links to a searchable data base in which you can look up local area across the U.S.