Interrupting Infinity Exclusive Commentary. © 2011 by David St.-Lascaux
Satire by David St.-Lascaux
… But Keep Coddling Corporations, Who Are, After All, Just Folks
By Wally Buffoon
re: Warren Buffett, New York Times, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” August 14, 2011 (August 15, 2011 print edition)
WHERE I COME FROM, WE HAVE A SAYING that what you don’t know can hurt you more than what you do. What I didn’t say to you in my recent New York Times op-ed was really telling, but rubes clinging-to-my-every-word that you are, you didn’t notice.
What I didn’t say is that corporations, the richest “persons” (indeed they legally are, my merely human friends, as my fellow mega-rich human “person” friend Mitt Romney pointed out, for example, under Massachusetts statute M GLC 272, §99 [B13]) in America, are paying squat in taxes, but if I had pointed that out, I would’ve lost actual friends. Such canny sub-subcontractors of Chinese robots (cheaper than even socialist Chinese labor) as “Mr. Apple Computer” ($337.2 billion), and my taxpayer subsidized “Welfare Queen” petrochemical girlfriend, “Miss Exxon Mobil” ($330.8 billion), make decent, human persons like Sr. Carlos Slim ($74 billion), Mr. Bill Gates ($56 billion) and me ($50 billion) look like losers. I can tell you this: playing bridge with these bigshots isn’t fun, what with “Happy Appy” counting cards; and being on the slopes with them at Davos is even less so, given “Exxie’s” global warming spoilsport snowmelting pranks.
How well are these “persons” doing? According to my non-rich and therefore non-friend and journalistic flea Frank Rich in New York magazine, for example, “General Electric” paid zero on $14.2 billion in profits while deleting 20 percent of “his” U.S. workforce since 2002. Let’s see, that’s a tax rate of — zero. Even I pay more taxes than that. Shouldn’t “The General” go to jail for that, along with the still-employed 80 percent of “his” parasitic human “capital” (every corporate “person” knows that hiring and philanthropy — and government and society — are socialist) that comprises “his” corporate “body”? You would, if you didn’t pay. (I wouldn’t, since it would be “Messrs. Deloitte & Touche, LLP’s” fault.)
And “Mr. Accenture” (New York, domiciled in Dublin), and “Herr Ace Limited” (Philadelphia, domiciled in Zurich), and the raft of ultrawealthy “persons” who have fancy offices in America’s biggest cities and are domiciled offshore to avoid — you guessed it — taxes? According to the Government Accountability Office, as quoted by Carol D. Leonnig in the Washington Post two years ago, such tax-avoidant “persons” include those bailed out by taxpayers: “Mr. American International Group,” “Mr. Bank O. America,” “Mr. Citigroup” and “Mr. Morgan Stanley” (at last: a corporate “person” with a real warm and cuddly human name). In fact, according to WaPo,
“Of the 100 largest public companies, 83 do business in tax-haven hotspots like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands, where they can move their income into tax-free accounts.”
Not worth mentioning.
And how about Dick Cheney’s former corporation, “Sheik Halliburton”? Faced with the threat of lawsuits and ongoing bad publicity, “he” (my hand-holding pal “Hal”) simply moved “his” executive headquarters to Dubai in 2007 (how soon we forget), while (and I quote) “maintaining” “incorporation” (you’ve got to appreciate this diabolic term with its bodily association) in the U.S. So much for patriotism; I didn’t mention it because I don’t think you need to be reminded.
I did tip my hand a bit. I revealed that I know that less than one percent (236,883) of households take in more than $1 million per annum.
Off the record, I also know that the $1.9 trillion stash of cash that our corporate “friends” hold is obscene, given that five percent of the persons (i.e., real ones) own over 70 percent of the stuff (Domhoff, UCSC), that a whopping two-thirds of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings (National Foundation for Credit Counseling), that the three major minorities (blacks, Hispanics and Asians) in America have lost over 50 percent of their wealth since 2006, which now amounts to under for $6,000 for blacks (Pew Research Center). And that according to Jeff Zandi of Moody’s Analytics as quoted by Stephanie Clifford in the New York Times, 60 percent of consumption is done by the top 20 percent of Americans, so you know whom to blame for the lack of spending in the current economy: actual rich persons and their corporate “friends.”
I also revealed — by what I failed to transparently disclose to you (not my first time, according to Joe Nocera in the Times) — a huge untapped potential source of revenue: corporate income, which according to my statistics amounts to less than 20 percent of total tax revenues, while personal and payroll taxes amount to 80 percent. Common sense dictates that any American corporate “person” who employs non-citizens and/or has operations offshore should be taxed punitively to the painful hilt, and that our fellow corporate “citizens” — unless they’re “traitors” in the current global economic war (or perhaps “themselves” America’s enemies within) — should be forced to pay taxes at the same rates as the rest of us — with no loopholes, given that “they” obviously aren’t investing “their” monies (earned for “them” by, and on the backs of real human person workers) in America or American jobs.
The truth is that I like my unemploying corporate and unemployed investor “pals” more than I like the rest of you gullible, vote-against-yourselves Americans anyway. After all, I’m “Mr. Berkshire Hathaway’s” ($136.2 billion) dad. “He” only paid 29.4 percent in income taxes, not including the $50 mil “he” “realized” (he certainly didn’t “earn” it [work and wages are for chumps]: that would make it subject to income taxes) from equity method investments (2010 10-K). If “he” alone had paid 39.6 percent (of course, the Tax Relief Act of 2010 reduced the top rate to 35! Whew!), it would’ve netted Uncle Sam almost another $2 billion (or $4.5 billion at 52.8 percent, the 1968-9 corporate rate). Funny, I didn’t mention that either, but this is just satire.
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David St.-Lascaux is an author and critic with the Brooklyn Rail.
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note misspelling Warren Buffet….
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