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K12 logoFat cat corporate execs getting rich by sucking up taxpayer dollars: It’s one of the dirtiest little secrets of the mad rush to privatize essential public services and turn them over to giant Wall Street-backed corporations. Fortunately, the good folks at the Center for Media and Democracy are doing their best to expose the phenomenon and keep track of the nation’s mushrooming cadre of publicly-funded plutocrats.

The group has released a new report entitled Exposed: America’s Highest Paid Government Workers: They’re Not Who You Think They Are. Listed first among the six magnates profiled in the report is Ron Packard, CEO of the controversial K-12, Inc., whom the report describes as “America’s highest paid ‘teacher.'”

As readers of Sarah Ovaska’s numerous stories on the subject here at NC Policy Watch will recall, Read More

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We’ve all heard the right-wing talking point so many times that we can repeat it by heart: “High state taxes are scaring off successful people (i.e rich people) and forcing them to move to lower tax states.”

The only problem with this mantra: it ain’t so.

According to a new report sponsored by the Swiss financial conglomerate UBS entitled “The World Ultra Wealth Report 2013,” Amercian higher tax states continue to attract boatloads of fat cats — what the report politely refers to as “ultra high net worth ” individuals — worth $30 million or more. Indeed, California, home to the highest taxes on rich folks in the country, saw its plutocrat population shoot up by 14.7% just last year. New York, also home to higher taxes was second overall and reported 4.1% growth. Supposedly liberal Massachusetts has the fastest-growing tycoon population of all. 

Meanwhile, here in the Old North State, where conservative think tankers continually lament the supposed deleterious impact of the state’s “high marginal income tax rates,” the über-rich population expanded by more than 20% last year – seventh fastest in the nation. More than 1,100 magnates now live in North Carolina.

Here’s a chart from the report taken from a story in The Huffington Post: Read More

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Given that this is Election Day in many places around the state and nation,  it’s fitting that Raleigh’s News & Observer editorializes this morning against one of the great threats to fair elections in our country — namely, the vast sums of “dark money” being dumped into buying elections at all levels by fat cat special interests like the infamous Koch Brothers.

Athough the latest news stems from developments in California, this is not just a far-off problem for North Carolinians. As the editorial notes:

“The Kochs’ reach extends to North Carolina, where Americans for Prosperity, a group they started, has been orchestrating ads against Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who’s up for re-election in 2014. The campaign is gratuitous and hooked to an obscure issue, the carbon emissions tax, something few people are familiar with. It presents, however, an opportunity to attack a Democrat. Read More

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Not that you were likely losing any sleep about the well-being of the plutocrats running the American economy, but just in case you were wondering,  Think Progress reports this morning that  the Wall Street types are in the money again.

“2012 was the second most profitable year in Wall Street’s history, with banks making north of $140 billion. Wall Street’s bonus pool, while not yet back to the heights it achieved before the financial crisis, is growing again, and the average cash bonus hit $121,900.

This is part and parcel of a longer trend on Wall Street, which has seen pay skyrocket as the financial industry was deregulated. According to Bloomberg News, Wall Street’s bonus pool has nearly quintupled since 1985, growing from $4 billion to more than $20 billion (in constant dollars).”

Read and weep at the whole story by clicking here

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Art Pope 3This time, it’s from the editors of the online site Too Much — a  project of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies,

Not surprisingly, the subject is State Budget Director, Art Pope. Today, Pope is featured in the “Greed at a glance section” of the Too Much newsletter.

“Sometimes you just have to do the job yourself. Art Pope, a billionaire who owes his fortune to a discount store network his daddy built, certainly thinks so. Pope has spent over $40 million in recent years gerrymandering North Carolina, and the state this winter sports for the first time in over a century a GOP governor, a conservative state Supreme Court majority, and a GOP-dominated state legislature all at the same time. But Pope isn’t resting. He had himself appointed state budget director. Last week his budget priorities made national headlines. In North Carolina, a state with America’s fifth-highest jobless rate, lawmakers have now slashed maximum weekly unemployment benefits from $535 to $350, cut the number of benefit weeks allowed, and denied 39 percent of the state’s 438,000 jobless special federal aid . . .