Democratic underground is reporting that Goldman Sachs has a bonus bonanza - $23 billion in 2009 - double the bonus pool paid to employees in 2008. How much is $23, billion? It could have paid for 460,000 full paying students to Harvard University for one year, or 115,000 for four years. It could have paid health insurance for an American family 1.7 million times. As Goldman pays it's biggest bonuses ever to employees it won't pay much in taxes either - only about 1 percent, according a prominent tax lawyer, “They have taken steps to ensure that a lot of their income is earned in lower-tax jurisdictions.” It's time that corporations start paying their fair share in taxes and we roll back the Reagan tax cuts so the wealthy can pay ther fair share and help bring back the middle class by rewarding people who actually make things instead of these obscene pay packages for people who make absolutely nothing but only move money around.
I see two things you're railing against: 1) "unjustified" bonuses to GS employees and 2) GS doesn't pay their fair share of taxes.
First, on #2; close the loopholes, plain and simple. 1% total taxes paid seems awfully low, but I'm not a tax lawyer, so I'll trust you. The #'s really not important; it is what it is. What's important is that it's below what you feel it should be. What do you think it should be?
On #1, GS has the right to pay it's employees whatever it wants.
For the sake of debate, let's assume they have 1000 employees and pay 999 employee's $0.01 and the "top dog" $22,999,999,999.99. Absurd, right!? No one could run a business that way, the "shorted" 999 employees would leave (or more likely never would have agreed to employment under such a structure).
Let's adjust it more "fairly." Let's split it equally amongst all. Each will get $23,000,000.00. The Janitor gets the same, the CEO gets the same. Now the CEO and anyone else like him, is going to be pissed. They added more to the "bottom line" than the Janitor. Surely there was a group of people that came up with the strategy that through, execution by their fellow employees allowed GS to reap that dough. I doubt the Janitor was part of the group. So, again we adjust.
We identify the top performers and give them monies commensurate with their contribution to the success of the Company. We continue this down the line until all monies are spent. You continue this tuning and tweaking until you can spend/save/invest all of the Company's money while keeping talent happy enough to stay and allow you to go through this exercise again, next quarter/year.
My point is that every company, every day goes through this process, whether in determining base compensation or bonuses. If they do it wrong and go too low, they lose people. They can't go too high because, unlike the Government, they can't spend what they don't have. Or, if they do, they go bankrupt. That is unless the Government steps in and props them up. It's their money and they allocate as they see fit. Get it wrong and lose talent, bets are on the fact that they won't have all that money to allocate next go-'round.
If you or anyone else doesn't like what these "evil corporations" are doing, I invite you to put on your "big boy pants" and pony up to the Capitalist bar. Start a company that can generate those kinds of profits on their revenues. When you do then you can send those 460k students to Harvard for a year or foot the whole bill for 115k students. All the while you watch you talent walk out the door. But, don't ask (or imply) GS should. Or, through comparative analysis, suggest it's unfair. I wonder how many puppies and kittens could have been saved with that money, or how many starving kids could have been saved instead of starving to death? "Oh, the humanity!!!"
While it's interesting for a blog or your radio show, you don't have the right to question they way they pay out their profits anymore than they have the right to question how you spend your paycheck. Quit throwing grenades from the sideline and put your money where your mouth is; start that company, earn that dough, pay their way. Feed those kids. Save those puppies. They're waiting. And they always will be!
A modest proposal; how about 'Habitat for Heroes'?
On what might be done or even proposed without the Republicans tearing it down just because it comes during Pres. Obama's administration;
I am of course a Canadian, hope you can still use my 'Modest Proposal'..
Whether or not you take it as the root of the economic crisis, real estate is hurting, as are all the home owners upside-down on their mortgages.
House values are not going to rebound while there are so many houses in foreclosure or worse, abandoned and neglected.
You will at some point have many thousands of servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Canadians are alongside you in Afghanistan and we have had shameful episodes ourselves, of military families getting by on food stamps etc. There will be many vets coming home without jobs let alone the where-with-all to have decent housing for their families. As a group these people were not rich and many families have suffered while a bread-winner has been stationed away.
What I am thinking of would be loosely on the model of Habitat for Humanity. (It would be great if Jimmy Carter ended up involved in some way.)
Foreclosed and neglected houses could be bought up from the banks at reasonable prices, then renovated for use and ownership by returning veterans.
There would need to a low interest government program for the mortgages, along the lines of what I believe was done after the second world war. This would have to be adaptable to vets who might also be enrolled in training or college programs.
Of course details could get complicated but think of some of the benefits.
Deserving veterans would have homes to call their own. That stability would obviously help in their healthy return to civilian life.
Derelict houses would be removed from the market, improving that market neighbourhood by neighbourhood as well as nationally. These would be buyers from a different pool, leaving the existing buyers still ready to step in. Otherwise, recovery would be waiting for whatever buyers were out there to finally decide it was worth it.
