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April 15Suggested readings for Tax Day 2013:

Joseph Stiglitz in the New York Times on “A Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent,”

Travis Waldron at Think Progress on “Five Ways the Tax Code Subsidizes the Wealthiest Americans,”

David Cay Johnston on the fast-shrinking budget of our national tax police, and, of course,

our own recent series – “Profiles in corporate tax avoidance” featuring profiles of Duke Energy, Merck & Co. and International Paper.

 

 

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It’s hard to know what’s more offensive: The fact that the old Wake School Board agreed to pay former Superintendent Anthony Tata $250,000 per year in the first place or the fact that the man accepted that much money and is now apparently accepting a severance payment of the same amount.

One of the biggest scams in modern America is, what Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Paul Krugman accurately describes as, “the rise of the imperial CEO.” Over the last few decades, Americans have been snookered into believing that supposedly brilliant chief executives are somehow worth the princely sums they demand and receive.

This  is, in a word, baloney. Read More

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In case you had any doubt that it helps a lot in modern American politics to be rich — I mean really rich — consider the case of two former candidates for President who have or will stand before banks of TV cameras in Greensboro, North Carolina this week.

One is a rich, dishonest and narcissistic adulterer with expensive hair. The other is…a rich, dishonest and narcissistic adulterer with expensive hair.

Here’s the big difference between the two (other than their politics — a place where one of the two has actually expressed concern for the less fortunate at times during his life): One guy is pretty rich and the other guy is REALLY rich.

Now, guess which one just missed going to jail by the skin of his teeth and which one will be treated like royality while serving as the keynote speaker of the North Carolina Republican Party convention.

See what I mean about the importance of being REALLY rich?

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It’s always encouraging when fabulously rich people have the guts to speak the truth about their own privileged position and the disgraceful growth in American inequality. To this end, please check out this recent speech by a fellow named Nick Hanauer.  It’s reproduced below from an article in the National Journal. As the article explains, Hanauer is a Seattle venture capitalist who got rich investing in Amazon.com. Interestingly, the speech has been deemed too controversial by the folks at TED.com who commissioned it. See what you think. 

“It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies.  Consider this one.
 
If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.  
 
This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats and has shaped much of today’s economic landscape.
 
But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. Read More