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Outrage At Microsoft Offshoring Tax In the UK, Google Caught Avoiding US Taxes 768

Master Of Ninja writes "After the ongoing row about companies not paying a fair share of tax in the United Kingdom, and with companies such as Starbucks, Amazon and Google being in the headlines, focus has now turned to Microsoft. Whilst the tax arrangements are strictly legal, there has been outrage on how companies are avoiding paying their fair share of tax generated in the country." And over here in the U.S., dstates sent in news of Google getting caught doing something similar: "Bloomberg reports that Google is using Bermuda shell companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes worldwide. By routing payments and recording profits in zero-tax havens, multinational companies have been avoiding double digit corporate taxes in the U.S. and Europe. Congressional hearings were held in July on the destructive consequences of off-shoring profits. Why aren't the U.S. and Europe exerting more diplomatic pressure on these tax havens that are effectively stealing from the U.S. and European treasuries by allowing profits that did not result from activities in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands to be recorded as occurring there?"
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Outrage At Microsoft Offshoring Tax In the UK, Google Caught Avoiding US Taxes

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  • by Press2ToContinue ( 2424598 ) * on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:51PM (#42247769)

    "Why aren't the US and Europe exerting more diplomatic pressure on these tax havens...?"

    Because where else would US politicians offshore their income? []

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:55PM (#42247795)
    Pretty much this, anytime someone talks about getting politicians to raise taxes on the top 2% they are talking about getting politicians to raise taxes on themselves. Just look at the income of anyone in any law making or policy making decision in the government and it is no wonder that the middle class and poor have a higher tax rate than the wealthy elite.
  • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:59PM (#42247813)

    So... lower corporate tax rates to the point where it's not worth the bother of jumping through these hoops.

  • by faedle ( 114018 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:59PM (#42247831) Homepage Journal

    Hate to tell you this, but Obama isn't exactly a 99%er either.

  • by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:00PM (#42247845)

    Actually, the US has no business exerting any pressure on other sovereign nations regarding what they do in their legal system, with perhaps exceptions for human trafficking, human rights abuses, and other such things.

    The US should simply make it illegal for these US companies to do this. If they flaunt the law, then they should be punished for it. No need to fuck with other countries laws.

  • by SwedishPenguin ( 1035756 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:02PM (#42247863)

    If only this could apply to regular people - Hey some people are shoplifting the food from the market, let's just lower the price to a point where it's not worth bother... But I guess this only applies to the well-to-do..

  • a place like bermuda isn't a valid country that you compete with on tax rates. bermuda's tax laws are designed to parasitically leach off the fruits of another country's labors

    the idea that you think this is about fair competition is a joke, a lie, or a delusion

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:05PM (#42247891)

    I know this is crazy, but maybe the problem is the taxes. It doesn't make any sense at all tax corporate profits when you could just as easily tax the income shareholders make from the profits, or capital gains in the event a corporation doesn't post dividends.

  • by RelliK ( 4466 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:10PM (#42247925)

    The reason these loopholes work is that multinational corporations can allocated their costs to high-tax countries and profits to low-tax countries. For example, a US operation "licenses" some software from a subsidiary in Cayman Islands or pays for "consulting services" that end up eating up all of the profits. Through these tricks a US corporation ends up with near-zero taxable income, while all the profits are transferred to tax havens.

    The solution is to tax ALL profits, regardless of which country they were supposedly "earned" in. That way, transferring profits to Bermuda or Luxembourg will have no effect.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:12PM (#42247939) Homepage

    That's the argument we use for file "sharing", so let's not turn it on its head for tax. You want to earn it, make the argument for it.

    There is no inherent merit to paying taxes. They are a necessary evil to fund useful public works, and should be kept to an absolute minimum. When States becomes bloated, inward looking, ever swelling monsters that squeeze the pips until they squeak, tax avoision becomes an act of moral rebellion.

    Brits in particular tithe up to 75% of our "income" to the State, when you factor in income tax, national insurance, council tax, water and sewerage rates, VAT, insurance tax, parking fees, and fuel and customs duty on everything imported or moved around. And that "income" is what employers can afford to pay us after they pay all of their protection money to the biggest racket in town.

