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Thread: The Trump Presidency

  1. #51
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    Source: FBI opens inquiry into Whitefish's Puerto Rico contract

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/30/politi...fbi/index.html


    If only people paid attention to politics just like when our other president was in office.

    But for those 2 that are still watching, how on earth did an 'energy company' who had 2 employees as of 2 weeks ago get such a huge contract? Nothing shady about that, right?

  2. #52

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    Some time ago, I posted here on th subject of tax reform, citing this article from the Rolling Stone:

    It goes way beyond inversion. The top names in American business – from Apple to Xerox – have joined in the greatest tax dodge in world history. Using clever accounting games, these corporations have siphoned majestic sums out of the country and into tax-haven shell companies – where the money is untouchable by the IRS.

    The numbers are staggering. More than $2 trillion in U.S.-based multinational profits currently sit in offshore accounts, representing, by credible estimates, in excess of $500 billion in unpaid taxes. If that money were deposited in federal coffers tomorrow, it would wipe out the deficit for 2014. And every year that Congress dithers on a crackdown, America is forfeiting an approximate $90 billion in revenue.

    [...]

    Contrary to what the term "offshore" might suggest, these untaxed profits are not stranded. "There's this false notion that these funds are locked in a strongbox somewhere," says Edward Kleinbard, a former chief of staff for Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation. In reality, these untaxed foreign profits are often banked, by the offshore subsidiaries themselves, in Manhattan – where they're used to invest in stocks and U.S. Treasury bonds. "The money," says Kleinbard, "is already back in the U.S. economy."

    Worse, equally convoluted accounting sleights of hand can be used to make the untaxed income – or at least its financial power – available to fund daily corporate operations in the U.S., or just enrich shareholders. The ratings agency Standard & Poor's recently coined a term to describe this practice: "synthetic cash repatriation."

    [...]

    The analysis reveals that the biggest names in corporate America are boycotting the U.S. tax system, en masse. Top offenders include giants from high-tech (Microsoft, $76 billion); Big Pharma (Pfizer, $69 billion); Big Oil (Exxon*Mobil, $47 billion); investment banks (Goldman Sachs, $22 billion); Big Tobacco (Philip Morris, $20 billion); discount retailers (Wal-Mart, $19 billion); fast-food chains (McDonald's, $16 billion) – even heavy machinery (Caterpillar, $17 billion). General Electric has $110 billion stashed offshore, and enjoys an effective tax rate of four percent – 31 points lower than its statutory obligation to the IRS.

    [...]

    Many in corporate America justify this rampant tax dodging by arguing that the 35 percent corporate tax rate in the U.S. is too high. In reality, our system offers big corporations so many other tax favors that the effective tax multinationals pay on their U.S. profits is often lower than what the same companies pay in other developed nations. "The constant corporate whining that they're overtaxed in the United States," McIntyre says, "is bullshit."

    [...]

    The great corporate tax dodge exploded under the presidency of George W. Bush. By 2004, American multinationals had siphoned hundreds of billions of dollars offshore. Far from cracking down, the Republican Congress rewarded corporate tax dodgers with a "repatriation tax holiday." Multinationals were invited to bring home their overseas earnings – to be taxed at a measly 5.25 percent.

    This tax giveaway was part of Bush's American Jobs Creation Act and sold to the public as a way to provide a shot in the arm to the U.S. economy. More than $300 billion came home – nearly 80 percent of it from locations the U.S. government considers tax havens. But the tax holiday didn't spur investment, growth or jobs. In fact, the top 15 participants, after bringing home a collective $150 billion, proceeded to slash 20,000 jobs. The act did little more than make rich investors even richer. A huge proportion of each repatriated dollar – between 60 and 92 cents – wound up in the hands of shareholders.
    And here we are, three years later, looking at a potential repeat of the same failed tax "reform" by granting another "tax holiday" and essentially codifying the loophole which made offshoring profits possible to begin with, as outlined in The Ignorance of Trump’s Vague Tax Plan:

    For the rest of this year, Washington will be engaging in another sporadic spasm of tax reform. The White House has made clear that a major tax bill is now its highest priority. Under President Trump’s byline, an op-ed in USA Today laid out the tax goal in triumphal, vague language: “We want you to spend your valuable time pursuing your dreams, not trapped in a tax compliance nightmare.” There are a few more details in the Treasury Department’s “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.” The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that the plan would cut federal revenue by trillions of dollars, and that “those with the very highest incomes would receive the biggest tax cuts.” A change to the tax code would begin in the House Ways and Means Committee, whose chairman, Kevin Brady, promises passage by early December. Passage will likely be far more challenging in the Senate, where a two-vote majority means that a bill cannot alienate moderates or hard-line conservatives, and that every wavering Republican can bargain for huge benefits for favored constituents and supporters.

