Skip to main content

Michael Moore's Capitalism, A Love Story has revealed a deep dark secret to the intrepid reporters of ABC News - so-called Dead Peasant Insurance, the practice of companies taking out secret life insurance policies on their low-level employees, with the benefits paid out to the company upon the employee's death, even if they no longer work at the company.

(Of course, if they'd been reading dailykos, they would have learned all about it many years ago :)  )


Well, we don't expect mainstream news reporters to actually be all that aware of what's going on around them, much less report it, so no surprise there.

The problem is the spin that Claire Shipman, deep in her ignorance, goes on to put on the situation:

"It's a financial scheme that doesn't actually cost the employees anything except, some say, their trust."

And this:

"Nobody's really being hurt, but it's so clearly creepy. So how do you get at what really is wrong with this?"

Rep. Gene Green tries to give her a progressive answer, but what he comes up with is weak and doesn't make a whole lot of sense:

"We hope our laws are based on not only fairness but morals, and to me, it's immoral to benefit from your death if I don't know you."

Um, people benefit all the time in all sorts of ways from the deaths of people they don't know.

The problem isn't that. The problem is that it's A CORPORATE TAX DODGE!

Erin Weir at the Canadian economics blog Progressive Economics Forum explains it well:

For example, on corporate-owned life insurance, Moore notes that one cannot take out fire insurance on a neighbour’s house because doing so would provide a financial incentive to burn the house down. The apparent implication is that companies may be killing off their workers to collect insurance payouts. There is no evidence of such skullduggery, or at least Moore does not present any.

The real issue, which Capitalism fails to mention, is that corporations can use such insurance policies to avoid paying taxes. Whereas interest on money borrowed to pay premiums is tax-deductible, the resulting insurance payouts are tax-exempt. "Dead peasant" insurance is not a new and sinister corporate scheme to profit from death, but an old and sinister corporate scheme to drain the public treasury.

They avoid paying taxes on money used to pay the premiums, and the benefits are tax-free.

So, yes, it does cost the employees, and yes, everyone is being hurt by it. How? There are millions of such policies involving billions of dollars that are protected from taxation for no earthly reason than insurance industry clout with lawmakers.

Taxes are what fund the social safety net. If you don't collect them you never have enough for those little extras like universal health coverage for all your citizens.

