Apr 15


Taxes are for us, not them

A new study documents how many large corporations use loopholes to slash - or eliminate - federal taxes on their earnings. That and more in Monday Morning Read.

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, took in more than $27 billion in revenue last year. It didn’t pay a dime in federal taxes. 

It’s not alone.

As reported by Jacobin: “More than one hundred of the country’s most profitable corporations paid zero federal income taxes in at least one year since the Trump tax cuts were enacted.”

The story was based on a report generated by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. You’ve got to read the tables that names names.

Many a president and Congress have passed tax laws that have enabled corporations to pay a much lower effective tax rate than the rest of us. The tax cuts enacted under Trump have made it that much easier for companies to avoid taxes and he promised at a recent fundraiser to extend them if he regains the presidency.

Elsewhere, an op-ed in The New York Times argues that the reliance on property taxes to fund the operations of local governments and school districts exacerbates wealth inequalities and harms Black communities

Good Jobs First reports that fines, penalties and court judgments levied against corporations since 2000 have topped $1 trillion. (No doubt that the aforementioned tax scofflaws are among them.)

Concluded the report:

“Total payouts for corporate misconduct grew from around $7 billion per year in the early 2000s to more than $50 billion annually in recent years … The fact that penalties have reached the 10-figure level suggests that during the past quarter century we have been living through a continuous corporate crime wave.”

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The Buffalo News published a story that reported that money.com, a personal finance website, named Buffalo one of America’s ten boomtowns. Never mind our economy lags behind most of the country and new Census estimates show the region is once again losing population. Among the positive trends cited by money.com was  “downtown shopping.” Downtown shopping? There’s practically no retail located downtown. The city had to bail out Braymiller, perhaps the last major retail shop to open. Spare us these bogus surveys.

If you want to support urban retailing, buy a book from one of these independent stores.

The News reported on the trend of local IDAs subsidizing housing development. Of course, our J. Dale Shoemaker has been reporting on it for quite some time, as evidenced here, here and here.

The Buffalo Diocese is making less progress than some of its counterparts in settling sex abuse claims, Jay Tokasz of The News reports. Meanwhile, a small group of local Catholics has written Pope Francis asking for the removal of Bishop Michael Fisher, saying he’s focused on financial, rather than spiritual matters.

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Save democracy? Yes, but let’s really understand it as practiced in America. And then reform it. Here’s a story and accompanying video from Mother Jones that makes the argument we have long suffered from minority rule: white, male, wealthy and conservative.

Politico documents how the judicial system has handled Trump’s tirades against judges, prosecutors and their staffs and families with tolerance not extended to other criminal defendants. Anyone else running their mouth as Trump has would find themselves behind bars for contempt of court.

The best obituary I’ve read on O.J. Simpson was published by the Los Angeles Times. The Washington Post had a really good piece on Norm MacDonald and O.J., especially the ending, and his relentless mockery of Simpson on Saturday Night Live. 


Investigative Post

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