    So good on Microsoft and Google and Amazon and all the other companies who are throwing two fingers up at the grasping State. Let it wither and die, as long as it rots from the head down.

  • by multi io ( 640409 ) <> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:14PM (#42247957)
    As a publicly traded company, you risk being sued by your shareholders if you do NOT use such tax arrangements as soon as you learn about the possibility. So putting the blame on Google/MS isn't exactly rational.
  • by jxander ( 2605655 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:24PM (#42248009)

    Problem is that the rich make the laws. So they adjust the rules to benefit themselves unfairly.

    Hey there poor person, why don't you have your investments setup in IRAs and 401(k)s? You should get into the consulting business and write a few books. Capital gains taxes are rather agreeable. What's that you say, you can't afford food? Well, if you'd taken my advise ...

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:25PM (#42248019) Journal

    Because where else would US politicians offshore their income? []

    I'm NO friend of Mitt Romney - to put it mildly. But let's not blame him for something that's not his doing.

    1) Because Romney was running for president, US law REQUIRES he put his money in a blind trust.

    2) Also under US law the trustee has a "fiduciary duty" to do his reasonable best to protect and grow Romney's money for him. That includes seeing to it that is not taxed substantially more than the law requires. If he can save, say, 40% of the trust's earnings from being taxed away by using a LEGAL tax haven in Bermuda, and trustees of such trusts are expected to know that, he is REQUIRED BY LAW to do so.

    So let's not have cheap shots against politicians and financial managers who are only doing what the law REQUIRES them to do.

    There are plenty of things politicians have done that we can LEGITIMATELY go after them about - which have zapped us to the tune of trillions of dollars - at $3,175.40 from EACH citizen for EACH trillion. Let's not the dilute the discussion, and give them something to use to discredit their critics, by flaming them over drops in the bucket that AREN'T THEIR FAULT.

  • by stanjo74 ( 922718 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:25PM (#42248027)
    Exactly. Money left in the corporation can only be used for 2 things - reinvest in the business or pay employees/shareholders. If you reinvest, that's a good things - exactly what the US needs; if you pay out, income tax on the individuals should catch that.

    Problem is that capital gains are taxed very low compared to wages, so the company has incentives to keep cash on the books to appreciate the stock without reinvestment risk, thus creating wealth for shareholders at low income tax rates. You will never see the money reinvested or increase of wages at the company.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:26PM (#42248031) Journal

    That's bullshit. Bermuda's tax laws have nothing to do with it. It is American tax law that makes the leeching so profitable.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:28PM (#42248045) Journal

    No, actually I'm not. Not in the least. It's the way of things now, even when your motto is "Do no evil" or "What evil would you like to get into today?" Wall Street expects certain targets to be hit and the way to do that is cut corners and use loopholes.

    Considering how the tax money is spent it's probably more evil paying taxes then avoiding them...

  • Trouble is, governments can be sociopathic bureaucracies just the same.

  • Tax Games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:33PM (#42248087)

    This isn't a problem with the companies in question - it's a problem with the game. As soon as a company has a presence in more than one country, the company needs to start making decisions about taxation. It's not an option not to make these decisions - one way or another, they have to be made. There is no option for them to simply "not play the game". They must.

    And once they start playing, they find themselves in a crazy maze of exceptions, loopholes, provisos and special cases. If you want to cut down tax avoidance (not evasion) then you need to simplify the taxation system to the point where these loopholes don't exist. Of course, that'll never happen, because politicians for the last century have been busily creating loopholes in order to favour their particular patrons, and closing those loopholes would result in screams from said patrons.

    The problem the politicians see isn't that these loopholes exist, it's that companies are using them who haven't paid politicians for the privilege.

  • Good for them. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:34PM (#42248097) Journal

    So, these companies employ competent accountants, tax attorneys and financial managers to preserve their shareholders' earnings. That's exactly what they're supposed to do.: It's called meeting their fiduciary duty.


  • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:34PM (#42248101)

    All of this crap is legal, that's why they call it tax 'avoidance'. It's not right, or fair, but it is legal.

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:37PM (#42248113)

    Yet another tax policy that makes no sense at all. There is no reason capital gains and dividends shouldn't be taxed as regular income, they justify it today by saying "corporations pay taxes so taxing these things as income is double taxation." It's all just a stupid shell game. They make up a bunch of bizarre, self-reinforcing justifications for a convoluted tax scheme, then move their money through all they loopholes they've built so that is perfectly legal. It's nonsense.

  • "Stealing"? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:38PM (#42248119)
    "Stealing" from the treasury! What a load of BS. Google/Microsoft are no more "stealing" from the treasury than you are because you haven't gone out and bought me something.
  • by dondelelcaro ( 81997 ) <> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:39PM (#42248123) Homepage Journal

    More like, Store A is charging $20 for a loaf of bread, I'll go to store B where I can get it for $5.

    Lets at least get the metaphors slightly more accurate.

    Store A is charging $20 for a loaf of bread, but provides an awesome atmosphere, chairs, clean eating space, nice employees, free coffee, and massages while you eat your loaf of bread. Store B sells the same bread for $5, but you can't eat your bread there. So you buy your bread from Store B, and then expect Store A to let you stay in Store A to eat your bread.

    Companies pay taxes to pay for the externalities that they take advantage of while doing business in a country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:44PM (#42248151)

    Don't worry, they'll pass a pay raise for themselves to offset the extra burden. Just like with Obamacare & Medicare/Medicaid. Those are good enough for the common folk, but they've the Rolls Royce of medical plans for themselves. The kind of plans some of receive from our employers that they now want to tax as income (at upwards of $5000/year in some cases).

    This isn't Democrats or Republicans. It's Democrats AND Republicans. The entire lot of them are a bunch of selfish, hypocritical, thieves.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:47PM (#42248169) Journal

    ...more and more implicit or explicit class warfare crap in the news. I suspect it's not coincidence.

    "...Whilst the tax arrangements are strictly legal..." - THAT is where blame for these corporations ends, period. Do you deliberately pay more for milk than you need to? Do you volunteer some extra taxes because the government is in a bind? Of course not. These corporations do what they do to save money however they can - and as long as they stay within the bounds of the rule/laws, disparaging them is pointing in ENTIRELY the wrong direction.

    Look instead at the incompetent government that WROTE THE RULES, morons.

    Hey, I "get it". I'd cheerfully decimate the companies that bundled their crap investments, the 'rating' agencies that rated them AAA, and the bond traders that cheerfully swallowed instead of spitting. Then I remember: they were all largely conducting LEGAL business according to the rules and laws set forth by ... our incompetent government.

    THEY would have suffered the natural result of their actions in the market, but then they were PROTECTED from their results (gotta make sure they get their bonuses, ya?) from...our incompetent government.

    Want to know why I'm a libertarian conservative? Because in 45 years I've become convinced that while often it is well-meaning, almost all government is incompetent, and therefore the least possible government is best. Which is better, semi-anarchy where one is free to build ones own future as best one can, or some sort of perpetual serfdom to the landed classes that see us only as rubes to exploit, cows to milk, or votes to pander to?

  • by Smallpond ( 221300 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:56PM (#42248219) Homepage Journal

    It's funny you mention that, because in a competitive capitalist market price approaches cost. Therefore, people get that lowest price for their labor and do not need to steal as much. In non-capitalist systems, where prices are elevated, people DO have to use unethical means to get food ( for example, in Soviet Russia, hoarding, sneaking, stealing food etc etc)

    Incorrect. This is only true in free markets. In markets where cartels and price fixing are allowed, and information about pricing can be hidden, then prices can be artificially held well above cost.

  • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:12PM (#42248319) Homepage

    That's a common fallacy []. There is no US statute, state or federal, that requires "maximising shareholder value"

  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:19PM (#42248353) Journal
    You don't have to vote Democrat OR Republican. The mechanism is there, are the American public angry enough to use it yet?
  • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:23PM (#42248377)
    Tuition there in 1979, the year Obama graduated, was $2,000, or in today's dollars $6,000. Not insignificant, but certainly not out of reach for those who put value on such things. For reference, the cost of a new car in 1979 was about $3000 - $6000. My father was only a truck driver, but he sure as hell would have put me through private school for $6,000 if he thought it would have given me better opportunities.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:23PM (#42248381) Journal
    And frankly, every single one of us does it when we can get away with it, as well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:29PM (#42248433)

    Of course not. But deeply relying on other services that cost money to provide, while not providing a cent to pay for those services and expecting everyone else to pay for them isn't much better.

    If, for example, Google didn't rely on the public education system, the transportation system, the military defense of the country's borders and other interests, communications infrastructure, the judicial system, and so on, then there would be no issue. Instead we basically have a corporate free-loader. And Google isn't unique. There are a lot of them. BIG ones. World-wide. Yeah, it's their money, and why should the government "steal" it from them? On the other hand, somebody is getting something for nothing via creative accounting that few regular taxpayers can arrange, and making much bigger *real* profits somewhere because of it. They aren't stealing, but they are corporate moochers, happily doing business in countries they can take advantage of for plenty of "free" stuff paid for by the rest of society.

  • by sco08y ( 615665 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:38PM (#42248493)

    all other years being private schooled.

    Attending a private school does not mean you're wealthy. There are plenty of private schools full of children from low and middle class families.

    Oh yeah, from all walks of life. For instance, in Chicago, almost 40% of public school teachers send their kids to private schools []. What it comes down to is they're just trying to get a decent education for their children.

  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:41PM (#42248509)

    I just watched a music video for the Indian Debating Society that was advocating civil, reasoned discourse instead of yelling and throwing things.

    And you know what? Shut up you stupid fucking asshole. You're so stupid, you'd have to study hard to learn how to be an idiot. Sit down and be quiet in front of your betters.

    There is nothing on this earth that is a more natural monopoly than goddamn ROADS. There is no way, NO way for me to choose between three or more competing vendors for who will service my driveway. There's this thing called REALITY that prevents it. Roads are a function of government. Roads are THE most important function of government, period. This has been known for literally thousands of years. Ancient China and ancient Rome both built empires on this one single fact.

    No, you did NOT build that motherfucking bridge or that motherfucking highway and the only way it was going to happen in any sane fashion was GOVERNMENT. Paid for with TAXES.


  • by Meeni ( 1815694 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:41PM (#42248513)

    Have you ever heard of some sort of investment bubble that went out of control recently ? Where do you think all that money comes from ? Its because some people accumulate so much that they never take it back as "income" that such bubble form. Some people are getting too much money, and that destabilize the economy in many different ways. More balanced income prevent the formation of bubbles because nobody has insane amount of cash to move around and demand 15% returns every year (in a 2-4% growing economy, including the housing market bubble, that's very sustainable, right). The giant money drain is taking real money from the real economy, and makes it an improductive lump that moves around stock exchanges worldwide, putting pressure on industry to demand unsustainable ROE, and inflating the next bubble that will destroy the economy when (not if) it collapses. That must stop.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:45PM (#42248547)

    I forgot to add: there is *nothing* illegal about what they are doing. It's perfectly legal. But that's the crux of the problem. What's legal isn't fair in this case, especially when everybody else has to pay higher taxes and/or endure "austerity measures" to make up the difference.

    You can argue that the real solution is to lower the costs of government, to which I'd say: yeah, I'm all for making government more efficient. But even if you did that it wouldn't change the fact that regular taxpayers and small businesses are getting dinged for the costs of whatever size of government there is, and big companies are not, thanks to creative trans-border tax accounting that the regular people can't afford to do.

    I mean, what exactly would happen, regardless of the size of government, if everybody were only taxed on their NET income for the year, and they could move as much of their revenue to another country as they wished to make sure they had no taxable net income? Answer: any size of government >0 would collapse in debt because of lack of revenue.