    [...]

    The Trump Administration’s Unified Framework has far too little detail to analyze properly—it’s only eight pages. But there is enough to show that the plan would surely make Ramsey unhappy. For one thing, it is filled with short-term giveaways, special time-limited gifts for corporations. It will allow large companies that have kept billions in savings overseas to repatriate that money to the U.S. with a special tax holiday. Most economists disdain this sort of short-term solution because it incentivizes the richest companies to do precisely the opposite of what average citizens would want. Huge companies—most notably Apple—have spent years and millions of dollars designing complex tax schemes to hide their money overseas and then lobbying members of Congress to give them exactly this kind of giveaway. That’s the opposite of how Ramsey would want a tax system to work: it is entirely distortionary, and represents a huge waste of money and political muscle used to carve out benefits that serve a tiny few.

    That is only one of many regressive measures in Trump’s proposal. The Unified Framework would create a special tax status for an oddly specific sort of company: a foreign firm in which an American company has a ten-per-cent or greater ownership share. Investors in such companies can fully write off their dividends. If this is confusing, that’s precisely the point. It’s the sort of complex tax engineering that will pay off for a small minority while most of the population remains oblivious. It will likely encourage Americans rich enough to conduct tax optimization to put far more of their investments in overseas companies with minority American ownership, which will allow them to receive their dividends tax-free, saving the wealthiest millions.
    SO SEAL, ANY COMMENTS?



    I thought so.

  3. #53

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    Trump admin scraps Obama-era proposal requiring airlines to disclose bag fees
    BY MELANIE ZANONA - 12/08/17 12:06 PM EST

    The Trump administration has scrapped an Obama-era proposal requiring airlines and ticket agencies to disclose baggage fees as soon as passengers start the process of buying a ticket.

    The Department of Transportation (DOT) posted a notice on the Federal Register this week that it is withdrawing the proposed rule, along with another plan to force air carriers to disclose how much revenue they make from charging other ancillary fees.

    The administration, which has made easing regulatory burdens for businesses a top priority, said the rules would have “limited public benefit.”

    Airlines are already required to disclose information about optional service fees on their websites. But consumer groups say it’s still difficult for passengers to compare airfare ticket prices, fees and associated rules, and have pushed for more transparency at the start of the process.

    And while airlines are required to disclose to federal regulators how much money they make from baggage fees, they are not required to report how much they charge for “optional” services, such as carry-on bags, seat selection and priority boarding, which have grown in recent years.

    The DOT’s effort to kill the pair of Obama-era proposals drew ire from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has been one of the leading voices in Congress pushing for airline consumer protections

    “Unbelievable. Pulling the plug on rules that would ensure airlines are open and honest about bag fees and other charges is about as anti-consumer as it gets,” Blumenthal tweeted. “The Trump Admin’s reckless reversal is a gift for the airlines’ bottom line — and a slap in the face for travelers who deserve clarity when buying a ticket."

    http://thehill.com/policy/transporta...es-to-disclose

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Quagga View Post
    Trump admin scraps Obama-era proposal requiring airlines to disclose bag fees
    BY MELANIE ZANONA - 12/08/17 12:06 PM EST

    The Trump administration has scrapped an Obama-era proposal requiring airlines and ticket agencies to disclose baggage fees as soon as passengers start the process of buying a ticket.

    The Department of Transportation (DOT) posted a notice on the Federal Register this week that it is withdrawing the proposed rule, along with another plan to force air carriers to disclose how much revenue they make from charging other ancillary fees.

    The administration, which has made easing regulatory burdens for businesses a top priority, said the rules would have “limited public benefit.”

    Airlines are already required to disclose information about optional service fees on their websites. But consumer groups say it’s still difficult for passengers to compare airfare ticket prices, fees and associated rules, and have pushed for more transparency at the start of the process.

    And while airlines are required to disclose to federal regulators how much money they make from baggage fees, they are not required to report how much they charge for “optional” services, such as carry-on bags, seat selection and priority boarding, which have grown in recent years.

    The DOT’s effort to kill the pair of Obama-era proposals drew ire from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has been one of the leading voices in Congress pushing for airline consumer protections

    “Unbelievable. Pulling the plug on rules that would ensure airlines are open and honest about bag fees and other charges is about as anti-consumer as it gets,” Blumenthal tweeted. “The Trump Admin’s reckless reversal is a gift for the airlines’ bottom line — and a slap in the face for travelers who deserve clarity when buying a ticket."

    http://thehill.com/policy/transporta...es-to-disclose
    The problem is, people like Chucky take Greyhound, so they don't know about the impact of baggage fees.