Originally posted to Alien Abductee on Sat Oct 03, 2009 at 02:02 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Deep Dark, N in Seattle, Renee, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, cdreid, Angie in WA State, Susan S, Sylv, chuck utzman, DeminNewJ, MS, DavidW in SF, dwellscho, coral, LeislerNYC, PrahaPartizan, Bill in Portland Maine, Sean Robertson, Mogolori, Chi, Ray Radlein, catdevotee, tankej, SilverWings, jennifer poole, eugene, lapin, jm, Buckeye BattleCry, grollen, ogre, Rayne, SarahLee, hyperbolic pants explosion, Trendar, AaronInSanDiego, Ivan, glitterscale, cedubose, Liberal Thinking, No Preference, mickT, Geenius at Wrok, abarefootboy, lrhoke, Joan McCarter, Dvd Avins, Unstable Isotope, Dave the Wave, am, BigOkie, theboz, PeterHug, Bob Love, newjeffct, bread, skiddlybop, Robespierrette, Sprinkles, karlpk, tommurphy, annalivia, littlesky, MsSpentyouth, Heimyankel, Sherri in TX, LynChi, donna in evanston, Wintermute, tacet, meg, bellatrys, gaff98, ThatTallGuy, rhubarb, GayHillbilly, PBJ Diddy, westsyde, damnlonghair hippie, celdd, Mnemosyne, LeftCoastTimm, TX Unmuzzled, dkistner, xynz, gecko, Voodoo, Woody, changingamerica, caliberal, marjo, lilorphant, Zach in Phoenix, BenGoshi, musicsleuth, Poika, Jerome a Paris, expatjourno, Creosote, LIsoundview, Plan9, Dumbo, Scott in NAZ, Addison, undersiege, bara, eyeswideopen, rasbobbo, agoldnyc, Gustogirl, opinionated, concernedamerican, rwsab, ReneInOregon, bronte17, kayebee, missLotus, 88kathy, Babsnc, medaka, EricS, cskendrick, cyberKosFan, mentaldebris, Cassandra77, elveta, Doc Allen, AikidoPilgrim, nyceve, understandinglife, susakinovember, Kraken, Janie, OCD, NCYellowDog, djMikulec, Baldwiny, srkp23, ellefarr, ask, CoolOnion, CalNM, boadicea, Glic, buckhorn okie, KS McCann, barath, farmerhunt, roses, Frederick Clarkson, pedrito, ovals49, Ignacio Magaloni, sgilman, Larry Bailey, nargel, juslikagrzly, jbeach, Fe, Bearpaw, superba, DiMe, sngmama, jkb246, itskevin, UK LibDem Dave, jalbert, ClickerMel, oceanview, ctsteve, Jesterfox, Iberian, bustacap, Cedwyn, sydluna, antirove, artebella, RayKCMO, OutOfManyOne, nalakop, wader, ChristieKeith, DustyMathom, khughes1963, psnyder, Alizaryn, nancelot, danthrax, sockpuppet, Subversive, Dr Colossus, businessdem, missliberties, Urizen, bogdanmi, Chicago Lulu, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, ranger995, MA Liberal, mad ramblings of a sane woman, JDPITALIA, grannyhelen, Nina, White Buffalo, exiledfromTN, Blank Frank, Ready2fight, yet another liberal, JimWilson, churchylafemme, Nemagaiq, flatford39, GN1927, catfood, On The Bus, defluxion10, houyhnhnm, Catte Nappe, betson08, snakelass, The Walrus, RebeccaG, lcrp, Green Tea, LR Frederick, MeToo, fritzrth, barbwires, walkshills, Oaktown Girl, bwintx, Exurban Mom, Donna in Rome, econlibVA, Levity, KateCrashes, zerelda, jesses, KellyB, Kitsap River, KayCeSF, NapaJulie, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Marcus L Salyer, Wife of Bath, Mosquito Pilot, jcrit, poemworld, xyz, TexasLefty, Black Max, bablhous, justmy2, zannie, Nova Land, rambler american, Daddy Bartholomew, thereisnospoon, Timroff, TekBoss, Armand451, Limelite, vivens fons, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, Tirge Caps, ebbinflo, weelzup, Big Tex, averageyoungman, angrybird, Recovering Southern Baptist, bloomer 101, tribalecho, Bluesee, Tarindel, marina, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, cetylovx, ManOnTheBench, pattyp, IamtheReason, capelza, NoMoreLies, case, Methion, greycat, UFOH1, baccaruda, Russron, CTPatriot, sangemon, Alice Marshall, OpherGopher, electricgrendel, Alice Venturi, mike101, grimjc, jhutson, Omir the Storyteller, panicbean, citizenx, basquebob, RequestedUsername, lil bird, dewtx, juliesie, drewfromct, TigerMom, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, EJP in Maine, Dobber, trinityfly, Laurence Lewis, reflectionsv37, ratzo, boofdah, eru, Blissing, owlbear1, GUGA, bleeding blue, mojo workin, cfk, Morrigan, SaraBeth, Pam from Calif, Frank Palmer, Sun Tzu, jimstaro, pandawoman, Sara R, EdlinUser, uato carabau, jimreyn, LABobsterofAnaheim, GreyHawk, cspivey, Kayakbiker, rosabw, lotlizard, Skid, Phil S 33, blue jersey mom, jane123, kazoo of the north, SBandini, Geekesque, dspivak, noemie maxwell, collapse, FightTheFuture, neroden, alisonc, wiscmass, sodalis, kerplunk, Lisa Lockwood, Dunvegan, northanger, dsteffen, Cory Bantic, Rogneid, playtonjr, Detroit Mark, Lindy, doe, Spathiphyllum, JanL, Ekaterin, JanF, kkjohnson, Land of Enchantment, terjeanderson, kathny, bently, xaxnar, Jim R, begone, vilegrrl, debedb, lcork, SoulCatcher, makeitstop, martini, LeftOverAmerica, gwilson, danmac, mcronan, tarheelblue, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, rcbowman, Kingsmeg, vigilant meerkat, sherlyle, RustyBrown, WhyWhat, Clytemnestra, BlueInARedState, emeraldmaiden, Themistoclea, Ky DEM, Gorette, cookseytalbott, Dvalkure, koNko, ruleoflaw, buhdydharma, KenBee, zesty grapher, Wary, fiddler crabby, anastasia p, mystery2me, Lurky Lu, hideinplainsight, Blue Wind, SherriG, NBBooks, TalkieToaster, tecampbell, MJ via Chicago, eglantine, global citizen, Tanya, nonnie9999, Glorfindel, gooderservice, Libby Shaw, imabluemerkin, paul2port, real world chick, PapaChach, JVolvo, plf515, armadillo, bleeding heart, MarciaJ720, ZombyWoof, myrealname, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, blue in NC, Turbonerd, onionjim, ChapiNation386, BlueMississippi, 5x5, blitz boy, DemocraticLuntz, profh, stlkaper, rsie, Persiflage, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, Lovo, HRs Kevin, fiddlingnero, means are the ends, RantNRaven, Dreaming of Better Days, kurt, Jbeaudill, lynneinfla, revgerry, airmarc, Statusquomustgo, AmySmith, PhilW, Bernie68, bstotts, Picot verde, HGM MA, Friend of the court, Intercaust, Temmoku, AllanTBG, markthshark, OHdog, Aaa T Tudeattack, NonnyO, Joelarama, DBunn, tegrat, ammasdarling, pale cold, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, YoyogiBear, out of left field, lightfoot, mochajava13, BeninSC, asilomar, bvljac, Cronesense, Fredly, Wanda517, Loudoun County Dem, Mr K, oscarsmom, byDesign, dmh44, tgypsy, Cottagerose, Opinionated Ed, possum, Tailspinterry, suburi, gloriana, Stwriley, yoduuuh do or do not, DoubleBarrellBunnyAnger, DvCM, la urracca, yowsta, Cofcos, HeartlandLiberal, Thunder Dreamer, Jimdotz, terabytes, greenchiledem, ezdidit, deepeco, DWG, londubh, newpioneer, Strabo, bnasley, RosyFinch, kingyouth, Drowning Wave, Seneca Doane, HCKAD, jayden, GMFORD, ubertar, second gen, vbdietz, tcdup, DemMarineVet, TheCorkBoard, mudslide, SeaTurtle, montanajen, jnhobbs, millwood, Moderation, gchaucer2, hopi13, DamnThatOjeda, MaskedKat, Got a Grip, Dar Nirron, leonard145b, Brahman Colorado, madgranny, wmholt, JML9999, TexasTwister, A Person, eyesoars, Empower Ink, Send Rahm a Cheesecake, JDWolverton, thankgodforairamerica, rogerdaddy, mconvente, gzodik, condorcet, JaxDem, DraftChickenHawks, Port City Moon, dotster, The Bagof Health and Politics, wayoutinthestix, mamamedusa, Youffraita, bythesea, Unique Material, Wes Opinion, skohayes, ajr111240, VL Baker, Deep Harm, Lujane, rssrai, royce, Haplogroup V, Cassandra Waites, smartdemmg, icebergslim, Jake Williams, pademocrat, pickandshovel, Jeff Y, Ladyhawk, rubine, ShempLugosi, mofembot, Seamus D, S C B, Spekkio, banger, SmileySam, Gemina13, xango715, Abra Crabcakeya, luckylizard, James