Not even the Republicans could argue about the worth of this sort of program. OK, maybe Acorn wouldn't be the best agency to administer it. ;-) Seriously, the V.A. would probably be a trusted body able to prioritise the elegability among the vets.
Are the Republicans going to say these people are not deserving? Are the funds going to be wasted? I don't think so, when you compare it to the cost of helping homeless vets if done properly. Add the other benefits in and there should be no question.
To make it even better, consider these options;
Hire other vets to work on the renovations. Tailor some of those to disabled or wounded vets who could be made a priority.
Can you imagine the atmosphere and un-assailable public relations image of a Habitat type project with recently returned vets working to set a house up for one of their wounded brothers?
Aside from reasonable renovations to have the homes fit to live in, there could be a green component, making them more energy efficient at the same time.
There would be spin-offs in materials needed and there could be programs to help vets set up their own small businesses to carry out this work.
Who, even among the most sour neo-cons, could try to trash programs like these?
Look for a segment of the population that needs help.
Look for one that is deserving, and has the ability to step up and be successful, given some help.
Look for something to help create value in real things.
Look for a program that the Right can't fault.
I don't think costs would be prohibitive, especially given the direct benefits to be gained.
What do you think?
Regards from Canada
(I listen on XM and follow the show, wondering why you can't get the health care thing settled. My parents were at various times in hospital for long periods during their lives but never feared losing their house. I count myself lucky to live without the fear and unease that the private system would create. Great care and no complaints up here; the few whiners you hear are nuts and/or have an agenda.)
Rick: Great idea on the housing for vets. But you must the US to realize it won't work. The plan contains no openings for people to make big money. The chambers of commerce would fight it tooth and nail, like they do our struggle for universal health care because the well paid execs (parasites) in the private health care system would lose their annual millions.
The corporations run the US and must be dealt with before anything worthwhile like your idea could be instigated.
Yes, everything we know is wrong, so let's run with it, quick, while they are counting their huge profits, they won't even notice we fixed everything.
Here we go:
It is not so much the inequity as it is the fact that they believe these "profits", made on the backs of the poor and working poor, don't need to be reinvested in providing jobs or even making credit available (which was the reason they got the funds in the first place ), but, instead must be paid out quickly to these Corporate Elitists, quickly before the American Public is duped again by the Health Insurance industry who is poised to collect the next round of bailout funding. But really, this is our chance to change everything.
With these two are all set to pounce, let's really pull the rug out from under 'em:
Go directly to Campaign Finance Reform, stopping the constant fund raising burden we have placed on our elected officials, making the LOBBYIST obsolete and ending the ability of corporations to own our elected officials( or at least offer them lucrative employment when we do vote the bad ones out!) Next, pass Medicare for all, PAID for with Corporate taxation in line with that of the OTHER people, the real people, and doing away with Corporate special tax treatment; if they are PEOPLE let 'em pay taxes like REAL PEOPLE (28%-30% not 1%- 2% .) Roll back the tax cuts, (remember how they passed without bipartisan support) and voila, single payer health insurance for all, paid in full.
"Fixing" Medicare payouts and tweaking Social Security would be a piece of cake with all the new tax revenue and the balanced budget.
Oh, and if the Corporations don't like it, and they want to threaten us (like the Health Insurance companies tried to last week) let 'em fail, or better yet, let 'em move offshore, United Emirates or Dubai or wherever those all American Corporations like to Offshore to . Then, we can let the great Entrepreneurial spirit take root and replace them with new companies that are NOT... too big to fail.
If I only had a...
Why do they hate America?
On the H1N1-
Q: To what extent does the state own your body in a democracy? If someone takes away your property, car, home, its just stuff; your body is the only thing you will truly own. Right now our bodies are accumulating toxins and metals that we cannot control from our air, water and food. Do we have no rights to control our own bodies? Where does it end, regulated sterilizations and abortions? Please keep your hands off my body and I will keep mine off of yours.
Living in a democracy includes reciprocating respect for each others rights ( including life, yes?) and it has been shown that vaccines do harm and kill many people. You can not predict how every individual will react and each person should be allowed to choose the vaccine or not according to their comfort level with that risk.
Building your immune systems through natural exposer to disease (except some, like maybe polio) is better than "fake" immunity that causes side effects and fades with time (like chicken pox).
The vaccine has not been thoroughly tested, the FDA skipped a few steps. There are reports of bad reactions and deaths from batches given to people and to lab animals. This vaccine is highly questionable in so many ways, especially considering the money the manufacturer (Baxter) will make off this.
P.S. No level of mercury is safe, ever. Especially to unborn children. http://commons.ucalgary.ca/mercury/
Follow the money.