Thursday, December 31, 2015

Avoiding Taxes Worldwide

What do Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, Fiat and many other corporations have in common? They all know how to dodge paying their taxes or at most pay very little taxes. One way they do this is to have their headquarters in very low tax nations, such as Ireland. This is about to change. The European Union’s (EU) 28 states agreed in October to share details of tax deals they reached with big companies to make sure they are fair to other countries. The EU has already ordered Starbucks and Fiat to pay millions in back taxes. Italy is making Apple pay $350 million in back taxes. The other way to avoid paying taxes is by using Bermuda as a tax haven. Microsoft stores billions in an entity named R.I. Holdings. It is a law firm in Hamilton, Bermuda, a UK territory that charges no corporate taxes. Microsoft has places like this to hide its money so it does not have to pay taxes around the world. This is just some of the ways large corporations and their stock holders and chief executive officers (CEO) get richer each year and enlarge their companies’ holdings. For CEOs, their plan is to scrap employees’ pension plans in favor of a much less generous pension and riskier 401Ks or no benefits at all. This boost companies’ profits and stock prices, which further boosts the value of the executives’ stock based pay, which is free of taxes. For example, John Hammergren of the drug wholesaling giant McKesson, who froze the workers’ pension fund and closing it to new hires, and during the years generated a pension plan for himself worth $145 million or $819,243 a month versus the average wave slaves’ Social Security check of $1,400 a month, who will not get a cost of living raise for the third time in 40 years Social Security’s history. The 100 best paid CEOs’ retirement accounts are equivalent to the entire retirement savings of the bottom 41 percent of American families. The average CEO’s retirement fund in this top tier is worth 49.3 million. People on Social Security are just asking for their 3.9 percent annual increase of about $49 a month versus $49.3 million. Just how long will the Have Littles put up with this theft and greed? Think of Senator Bernie Sanders and don’t rely on Fox news to tell you what is good for you because their version of what’s good for you is not in your best interests. Why is it these people want to privatize Social Security to the Stock Market, which will see your hard earned money drained from your accounts by the professional hucksters. The new year could be the tipping point, but only if we stand up for ourselves and demand the $15 to $18 an hour minimum wage, free education, single-payer healthcare, and compensation for our Commons, which is owed to every American.