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You remember Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, right? Co-chairs of the National Fiscal Commission bearing their name? The austerity freaks who want to eviscerate Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and every other New Deal or Great Society program designed to keep people out of poverty or from falling further into it? They're also the co-founders of the Fix the Debt operation financed by billionaire Pete Peterson, who launched the private equity firm Blackstone Group in 1985 with Stephen Schwarzman (who three years ago compared raising taxes to “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939”). Peterson knows about fixing debt out of experience because that's what so many private equity firms do, load up the companies they buy with debt and then loot them.

While they keep pushing their plans to hack away at lifelines for Americans in the lower income tiers with debt scare-mongering, they've also got a plan to shift the nation to a territorial corporate tax plan. Under that plan, according to a new study, 59 of the 93 companies partnered with Fix the Debt holding hundreds of billions of profits in overseas accounts would harvest as much as an additional $173 billion. That's so because those profits would go untaxed.

The report, authored by Sarah Anderson, Scott Klinger and Javier Rojo at the leftist Institute for Policy Studies, is appropriately titled Corporate Pirates of the Caribbean. The pirates' objective: Bigger safety nets for corporations-are-people built on the shreds of the safety net for real people.

The IPS study is untrue, according to one of the principals at Fix the Debt:

Maya MacGuineas, a spokeswoman for the initiative and a budget expert who has worked with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, called the IPS report “nothing more than lies and mudslinging” in an email statement to HuffPost. Wednesday’s report was the latest in a series from IPS accusing Fix the Debt of pushing for reforms that benefit its members.

“In reality, the Fix the Debt campaign takes no position on how foreign income should be taxed and has repeatedly called for reducing, not expanding, corporate and individual tax breaks in the context of a broader deficit reduction deal,” she wrote.

While Fix the Debt conveniently does not formally endorse specific plans for anything, characterizing the territorial tax proposal as "mudslinging" when the co-chairs of the Simpsons-Bowles Commission are also co-founders of Fix the Debt operation is pretty danged hilarious. If only they could shield their objectives as well the partner corporations can shield their profits, they wouldn't have to put up with the irksome naysayers.
The five companies that benefit the most of tax havens
Below the fold are some proposed solutions.

Who benefits from the plan? It's not Main Street. Less than two in a thousand businesses (0.16 percent), IPS states. Which is why a March 2013 poll commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council and Main Street Alliance found that 85 percent of small business owners oppose a territorial tax system, including 67 percent of self-identified Republican owners.

The study concludes with recommended support for three already introduced pieces of legislation:

Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act (S. 250, H.R. 694) introduced by independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. By ending the deferral of taxes on overseas profits, the Joint Committee on Taxation figures this would raise $590 billion over the next 10 years.

Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act (S. 268) introduced by Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. Included in these stopped loopholes would be those that allow shifting profits overseas to avoid taxes. The JCOT estimates this would raise $189 billion over the next 10 years.

Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (H.R. 1554) introduced by Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas. This would get rid of bogus accounting practices used to avoid taxes. Estimated revenue gained over 10 years: $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion.

The pirates, of course, view these reasonable measures as akin to being keel-hauled. And they're eager to deep-six these ideas so they can keep burying their treasure on those islands out of reach of the tax collector. That means "fixing the debt" will be done on the backs of those least able to afford it. An old and still infuriating story.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  after all the money they pour into (21+ / 0-)

    spying on us, they don't have a freaking leg to stand on.

    And that's the polite version.

    Defending the theft of our freedom by the government is not a legitimate difference of opinion on a political matter -- it is a deeply un-American attitude that deserves nothing but scorn and derision.--Dallasdoc

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:04:06 PM PDT

  •  Oh they won't deep-six the ideas... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Laconic Lib, KJG52, Kombema

    They'll simply stick them on a deserted senate committee with no co-sponsors and no press support, and a pistol with a single shot.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:04:43 PM PDT

  •  Trying to find a comment to write (14+ / 0-)

    that expresses my utter disgust of the meg-corps.

    Can't decide on a rant or snark.

    Maybe a simple KISS MY ASS corporate pirates will suffice for now.

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:08:06 PM PDT

  •  Austerity is theft from the middle class (15+ / 0-)

    They smile and pick your pocket, then arrange the game so they win.  

    Fuck 'em.

    Thanks for the post.  I get furious at these guys.

  •  We keep putting band-aids on the decapitation (12+ / 0-)

    ..and celebrating little victories.

    The Ship of State has been torpedoed by the Oligarchs, the Plutocrats, Corporations without countries, the Banksters, and the Über-wealthy.

    Duct-tape isn't going to save it.

    I don't  know what can.