    Calling taxes "stealing" might be a pithy turn of phrase, but taken to its logical extension, what these companies are doing would be a disaster if everybody could do it. I might not like taxes, but I have ZERO sympathy for what these companies are (legally) doing. It means even more money has to come out of *my* pocket in taxes. "Stealing" it may be, but if so why should I have my money "stolen" while they pay nothing? If they genuinely couldn't afford it, I could understand it. But accounting tricks don't count.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:50PM (#42248587)

    LMFAO. The government is incompetent and writes bad rules so they get exploited... I'm a libertarian so we can have less rules... That's like saying "I got mugged once - the police system doesn't work! Let's abolish all laws."

    This is why libertarians aren't taken seriously. If you really think semi-anarchy leaves one free to build one's own future, you should take a look at (semi)-anarchies throughout history and across the world now. Warlords, (robber) barons, and a feudal system do not make for a better world.

  • by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:54PM (#42248615)

    some sort of perpetual serfdom to the landed classes that see us only as rubes to exploit, cows to milk, or votes to pander to?

    That's what we have right now, which is why the subject is being debated so much. Class warfare has been in place for generations, and the rich have won it. Again. This is not the first time in history, either. The last time, the result was really really ugly. The French Revolution is the favorite example of just how ugly it gets.

    So. We're talking about it. Again. Because it happened. Again. Now it's time to figure out how to bash them back into a box so we can get on with civilization for another few hundred years until the next time the sociopathic assholes win the rigged game AGAIN. It's about goddamn time there was some reverse class warfare. Again. But this time, we're trying to figure out how to accomplish it without blood in the streets. There are a lot more of us now than there ever have been before, so if we do it French Revolution style, you could only dream of your semi-anarchy where one is free to build one's future as best one can. What you'll get instead is pogroms that would make Stalinist Russia look like a picnic in the park with sunshine and birdies and champagne.

    Capitalism has broken civilization. Again. It happens on a regular basis. It's a bug in the system. Historically, the solution to the bug is a system reboot with guns. This time, we would prefer to fix the problem without armed revolution. We like peace and quiet. We like it quite a lot. Violent crime has been declining even in the gun-happy United States. But we DON'T like playing in a rigged game we're guaranteed to lose because a very very small group of people have already won it.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:58PM (#42248627)

    The US government should simply announce that they are prioritizing their overseas support of US business based on perecent of revenue booked in the US.

    When Microsoft or Apple get pissed about piracy or knockoffs overseas, the US should simply tell them that they can ask Bermudan or Cayman Islands officials to take care of the issue.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @06:23AM (#42248948) Journal
    As Kennedy said, it only takes one person willing to exchange his life for that of the President. You can make 99% of the population of the USA happy, and that still leaves you with 3 million dissatisfied people, one of whom may be a potential assassin.
  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @06:31AM (#42248980)

    Bottom line - everyone pays xx% of their income, no matter how poor, or how rich, no matter how many influential people they bribe or sleep with. Set it at about 27 or 28%, and I'll see no change. Set it somewhere, anywhere - then ENFORCE IT FOR EVERYONE!

    Trouble is if you setup xx% high enough to be useful, you smash the lower end of the middle class and everyone earning less.

    Flat income taxes are regressive. Losing 25% of your income is not a burden for someone pulling in a million a year, but it's crippling for someone pulling in $30k/yr.

  • by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @06:56AM (#42249094) Journal
    >>Do you deliberately pay more for milk than you need to?

    Do you pay more than the menu price for your cup of tea?

    Do you give the taxi driver more money than is displayed on the metre?

    Do you pay the neighbours' child an extra few quid for washing your car?

    No so black and white anymore, is it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @07:21AM (#42249160)

    Your point is invalid because its the DNC that raises taxes and its the DNC politicians that constantly fail to pay taxes.

    No, his point is not invalid, and no it's not the DNC which raises taxes. CONGRESS raises taxes, you need to get this through your thick skull. It's ALL of them, don't buy into the rhetoric and political bullshit they spew out from one side or the other.

