Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address inspires American Patriots

Some inspiration for us as we begin to engage citizens in restoring a citizen run Democracy:

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Address, November 19, 1863:

“…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain

that this nation, under God,

shall have a new birth of freedom

,

— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

….Just something to think about.

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A brief lesson on the “regressive” effects of a sales tax (and other ‘regressive’ taxation techniques which lead to poorer people paying higher percentage of incomes in taxes than those more fortunate in America:

A lesson on Regressive taxation brought to you by several anonymous contributors at Wikipedia (see whole article here), the world’s leading collaborative encyclopedia:

“A regressive tax is a tax imposed in such a manner that the effective tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases.[1][2][3][4] In simple terms, it imposes a greater burden (relative to resources) on the poor than on the rich. “Regressive” describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, refering to the way the rate progresses from high to low. It can be applied to individual taxes or to a tax system as a whole; a year, multi-year, or lifetime. Regressive taxes attempt to reduce the tax incidence of people with higher ability-to-pay, as they shift the incidence disproportionately to those with lower ability-to-pay.

A simplified illustration of a regressive tax on income (proportional on consumption) is as follows: If Jane has $10 and John has $5, a tax of $1 on a purchase would result in a different percentage of total income applied to taxation, 20% for John and 10% for Jane. Thus, a tax that is fixed to the value of the good/service (as with sales tax)(without exemptions or rebates) would likely, in effect, result in a higher burden of taxation to people with less money (depending on consumption level and timeline examined – year or lifetime).

The opposite of a regressive tax is a progressive tax, where the tax rate increases as the amount subject to taxation increases.[5][6][7][8] In between is a proportional tax, where the tax rate is fixed as the amount subject to taxation increases.

The term is frequently applied in reference to fixed taxes, where every person has to pay the same amount of money. The regressivity of a particular tax often depends on the propensity of the tax payers to engage in the taxed activity relative to their income. In other words, if the activity being taxed is more likely to be carried out by the poor and less likely to be carried out by the rich, then the tax may be considered regressive. To determine whether a tax is regressive, the income-elasticity of the good being taxed as well as the income-substitution effect must be considered.

A simplified illustration of a regressive tax on income (proportional on consumption) is as follows: If Jane has $10 and John has $5, a tax of $1 on a purchase would result in a different percentage of total income applied to taxation, 20% for John and 10% for Jane. Thus, a tax that is fixed to the value of the good/service (as with sales tax)(without exemptions or rebates) would likely, in effect, result in a higher burden of taxation to people with less money (depending on consumption level and timeline examined – year or lifetime).

A regressive tax system does not mean and likely would not result in low income earners paying more taxes than the wealthy, only that the effective tax rate relative to income or consumption would be a larger tax burden to low income earners.”

Larry the Loophole! Educating us all on equitable taxation in America

see more educational taxation videos here.

Private Equity buyout tax loopholes make the rich richer but might hurt average Americans.

Recommended Articles
Larry the Loophole will help you learn!hit play!
Of Private Equity, Politics and Income Taxes by Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times
Uncle Sam may be coming after the buyout kings. If the tax collector gets his way, Henry R. Kravis, Stephen A. Schwarzman, David Bonderman, David M. Rubenstein and the rest of the leveraged-buyout crowd could soon be forced to add some zeros to the taxable income line on their federal forms… Read on.
by Nomi Prins, Mother Jones
History is pretty clear on this one: Whenever the finance industry discovers a path to quick investment riches for a select few—S&Ls, junk bonds, Long-Term Capital Management, Enron, the list goes on—a massive reckoning can’t be far behind. Today’s implosion in the making? Private equity… Read on.
A Professor’s Word on a Buyout Tax Battleby Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times
MORE than a year ago, Victor Fleischer, an untenured professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, finished a draft of a paper about the tax treatment of private equity. At the time, he was just hoping to get the paper published. Taxes are an unglamorous topic, and… Read on.
Talk about an inside job. It’s little wonder that CEO pay continues to soar when the consulting firms many corporations hire to determine executive pay levels also earn millions of dollars for handling other consulting work for the same company. After all, why tick off… Read on.
The KKR Way (pdf)by Richard Teitelbaum, Bloomberg
The deals are just the start. The original ‘barbarians at the gate’ now command a $107 billion global empire. Here’s how the buyout giant fires up its companies with a profit-or-perish creed. It’s a great time to be Henry Kravis, as he’s quick to remind people… Read on.
IRS Probes Hedge Funds, Buyout Firms for Tax Abusesby Alison Fitzgerald and Ryan J. Donmoyer, Bloomberg
The Internal Revenue Service has begun an inquiry into suspected tax abuses at hedge funds and private- equity firms after determining many firm partners don’t file returns and may have improperly characterized transactions. The tax-collection agency is studying whether funds… Read on.
A Backlash Against Billionaires by David Ignatius, Washington Post
For mysterious reasons, people can suddenly become indignant about government policies they have accepted for years as a matter of course. Such a seismic shift seems to be happening in public attitudes toward taxation of America’s super-rich financiers. The three leading Democratic candidates… Read on.
When business barbarians take hostages (pdf)by David Sirota, Denver Post
As a central villain in the famous book “Barbarians At the Gate,” Henry Kravis has become one of the world’s richest mavens of private equity — the Wall Street sector that buys up companies, breaks them apart and sells their assets. In 2006, Kravis made $450 million, or more per hour ($51,000) than the average American makes in a year… Read on.
How a Blackstone Deal Shook Up a Work Force by Ianthe Jeanne Dugan, Wall Street Journal
Not long after the Blackstone Group bought Travelport Ltd. last August, workers at the company’s office campus here began feeling the squeeze. Two months after the deal closed, scores of employees were lugging boxes of personal belongings to their cars, having lost their jobs. Under Blackstone’s ownership, the travel-reservations conglomerate has laid off 841 people, about 10% of its work force… Read on.
“Everything about America is threatened today … this is an epic struggle for the future of America,” Edwards told the cheering crowd. “Corporate greed and the very powerful use their money to control Washington and this corrupting influence is destroying the middle class.” While all of the presidential campaigns… Read on.
Corporations Increasingly Run This Countryby Rick Coddington, Mountian Mail
Today we are living under the control of that military-industrial complex. In 1975, there was a great movie called Rollerball starring James Caan. In a nutshell, it was about a futuristic society (2018) where corporations controlled everything. Not individual corporations mind you, but giant worldwide conglomerates… Read on.
Pirates of Private Equityby Adam Doster, In These Times
Private equity funds are complicated entities. Essentially, they are unregulated pools of private capital raised and controlled by investment managers, otherwise known as “general partners.” Typically, managers buy up undervalued companies, de-list them from public exchanges… Read on.
Penny Foolishby Eric Schlosser, New York Times
Florida’s tomato growers have long faced pressure to reduce operating costs; one way to do that is to keep migrant wages as low as possible. Although some of the pressure has come from increased competition with Mexican growers, most of it has been forcefully applied by… Read on.
Mr. Kravis Goes to Washington (Capra Rolls Over)by Stephen Labaton and Jenny Anderson, New York Times
Henry R. Kravis, the billionaire founder of the corporate buyout movement, was working the hallways of Capitol Hill, hoping to kill legislation that would raise his taxes and those of other investment fund executives. While known to powerful people in Washington through longstanding personal.. Read on.
Talk of the Town (pdf)by Michael Shnayerson, Vanity Fair
Topping each other’s deals — $31.4 billion! $39 billion! $45 billion! K.K.R.’s Henry Kravis and the Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman are locked in combat at the top of the private-equity heap. The rivalry has only sharpened since Blackstone’s I.P.O. sparked public outrage.. Read on.
On the eve of the 1986 leveraged buy-out of Safeway Stores Inc., the board of directors sat down to a last supper. Peter Magowan, the boyish-looking chairman and cheif executive of the world’s largest supermarket chain, rose to offer a toast to the deal that had fended… Read on.
Hundreds of migrant farmworkers marched through Miami this past Friday to protest a Florida tomato grower maneuver that will cut some tomato picker wages by 40 percent. The growers are refusing to honor deals the state’s top farmworker group has cut with McDonald’s and Taco Bell… Read on.
Last Friday, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) introduced a bill to remedy a long-standing tax inequity that allows private equity fund managers the right to claim performance fee income as capital gains rather than ordinary income. This tax break, based on the misnomer “carried interest,”… Read on.
Lobbyists Try to Quell Frenzy Over Private-Equity Fund Taxby Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Washington Post
Soon after Rep. Eric Cantor called a meeting of lobbyists two weeks ago, his aides had to find a larger room. Instead of the couple dozen they had expected, 75 showed up. Cantor, a Virginia Republican, convened the gathering to discuss how to defeat a set of fast-moving proposals that would vastly increase taxes on private-equity firms and hedge.. Read on.
The Private-Equity Scam by Robert B. Reich, The American Prospect
This week, Senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, have been holding “informal meetings” to consider whether the stratospheric incomes of private-equity partners ought to be treated as compensation rather than as capital gains, for tax purposes. Way back in the 1970s, newly-minted MBAs… Read on.
Private equity chief says CGT is too low by Jean Eaglesham, Financial Times
A leading private equity executive on Friday broke ranks with his industry by arguing it does not pay enough tax and warning that the government’s capital gains tax reforms, designed principally to tackle perceived abuses in the sector, would not be sufficient to silence critics. The intervention by Jon Moulton… Read on.
Greed by Cliff Schecter
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.” So said fictional character Gordon Gekko, the embodiment of a 1980s corporate raider in the movie Wall Street. Yet, sadly, just as the Gekko character was based… Read on.
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Jeff Faux
Jeff Faux is the principal founder of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) of Washington, D.C. He was President of EPI from 1985 until August 2002, when he became the Institute’s first Distinguished Fellow in order to devote more time to his research and writing. He is also the author of The Global Class War. Read full bio.
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Recommended Books
by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, Collin Business Essentials, 1990

by Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006

by David Cay Johnston, Portfolio Hardcover, 2003
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by Sarah Bartlett, Replica Books, 1991
by George Anders, Beard Books, 2002
by William Greider, Simon & Schuster, 2003

*Based on Henry Kravis’s 2006 income of $450 million as reported in Forbes magazine. Calculated at a tax savings of 21.45% (35% income tax + 1.45% Medicare Tax 15% carried interest paid), Henry Kravis saved approximately $96 million in taxes in the year 2006.

Tax Rebate checks to American taxpayers will be mailed starting May 2.

Tax rebate checks will be distributed to most tax-paying Americans. The rebates serve as a one-time tax cut initially based on their 2007 incomes.

Overall, the Treasury will distribute more than $110 billion to 130 million taxpayers by July.

Who will be getting checks?

One-time payments will be sent to at least 117 million low- and middle-income households, 20 million senior citizens living off of Social Security and 250,000 disabled veterans.

To be eligible for a full rebate, single tax filers must have 2007 adjusted gross income (AGI) below $75,000 and joint filers must have AGI below $150,000.

Single filers with AGI below $75,000 will get rebates of as much as $600. Couples with AGI below $150,000 will receive rebates of up to $1,200.

In addition, parents will also receive $300 per child under 17; there is no cap on the number of qualifying children eligible.

Tax filers who do not owe income taxes, but have at least $3,000 in income – which can include Social Security and disability payments – will get $300 rebates per person or $600 per couple.

The stimulus allows for a 5% phaseout rate for households above the income caps of $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers. The rebates of those taxpayers will be reduced by the amount of income above the cap multiplied by 5%.

Will I have to pay it pack?

No. And here’s why.

Your stimulus payment is a one-time tax cut – an advance on a credit you’ll receive on your 2008 return. You will not owe tax on your payment when you file your 2008 tax return, and it will not increase the amount you owe or reduce your 2008 refund.

The stimulus payment is based on your 2007 income initially. If it turns out that your 2008 income and number of children would have qualified you for a larger rebate than the one you received, you’ll be sent the difference. If it turns out your 2008 income was lower than in 2007 and you should have gotten a lower rebate, you get to keep the difference.

“If you were supposed to receive a larger payment than you did, you will get the extra money,” said Treasury spokesman Andrew DeSouza. “If you received more than what you should have gotten, you will not be penalized.”

Direct deposit payment
If last 2 digits of your SS# are: Your rebate should be sent by:
00-20 May 2
21-75 May 9
76-99 May 16
Paper check
If last 2 digits of your SS# are: Your rebate should be sent by:
00-09 May 16
10-18 May 23
19-25 May 30
26-38 June 6
39-51 June 13
52-63 June 20
64-75 June 27
76-87 July 4
88-99 July 11

Congressman Ron Paul trying to convince Congress to fight against war in 2002, and against unbalanced budgets and for securing our borders

“I rise to urge the Congress to think twice before thrusting this nation into a war without merit- one fraught with the danger of escalating into something that no American will be pleased with.” -Congressman Ron Paul, September 4, 2002

“Military force is justified only in self-defense; naked aggression is the province of dictators and rogue states. This is the danger of a new “preemptive first strike” doctrine.” -Congressman Ron Paul, September 4, 2002.

“If we can’t or won’t define the enemy, the cost to fight such a war will be endless. How many American troops are we prepared to lose?…How much money are we prepared to spend?…How many innocent civilians, in our nation and others, are we willing to see killed?…How many American civilians will we jeopardize?…How much of our civil liberties are we prepared to give up?” -Congressman Ron Paul, September 25, 2002

“Let it be clearly understood- there is no authority to wage war against Iraq without Congress passing a Declaration of War…A UN Resolution authorizing an invasion of Iraq, even if it were to come, cannot replace the legal process for the United States going to war as precisely defined in the Constitution…Only tyrants can take a nation to war without the consent of the people. The planned war against Iraq without a Declaration of War is illegal. It is unwise because of many unforeseen consequences that are likely to result…The American people become less secure when we risk a major conflict driven by commercial interests. Victory under these circumstances is always elusive, and unintended consequences are inevitable.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 1, 2002

“The tired assertion that America “supports democracy” in the Middle East is increasingly transparent. It was false 50 years ago when we supported and funded the hated Shah of Iran to prevent nationalization of Iranian oil…and it’s false today when we back an unelected dictator in Pakistan -just to name two examples.” -Congressman Ron Paul, December 3, 2002

“Mr. Speaker, I once again find myself compelled to vote against the annual budget resolution for a very simple reason: it makes the government bigger.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 4, 2004

“…I also want to abolish the Federal Reserve…The value of our dollar and the level of our interest rates are not supposed to be manipulated by a few members of the power elite meeting secretly in a marble palace…Without the Federal Reserve, our money could not be inflated at the behest of big government or big banks. Your income and savings would not lose thier value.” -Congressman Ron Paul, 2002.

“The official national debt figure, now approaching $9 trillion, reflects only what the federal government owes in current debts on money already borrowed…It does not reflect what the federal government has promised to pay millions of Americans in entitlement benefits down the road…Those future obligations put our real debt figure at roughly fifty trillion dollars -a staggering sum that is about as large as the total household net worth of the entire United States…Your share of this fifty trillion amounts to about $175,000.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 6, 2007

“Immigration reform should start with improving our border protection…yet it was reported last week that the federal government has approved the recruitment of 120 of our best trained Border Patrol agents to go to Iraq to train Iraqis how to better defend their borders…National Gaurd troops participating in Operation Jump Start are being removed from border protection duties in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan…Is this a way to discourage people from coming to the US illegally?” -Congressman Ron Paul,March 31, 2007

“If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare alone…To close the entitlement gap, the US economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.” -Congressman Ron Paul, March 6, 2007

“It is not we non-interventionists who are isolationists. The real isolationists are those who impose sanctions and embargoes on countries and peoples across the globe and who chose to use force overseas to promote democracy…a counterproductive approach that actually leads the U.S. to be more resented and more isolated in the world.”

“Peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the ability to handle conflict through peaceful means.” -Ronald Reagan