    We've got to get organized! -Jonathon Winters, The Russians are Coming

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:11:43 PM PDT

  •  We can not afford these rich corporations who (11+ / 0-)

    wamt to cut the  Social Safety Net: the day is coming when we will punish them and take away their monstrous perk tax breaks.

  •  Microsoft (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, 714day, Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean

    really? Does the philanthropist Bill Gates still own that company?
    Did I miss the sale of it? Why would he do something like this?

    May today be greater than yesterday, and tomorrow be greater than both! Go Ravens!

    by secret38b on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:25:54 PM PDT

    •  Bill and Melinda can afford to be philanthropists. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean

      They have armies of tax lawyers cooking up schemes to minimize their contribution to the national kitty. Can you imagine an uber-wealthy sort who isn't convinced she/he knows the best way to spend the money they make? (Not that we don't all feel somewhat the same, it's just that for middle class and poor citizens, tax obligations cut into the household my mind that is a huge difference.)
      Why would Microsoft be any different than Apple, though?

  •  Bowles.. Simpson... Simpson... hmm... (6+ / 0-)

    rings a bell...

    lemme think...

    OH YEAH!  They headed the Deficit Commission that (D) President Obama created and staffed with anti-social program zealots!

    Now I remember!

    Waking Up Yet?

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 04:39:23 PM PDT

  •  This may be a bit OT, but it does have to do with (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Wolf10, Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean


    The Michigan lege is working on a bill to piss test all those that  are recipient of cash assistants. IIRC when Florida did this they found that less then .oo? % were using drugs. I also seem to recall a court shouting it down as not legal.

    Anyone with links or info please Kosmail me as I plan to write my state critters about the waste of money to score what is nothing more then a tea bagger talking point.



  •  The pols don't seem to bother much with the ruse (4+ / 0-)

    that they stand up for Jane/Joe Average anymore. The taxpayer checkbook is theirs to play with so why should they? They have long since lost the notion that this is what they do with OUR money. They really don't connect and we don't do a damned thing about it except grouse. They can handle a little grumbling however much they resent it and find it to be an affront to their preciousness.

  •  Word is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... Republican chairman Dave Camp of the Ways and Means committee has told his staff not to schedule any more meetings with the Fix the Debt crowd, because he's tired of being lobbied on repatriation of foreign profits etc.

    Methinks Maya's protestations are misleading.  She's getting them in the door under the banner of austerity, and they're changing the subject to special interest.

  •  The belief that mega-corporations are needed to (4+ / 0-)

    be competitive in a world market-place is a neoliberal piece of cant that along with deregulation started with the Carter administration and has been "villager wisdom," ever since. Bill Clinton pushed through NAFTA and continued the Reagan/Bush policy of not investigating or prosecuting corporations for monopoly behavior which continues as "policy," to this day. The concentration of economic power in  the US is the policy of this government and to believe that R's or D's will stop this drift to the right is to believe that the  political status quo is contested by one or the other party, it is ludicrous.

    The TPP that Elizabeth Warren wants to have reviewed publicly by Congress will advance the further concentration of economic power and change the tax treatment of earnings by US corporations in foreign nations without passing any domestic legislation. The share of tax revenue derived from corporate revenues has dropped consistently since Ronald Reagan's Presidency and neither Republicans nor Democrats have opposed this trend. In fact, Clinton and Bush both hailed this fact as a triumph of American government policy.

    The people of the US have been betrayed by their government in the name of "free markets," for over thirty years, that Pete Peterson and his shills are trying to finish the job now is no surprise. The policy of concentration of wealth, deregulation, privatization and a political system that rewards raising money for campaigning over effective governance has gutted the power of the American people to hold their government responsible for its actions. Coupled with the concentration  of media and the surveillance and prosecution of whistle-blowers, we have lost the ability to  even discover who to hold specifically accountable for the decline of our freedoms, legal system or economic decline.


    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:20:09 PM PDT

    •  Spot on... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean

      "While Fix the Debt conveniently does not formally endorse specific plans for anything, characterizing the territorial tax proposal as "mudslinging" when the co-chairs of the Simpsons-Bowles Commission are also co-founders of Fix the Debt operation is pretty danged hilarious."

      And disingenuous.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 05:45:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They are NOT pirates...they are THIEVES (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean

    I know, I post this every time I see someone here use the term "pirate" to describe the right wing. They are NOT pirates. Pirates are the folks who fought AGAINST people like the right wing.

    See, back in the day guys who went to sea had few options but the Navy of their country. They were often ill treated and poorly paid. What did they do? they bucked against their masters and went off on their own.

