The inlaid walnut table in the corporate boardroom held 12 on either side and two or three at each end, and the execs were all perched, prepped to pounce, when I dragged in my 2001 budget – 1015 pages of spreadsheet and other sheet.
As division CEO of a NYSE-listed publishing company with nearly a billion dollars sales, my pitch was explain how I would increase sales, restrain costs and improve the value of the newspapers I published.
What could go wrong? In the past year sales were up, but more important, the bottom line jumped from about a $200,000 loss to an $860,000 profit before taxes.
Since most of my employees were salaried – meaning they worked long hours without overtime compensation – my proposed budget included a four percent average pay increase. That four percent, I was told, was a big mistake. Continue reading →
Happy holidays came a few days early for big corporations and rich shareholders. Their income tax rate in 2018 will drop from 35% to 21% – exactly a 40% decrease.
Next year, Medicare premiums will go from $109 to $134 per month – a 23% increase in one year. This additional deduction from Social Security benefits wipes out the proposed minimal 2% cost of living increase for most seniors, leaving them with no increase, just inflation losses.
The argument goes that most corporations deserve a tax decrease, because they pay higher income taxes (35%) here than in some other countries. Concerned about the tax burden on our “job creators”, I put together this list of the top 30 largest companies (sales) and what they paid in income tax in 2016.
All told, these firms paid $114.9 billion of income tax on $4,108 billion in sales, or 2.76% rate on sales. Continue reading →
The nation which will soon boast the largest GDP in the world – China – is using digital technology to secretly detain and imprison tens of thousands of its citizens for so-called political crimes that range from expressing “extremist” thoughts to merely traveling or studying abroad.
This police state is part of a sweeping effort by Chinese authorities to use detentions and data-driven CCTV surveillance especially in the region of Xinjiang and over its ten million Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority that China says has been influenced by Islamic extremism.
Meanwhile, China’s state-run Xinhua news service has just announced that China’s State Council Information Office has declared China is making “remarkable progress” on improving human rights:
China has opened a new era of human rights protection and is now contributing to the diversity of human civilization and providing Chinese wisdom and solutions to promote social progress.
The truth is that China currently has installed 176 million surveillance cameras , and it shooting for 626 million by 2020. Since China has 1.4 billion citizens, there will be almost one camera for every two persons.
Continue reading →
Visit Victoria Station while in Mumbai for implants
If our politicians ever make the effort to visit the “little people” – those neglected voters, who don’t live in gated communities and suck gin in the Capitol – our selected leaders will see smiles without front teeth. And that is just the beginning of their constituents’ dental problems.
Some 140 million Americans have no dental insurance, and for most who do pay premiums, the coverage won’t cover the cost of replacing those two front teeth with implants
Medicaid and Medicare will pay nothing.
If you search the web for how to afford dental implants, the usual answer is borrow the money. A few suggested contributing more to your Health Savings account (as if everyone has an account). One advised asking for charity on the Internet. I am surprised no one said: write a check or pay with cash. Continue reading →
Some 57 out of every 100 jobs in Silicon Valley requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher are filled by someone who wasn’t born in the U.S., according to a boast by Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Guardino, who wants President Donald Trump to grant DACA (ages 16-34) amnesty, said that loss of illegal workers would be “particularly damaging in Silicon Valley”, where they are part of the region’s tech world labor pool. Of the nation’s 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), about 230,000 are in California.
This business leader seems oblivious to reality. Every job held by a non-citizen means one less job for an American, and leads to lower wages in that skill or profession.
Foreign workers don’t strike, complain about excessive hours, report pervert bosses or otherwise make waves – fearing reporting by employers to authorities. Their bargaining power in the marketplace rivals the 1800s’ cotton field slaves, but lacking even minimal guaranteed healthcare, food or shelter. Meanwhile, on a brighter note for Silicon Valley, Jeff Bezos, marked a milestone this week, when his personal wealth exceeded $100 billion. Continue reading →
If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania you can still earn a nursing degree at Penn State University in four years at a tuition-only cost of $154,600.
Or you could get the same education (with brat bun, not frat fun) free in Germany.
And you don’t have to speak German?
Public universities in Germany charge no tuition to anyone, including Americans , ugly or otherwise. Classes are offered in spoken English.
Students, who want degrees (in English) from among the world’s best institutions, can enroll in schools like University of Munich, University of Hamburg or Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, three of the country’s best schools, and pay no tuition. Some years ago the government initiated a $500 a semester tuition charge, but students revolted and it was eliminated.
American students enrolled in public universities in Slovenia Continue reading →
Stagnant wages. Windfalls for the politically connected. A new tax plan primarily for the rich.
Just 13 years have passed since the 2004 tax repatriation holiday, which created nearly no new jobs for American workers, but was instead used almost entirely by multinationals for stock dividends and buybacks. Many corporate execs and shareholders became instantly rich from this tax holiday, while workers’ wages were stagnant.
The GOP’s new plan is more of the same for one simple reason:
That $2.6 trillion, which every politician and media pundit loves to cite as a boon to America, cannot come back to the United states, because the vast majority of the money is already here.
This cash is invested in U.S. Treasury notes, U.S. agency securities, U.S. mortgage backed securities, or U.S. dollar-denominated corporate notes and bonds. And no corporate income tax has been levied on these trillions of dollars. Continue reading →