Kresnik, Fortunalee, DixieDishrag, pelagicray, Keninoakland, Karl Rover, ptolemynm, Blueslide, A Man Called Gloom, Athenocles, dont think, In her own Voice, Acugal, billybam, sydneyluv, cactusflinthead, GrannyOPhilly, Diogenes2008, bucadibeppo, shortgirl, papicek, MicahT0078, statsone, Tennessee Dave, fayea, Johnny Venom, lostboyjim, oldliberal, LaFeminista, Old Woman, clent, FudgeFighter, maggiejean, SciMathGuy, Pris from LA, 1BQ, Turn Left, pileta, Psychotronicman, Ripeness Is All, smellybeast, loftT, number nine dream, Mr Tentacle, denisegreenbay, bushondrugs, aufklaerer, ARS, emboyo, divineorder, juca, An Affirming Flame, dark daze, chikindolfin, Gorilla in the room, DFH, theworksanddays, Partisan Progressive, sweeper, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, earicicle, mrchumchum, VoteAqui, markhaverty, WobegonGal, DefendOurConstitution, politicalrunt, Mercuriousss, GreenMtnState, delillo2000, BDsTrinity, geebeebee, marzook, MKSinSA, ZilV, Lopez99, sricki, obscuresportsquarterly, COwoman, IngeniousGirl, Shelley99, Keith Pickering, Joeytj, IreGyre, andrecole, KenInCO, Roxy Hope, maxzj05, serecovery, brushysage, sherijr, Tortmaster, spyguy999, Nonconformist, reesespcs, ravenlore, mahakali overdrive, CroftonPark, MizKit, davespicer, Enrika, Tommymac, math4barack, deviant24x, Exhausted Pennsylvanian, Leftcandid, LookingUp, sophistry makes me tired, Larsstephens, ozarkspark, Amber6541, gohmak, Lazar, BigVegan, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, sulthernao, ladygreenslippers, dalys, brentbent, swaminathan, ppl can fly, jbjowe, BrighidG, mamamorgaine, MariaWr, mudmanor, grassrootsnm, marabout40, spunout, p gorden lippy, flitedocnm, The Jester, NJpeach, drainflake77, amk for obama, cindiloohoo, seanwhit, SeattleTammy, japangypsy, Ladyna, yellowdogsal, citizen31, LeanneB, Crabby Abbey, wvmom, XajaX, Nestmaster, ko62, AZphilosopher, 2questions, ATFILLINOIS, RJP9999, polar bear, Eddie L, Klaus, dharmachord, ssentamu, OldLady in BC, samanthab, pixxer, elginblt, ItsSimpleSimon, paradise50, OnlyWords, Hoopgreen, scarlet slipper, DrFitz, DiegoUK, sharonsz, Jaimas, debbieleft, JRandomPoster, itswhatson, mideedah, Pay It Forward, nirbama, Betty Pinson, 19April1775, gereiztkind, MsGrin, BlueFranco, ericlewis0, Floande, USHomeopath, cocinero, NowThisIsHappening, DirkFunk, CA Berkeley WV, Dems in 08, TigerStar337, zora129, alexa100, slice, Nathan45, not2plato, tgrshark13, Rockpopple, rossl, indubitably, JerichoJ8, Onomastic, Reetz, fredlonsdale, the girl, Colorado is the Shiznit, I love OCD, Quite Contrary, StateofEuphoria, Bob Duck, ems97007, nicethugbert, Thassa, croyal, Wolf Of Aquarius, vahana, Massapequa Dem, anyname, La Gitane, Amayi, firemage, the national gadfly, QuestionAuthority, southernmapper, soothsayer99, FarWestGirl, yakimagrama, Sand Hill Crane, OhioNatureMom, near mrs, stella may, Poycer, two moms in Az, Victory of Renegades, thethinveil, trumpeter, Haf2Read, Veeajera, marleycat, elisathon, majii, Cinnamon Rollover, grottoes, Muskegon Critic, Santa Susanna Kid, theone718, incognita, dle2GA, Wheever, athena47, RfrancisR, floridablue, evilgalblues, essjay, MRA NY, worldlotus, Sark Svemes, IL JimP, Wide Awake in KY, corvaire, BCO, ilovecheese, jediwashuu, pensivelady, chira2, MinistryOfTruth, VTCC73, Andrew F Cockburn, TrahmalG, Wom Bat, bloomin, Atilla the Honey Bunny, cailloux, lincoln deschain, balmerUSA, That Korean Guy, StepLeftStepForward, thejoshuablog, callmemisty, DRo, Tom Seaview, RatCitySqueaker, Reliefpitcher, jaebone, MichaelNY, PatrickAaron, drawingporno, James Philip Pratt, Dakit, The Cheshire Cat, AnnetteK, jacey, QES, GenXangster, Caractacus, BadaBoom, daysey

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site