    Pirates were the Robin Hood of the seas, stealing from the rich and giving to others. They were responsible for making the economies of some island nations prosper.

    And pirates were actually much like Democrats (at least the good ones).

    Unlike traditional Western societies of the time, many Caribbean pirate crews of European descent operated as limited democracies. Pirate communities were some of the first to instate a system of checks and balances similar to the one used by the present-day United States and many other countries. The first record of such a government aboard a pirate sloop dates to the 17th century.
    Both the captain and the quartermaster were elected by the crew. They, in turn, appointed the other ship's officers. The captain of a pirate ship was often a fierce fighter in whom the men could place their trust, rather than a more traditional authority figure sanctioned by an elite. However, when not in battle, the quartermaster usually had the real authority. Many groups of pirates shared in whatever they seized. Pirates injured in battle thus might be afforded special compensation similar to medical or disability insurance.
    There are contemporary records that many pirates placed a portion of any captured money into a central fund that was used to compensate the injuries sustained by the crew. Lists show standardized payments of 600 pieces of eight ($156,000 in modern currency) for the loss of a leg down to 100 pieces ($26,800) for loss of an eye. Often all of these terms were agreed upon and written down by the pirates, but these articles could also be used as incriminating proof that they were outlaws.
    OK, that was from wiki, but here's another from Mental Floss.

    Today's corporate raiders are nothing more than common thieves - men (mostly) with no values or morals, with a  love of money and nothing more. Damn the people, damn the environment, damn the nation, it's all what they can get and who they can screw.

    So please, while it may be fun to claim folks like Romney, Boehner, corporate CEO's and others on the right are pirates, they are not. They are scum, worthy only of a walk on the plank!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:20:36 PM PDT

  •  Territorial Taxation & a Corporate Tax.. (3+ / 0-)

    ..Holiday are two of the worst economic proposals that could be devised. They'll shift a greate tax burden to the working folk, send much neede jobs overseas and it's tax evasion by the 1%ers plain and simple.

    A recent New York Times editorial  about corporate tax avoidance panned two proposals a “territorial” tax system  and a tax repatriation holiday that some U.S.-based multinational companies are backing.

    Opinion from the Center on Budget and Policy Prioirities:

    We heartily agree with the Times’ assessment that these proposals could worsen an already flawed corporate tax structure.
    Image Hosted by

    From the New York Times article:

    Even before last week’s Senate hearing on Apple, it was clear that the aggressive use of tax havens and other tax avoidance tactics had become standard operating procedure for global American companies.
    A tax holiday in 2005 dropped the rate from 35 percent to 5.25 percent, enticing corporations to repatriate some $300 billion. It was billed as a way to create jobs and boost investment, but it was a total policy failure.
    Worse, that tax holiday encouraged American companies to come up with even more ways to shift profits abroad in anticipation of a second tax holiday.
    The CBPP articles gets more into the details of  the fiscal and economic risks of both the “repatriation” tax  holiday and the territorial tax being sought by corporations. Both plans stink. Plans that would cause even more hardship on working folks by placing an even greater burden  on those already struggling.

    And both proposals do nothing but increase wealth disparity hurt the US economy,  send jobs and investment overseas.

    I hope Democrats get it together and hammer all three of these proposals by Bernie Sanders, Lloyd Doggett, Sheldon Whitehouse and others until there is no doubt in America's mind who is looking out for the workers and who is a complete shill for corporations.

    A message: The 1%ers refuse to pay their taxes and now want to get rid of your Social Security & Medicare. Republicans are helping then get away with it. Don't let them

    Thx MB

    P.S. It may have been billed" as a way to create jobs last time in 2005. But imo that was a lie then and it is a lie today.

    Also too: Pete Peterson @ Fix the Debt. is a greedy fucking liar and a thief



    CBPP: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: - May 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm

  •  This is simply beyond the pale. These "guys" (0+ / 0-)

    have officially moved into qualifying as literally sleazy lowlifes. This is organized crime at its best. It disgusts me more than I can find words to describe. It's not enough that most of them have more money than they could spend in a lifetime, it has become a game to them. These uber wealthy, bored corporatist gazillionaires have made the rest of us their entertainment. Just how much can they put over on the in-fighting, ignorant masses while they mock us and suck us dry, rape and pillage the earth, all the while sneering at us in utter disdain and finally spitting on our desiccated carcass. They probably have a betting pool with a buy in of $1.00. Does anyone know where we can get a good deal on a guillotine or two? Just to set out for display as a reminder of course.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy -7.8., -6.6

    by helpImdrowning on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 02:05:58 AM PDT

  •  Rec'd, bookmarked for community edu. Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

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