Monday, January 12, 2009

Links - Jan 12

** Also see our searchable archive of past story summaries, and Offshore Watch for more stories. **

Investment Tax Cuts Help Mostly the Rich
Jan 10 (NY Times) – According to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office, in 2005 the top one-tenth of 1 percent of taxpayers — a group that included those with after-tax incomes of more than $1.5 million — reported $335 billion in capital gains, or just over half the total amount of capital gains. By contrast, the bottom 95 percent of the income distribution — those with incomes under $126,300 — had just $69 billion in capital gains, about 10 percent of the total.

Why Are the Media More Interested in Blago Than in Unraveling the Bailout Mystery?
Jan 11 (Huffington Post) - As a GAO report last month concluded: "The rapid pace of implementation and evolving nature of the program have hampered efforts to put a comprehensive system of internal control in place. Until such a system is fully developed and implemented, there is heightened risk that the interests of the government and taxpayers may not be adequately protected and that the program objectives may not be achieved in an efficient and effective manner." The money is flying out the door but no one is watching where it's going. Naomi Klein adds more frightening stuff here.

A blue emerald
Jan 11 (FT) - Fired up by European Union investment, low corporation taxes and light regulation, the Irish attracted investment – and tax revenue – from around the world. But Ireland is now particularly exposed to the recession.

Probe widened on US banking violation
Jan 11 (FT) - A US investigation into potential sanctions violations has expanded to involve nine European banks. Authorities suspect that some of the money transferred through the American banking system might have been used to finance Iran’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Lloyds in $350m US settlement
Jan 9 (FT) _ Lloyds TSB will pay $350m to settle US investigations after admitting it enabled Iranian and Sudanese clients to access the US banking system in violation of US sanctions, prosecutors said on Friday. The process made it appear that transactions originated at Lloyds in the UK rather than the sanctioned banks

What to look for in proposed tax breaks
Jan 8 (Niemanwatchdog) - Multinationals are pushing to make it easier to shift profits abroad by replacing the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles we now use with International Financial Reporting Standards, which allow much greater “flexibility.” The press need to ask why we are not going to a worldwide tax system, sometimes called combined reporting, that would eliminate shifting profits overseas. They also need to ask whether it wouldn’t be far more stimulative to eliminate most of the corporate tax subsidies and lower tax rates on everyone.

Exxon CEO Advocates carbon Tax
Jan 9 (WSJ) - The chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. for the first time called on Congress to enact a tax on greenhouse-gas emissions in order to fight global warming. Rex Tillerson said that a tax was a "more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach." How times change.



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