    He travels in Food 4 Less plastic bags when he goes on trips, thus not subjected to bag fees.

  5. #55

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    ‘He Would Probably Be a Dictator by Now’
    Two charter leaders of the #NeverTrump movement assess Year One.
    By SUSAN B. GLASSER
    December 18, 2017

    Last year, Eliot Cohen rallied dozens of fellow veterans of Republican administrations, people like him who had served in the upper reaches of the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council, to warn against Donald Trump winning the White House. He would become, the group open letter Cohen organized said, “the most reckless president in American history.”

    A year later, Cohen, a top official in President George W. Bush’s administration, and another charter #NeverTrump proselytizer, his fellow conservative Max Boot, hardly back down when asked whether their predictions of global gloom and doom had been proven right in the first year of the Trump presidency. Both men, lifelong Republicans and historically minded policy intellectuals, offered unequivocal yeses in a joint interview for this week’s Global Politico podcast – and castigated former friends inside the party they’ve both now renounced as “Vichy Republicans” for collaborating with a president they believe is not fit to hold office.

    Boot pronounced Trump both “incredibly erratic and unpredictable,” though he allowed that “some of the worst-case scenarios that we imagined have yet, mercifully, come to pass.” Just because Trump has not yet destroyed NATO, launched a trade war with China or torn up NAFTA, lifted sanctions on Russia in a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin, or started a war with North Korea, Boot argued, does not mean he won’t.

    “It’s true, they haven’t started World War III yet,” Cohen added. “That’s a pretty low bar.”

    If anything, I found the two even more terrified about the Trump presidency at the end of Year One – filled with the sort of to-the-barricades warnings I’m still not used to hearing from learned defense wonks like Boot, who’s spent a career advising politicians like Republican Senator John McCain from establishment precincts like the Wall Street Journal op-ed page and the Council on Foreign Relations. “In many ways,” Boot said, “the damage he’s doing at home is even worse, where he’s undermining the rule of law. He’s obstructing justice. He’s lending the support of the presidency to monsters like Roy Moore. He is exacerbating race relations. He is engaging in the most blatant xenophobia, racism and general bigotry that we have seen from the White House.”

    “All these things,” he added, “are very corrosive to the future of American democracy.”

    Throughout the wide-ranging conversation, they addressed the toll – personal as well as political – that Trump’s takeover of their party has had, from broken friendships” and Republican officeholders “who have permanently sullied themselves” to a GOP unmoored from basic principles like free trade and promotion of democracy that were long seen as its bedrock precepts. Cohen talked of his own “permanently ruptured” relationships as a consequence of Trump, not to mention the sad spectacle of “spineless” careerists taking jobs with a man they don’t believe in, while Boot elaborated on the “disorienting experience” of having close friends who’ve “gone off the rails” – a split worse than any, he argued, since the Vietnam war. Cohen disagreed, but only because he saw the divide caused by Trump hearkening back even further, to the foreign policy debates of the inward-looking 1920s and 30s that caused America to be dangerously unprepared on the brink of World War II.

    Weren’t they being just a bit hysterical about the negative consequences of Trump, I pressed Boot?

    “Look,” he responded, “the good news story of the first year of the Trump presidency is that there are checks and balances…. Trump as a personality type is probably no different from a Mussolini, a Peron, a Chavez. And if you were operating in Argentina or Italy, he would probably be a dictator by now. But luckily, he’s not operating in those countries.”

    It’s not exactly an upbeat portrait of the world after a year of Trump, but I found it to be a bracing discussion with two of the president’s most incisive – and relentless – critics, and you can read the rest of our conversation below.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/st...-by-now-216113

  6. #56

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    Here is a little sarcastic musical commentary on the Trump presidency. Actually, the songs were originally recorded several years ago, but they apply now. These people are so predictable.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WYuE5J4nJU

  7. #57
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    Vote again in 3 years. Good luck.

  8. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by tpfishnfool View Post
    Vote again in 3 years. Good luck.

  9. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by tpfishnfool View Post
    Vote again in 3 years. Good luck.
    It seems like they should aim their energy somewhere more productive. Their long, high-pitched complaining cry is tiresome. I have noticed it inundates this section.

  10. #60

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    Could you possibly have put your comment in more of a sexist, dog whistle way, Commiechew? Because of your bias, you "hear" well thought, rational words as being "high pitched" i.e. feminine and therefore -- in your mind -- apparently the product of irrationally emotional, feminine people (even if they happen to be men). Good luck supporting the party of the rich white businessman in all its perfidy and self-righteous egotism. Meanwhile, it seems like the energy of these "complainers" is pretty well aimed, to me.
    "
    Last edited by Natural Lefty; 12-21-2017 at 06:55 PM.

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