    This circles back to the article itself. Did Google break any laws? Did Microsoft? In both cases it appears to be no, they did not. So quit pissing and moaning about "Big Corporations" and/or the Rich evading taxes. Quit giving a pass to the people we elected to run the country. They need to fix the laws so that these types of filthy loopholes simply don't exist.

  • by Tagged_84 ( 1144281 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @07:41AM (#42249254)
    I've always said I'd be happy to pay a million in tax because it means I'm earning a hell of a lot more!
  • by danaris ( 525051 ) <danaris.mac@com> on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @08:31AM (#42249484) Homepage

    We don't have a revenue problem in the US - we have a spending problem.

    You've bought the conservative lies hook, line, and sinker.

    The fact is, while this country is spending too much on its military (more than the next 13 military-spending countries combined), its main problem is, indeed, a revenue problem. The tax rates and the tax revenues as percent of GDP are lower than they have been at any time since the Great Depression.

    So unless you are one of those who honestly believes that we'd be better off with, essentially, no federal government at all (in which case I disagree with you, but at least respect you for having beliefs consistent with your policy preferences), we need taxes to be a lot higher than they are if we want to continue to function as a first-world country.

    Dan Aris

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:25AM (#42250693)

    This is a blatant fallacy, though I'm pretty sure you actually believe it. Not completely your fault since you are brainwashed in to believing this, as most of the public has been brainwashed. The brainwashing has been going on for at least as long as I've been paying attention, and probably more than that.

    This problem is rooted in your education, or perhaps lack of education is a better phrase. Do you think it's unintentional that the US education system does not teach critical thinking? Do you think it's accidental that study of "The Republic" is not part of our standard education? Do you think it's accidental that main stream media only covers one or two people during the elections, and third parties are called crazy by media or portrayed as not having a chance in the election?

    Hell, even my then 13 year old kid noticed how the media treated Ron Paul over the last election and of course this one was more blatant. I have been teaching him critical thinking since a pretty young age which helps, he also went to private school for all of his education so has better overall education than the average.

    Your statement shows that the brain washing and education system is working. You are a sheople, and are not quick enough to realize it.

  • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @11:48AM (#42250919)
    No, I grew up in an area where the best public school in the state just happened to be located. My education there was just fine. He had no *reason* to send me to private school. He did however, send me to the university with the highest tuition in the nation (more expensive than Harvard). The point is that people from any economic class are happy to pay for an education if they feel it will help their child's future.
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday December 11, 2012 @05:14PM (#42254149) Homepage Journal

    At any rate, the top 1% of taxpayers don't draw on 20% of the budget.

    No, they don't. They draw on almost 100%. Who's running your telcoms and radio and TV stations? The 1%. We need the FCC to keep them in line. Who owns those big trucks that haul everything and cause most of the road damage? The 1%. Who leases public lands for oil exploration? The 1%. Who need the coast guard? The 1% almost exclusively. Who does the military protect? The 1%.

    Who need the FBI? Not the bottom 1%! In fact, the FBI and DEA and BATF only benefit the 1% and the bottom 1% fear them.

    The bottom 1% (probably the bottom 10%) use almost no government at all. They don't have any use whatever for the police, because if a poor man calls the cops he's usually the one to go to jail (and your local government gets federal grant money for cops and cop equipment). Social programs for the poor are very niggardly in the US compared to civilized nations.

    When my grandfather was a young man, only the rich paid federal income taxes. How about we go back to doing it that way? Government benefits primarily the rich, the rich should be paying the lion's share of it (if not all, like in Grandpa's day).

    We don't have a revenue problem in the US - we have a spending problem.

    We have both a spending and revenue problem. I'd legalize, tax, and regulate drugs, disband the ATF and the DEA and the TSA and most of Homeland Security, but I'd keep FEMA (who benefits the most in a catastrophe, the guy with the ruined ten million dollar house filled with expensive items, or a renter whose most expensive posession is probably a used car? I'd cut the military in half or smaller. I'd cut most grants, and all grants to corporations. What would you cut?

    But we can't cut our way out. As another poster already mentioned, federal taxes are lower than at any time since Truman. The rich are just being the greedy, selfish bastards one has to be in order to become or stay rich.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford