Rip-Offs Corporations and the Wealthy Don't Want You to Know
There's no limit to corporations' ability to draw profit while
screwing over Americans.
By Paul Buchheit
Clearing House -
consumer-exploiting big business leaders are largely responsible
for these abuses. Congress just lets it happen. Corporate heads
and members of Congress seem incapable of relating to the people
that are being victimized, and the mainstream media seems to
have lost the ability to express the views of lower-income
1. Corporations Profit from Food Stamps
It's odd to think about billion-dollar financial institutions
objecting to cuts in the SNAP program, but some of them are
administrators of the program, collecting fees from a benefit
meant for children and
other needy Americans, and enjoying subsidies of state tax money
for services that could be performed by the states themselves.
They want more people on food stamps,
not less. Three corporations have cornered
the market: JP Morgan, Xerox, and eFunds Corp.
According to a JP Morgan spokesman,
the food stamp program "is a very important business to JP
Morgan. It's an important business in terms of its size and
scale...The good news from JP Morgan's perspective is the
infrastructure that we built has been able to cope with that
increase in volume.."
2. Crash the Economy, Get Your Money Back. Die with a
Student Loan, Stay in Debt.
The financial industry has manipulated the
bankruptcy laws to ensure that high-risk derivatives, which
devastated the market in 2008, have FIRST
CLAIM over savings deposit insurance, pension funds, and
But the same banker-friendly "bankruptcy reform" has ensured
that college graduates keep
their student loans till they die. And sometimes even after
that, as the debt is assumed by their co-signing parents.
3. Almost 70% of Corporations Are Not Required to Pay
ANY Federal Taxes
And that's even before tax avoidance kicks in. The 'nontaxable' designation
exempts 69% of U.S. corporations from taxes, thus sparing them
the expense of hiring tax lawyers to contrive tax avoidance
Street Journal states, "The percentage of U.S. corporations
organized as nontaxable businesses has grown from about 24% in
1986 to about 69% as of 2008, according to the latest-available
Internal Revenue Service data. The percentage of all firms is
far higher when partnerships and sole proprietors are included."
In recent years the businesses taking advantage of the
exemption include law
firms, hedge funds, real estate partnerships, venture capital
firms, and investment banks.
4. Lotteries Pay for Corporate Tax Avoidance
This means revenue comes from the poorest residents of a
community rather than from billion-dollar corporations. Many of
the lottery players don't realize how bad the odds are. Fill out
$2 tickets for 12 hours a day for 50 years and you'll have half a
chance of winning.
Some astonishing facts reveal the extent of the problem.
Low-income households spend anywhere from fiveto nine percent
of their earnings on lotteries. A Pennsylvania survey found
that nearly half of low-income residents planned to gamble at a
newly-opened casino. America's gambling losses in 2007 were nine
times greater than just 25 years before.
5. The National Football League Pays No Federal Taxes
One of the most profitable organizations in America, with
billions in tickets, TV rights, and merchandise sales, and with
an NFL Commissioner who earned
more money than the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, and AT&T,
is considered a non-profit. It has a tax-exempt status.
It gets even worse. While the individual teams themselves are not
exempt from federal taxes, they enjoy multi-million-dollar
subsidies from their states for new and refurbished stadiums.
Fans - and non-fans - of the Washington Redskins, the Cincinnati
Bengals, the Minnesota Vikings, the Seattle Seahawks, the San
Francisco 49ers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are among those who
pay taxes for their hometown football fields. New Orleans
taxpayers paid for leather stadium seats. For the Dallas
Cowboys, a $6 million property tax bill was waived.
A Harvard University urban planning study determined that
70 percent of the capital cost of NFL stadiums has been provided
by taxpayers, rather than by NFL owners.
6. Live on Park Avenue, Get a Farm Subsidy
A disturbing but fascinating report called
"Farm Subsidies and the Big Dogs" lists Washington, DC, Chicago,
and New York City, in that order, as the worst offenders.
--- In New York, "Many entities
receive the federal subsidies at their downtown office
buildings, such as 30 Rockefeller Plaza, or at their million
dollar residential condos."
--- In Chicago, "Nearly every
neighborhood in the city receives federal farm subsidy payments
- including the Gold Coast, Downtown-Loop, Lincoln Park, and
even the President's neighbors in Hyde Park."
--- In Washington, "Even U.S. Senators
are receiving farm subsidy checks."
Perhaps more of us should become farmers. In Florida, according
"anyone could legally qualify their land as farmland by stocking
it with a few cows." Wealthy heir Mark Rockefeller received $342,000 to
NOT farm, to allow his Idaho land to return to its natural
7. Profit Margin Magic: Turning a dollar into $100,000
Both printer ink and bottled water cost the consumer more than
they should. Calculations by DataGenetics reveal
that the ink in a $16.99 cartridge comes to almost $3,400 per
gallon. The cost of a gallon of cartridge ink would buy enough
gasoline to run the average car
for over two years.
Water seems to cost less than that, until the details are
factored in. Companies buy public water at almost no cost, treat
it in unknown
ways, and then sell it back to us at an exorbitant markup.
Nestle, for example, pays about
two dollars for public water that produces about 100,000
plastic bottles of water.
So This Is Capitalism..
Consumer-exploiting, tax-avoiding, profit-maximizing,
responsibility-shirking, winner-take-all capitalism. An economic
system which, as Milton Friedman once believed, "distributes the
fruits of economic progress among all people."
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