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Letters to the Editor

Misinformation

April 8, 2011

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To the editor:

I feel I must respond to Kent Hayes’ letter of April 5.

In my opinion, one reason this country is deteriorating at an alarming rate is that misinformation is tossed about without any verification as long as it fits someone’s political agenda. Second, American voters accept the information as gospel simply because it comes from a media source.

For example, Hayes states, in regard to income taxes, that “General Electric and several of the oil companies paid nothing and received billions in rebates.” This is simply fabrication, but was accepted because it was reported by the “credible” New York Times. It has been corrected by several sources, including CNNMoney.com (“The truth about GE’s tax bill,” April 4).

Hayes goes on to state that Sam Brownback, Lynn Jenkins and all our other GOP legislators are “the puppets who make the laws that permit this outrage” and “our existing economic woes are a direct result of Republican policies.”

It was recently discovered that tucked away in Obama’s national health care law is a provision that has already paid nearly $2 billion to unions (surprise), state public employee systems, and large corporations to subsidize health insurance for early retirees (WashingtonExaminer.com, April 5). As I recall, there was not a single GOP vote to pass this monstrosity.

Finally, it was the Democratic party that abdicated one of Congress’ most basic functions: passing a federal budget. Now, according to the White House press secretary, “time is of the essence” to avoid a government shutdown. This dog won’t hunt any more. There are too many channels to access the truth rather than accepting “credible” drivel.

Comments

Gandalf 3 years, 9 months ago

Robin, did you ever hear what happened to the 700 million bush gave out before he left office? How much was funneled to enron during the war?

The government shut down problem works both ways, just because the repubs demand something doesen't mean they should get it!

SinoHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Well, Enron went bankrupt in 2001 so unless Bush used his time machine, the answer to that question would be $0.

booyalab 3 years, 9 months ago

It gets even shadier, Halliburton was awarded a no-bid military contract under Clinton and Gore to work in the Balkans!!!

(I assume your conspiracies are fair and bipartisan.)

SinoHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Congress failed to pass a budget in 2010 despite Democrats controlling both the Senate and House, as well as the Presidency. Now the House (R- controlled) has tried to rein in spending by a series of ever-tightening continuing resolutions since the Democrats are unwilling to allow the large-scale cuts desired by many conservatives. It really does boil down to this point: the Democrats are unwilling to allow the continued funding of the military (currently engaged in 3 conflicts) due to a disagreement over $12B in cuts--out of a budget of $3,800,000,000,000! That is less than 0.4% decrease in spending levels for a government that is financed 40% by borrowing!

SinoHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

The House passed a resolution, the Senate did not. Spending bills originate in the House by law, so it is on the Senate to pass something to keep the government running, not on the House.

Stuart Evans 3 years, 9 months ago

ironic that you would ramble on about leftist indoctrination and then follow it all with "God Bless".... mind boggling, really.

somedude20 3 years, 9 months ago

You are back! I missed you! Thought they took you to one of those re-education camps like the one in "Red Dawn"

grimpeur 3 years, 9 months ago

Why don't you respond with the truth: that you and Hayes and many many others who blindly cheerlead for "your side" and not the well-being of this nation are two sides of the same hypocritical coin?

Your one-sided "analysis" is no more truthful than Hayes's, and, like the half-truths you pretend to lament, provides a clear view of what's wrong with this country.

Robin Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

How about less anger and some specifics, please?

Robin Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

I rarely respond to someone who doesn't have the conviction or grapes to post under their name, but my sources were in my original LTE.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

Gee, sorry if my anonymity makes it harder for you to personally attack me.

But let's call this for what it is. You didn't like what the NYT's article said, and while it appears it was somewhat flawed, you went looking for "misinformation" that suited your ideology better, not better information.

If you want better, more complete information, try these links.

5 Ways GE Plays the Tax Game http://www.propublica.org/article/5-ways-ge-plays-the-tax-game

ProPublica and Fortune’s Unhelpful Post on GE’s Taxes http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/propublica_and_fortunes_unhelp.php?page=all&print=true

The Power of Iterative Journalism http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/nyt_fortune_propublica_and_the.php

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

"You didn't like what the NYT's article said, and while it appears it was somewhat flawed"

"Somewhat flawed." That's an interesting way of spinning "completely false".

How about you stop listening to the press at all, and read through GE's financial statements, which are available online for free. Get some help from someone that can explain the numbers with more than one digit to you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

Actually, there is a good deal of GE's financial information that is not for public consumption. And if you really knew anything about this situation, you'd know that.

Instead, you just keep on with your uninformed flatulence.

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

That's because the voices in your head aren't worthy for public consumption, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus.

mloburgio 3 years, 9 months ago

April Fool's Day was last week, right? In which case, what the...?

The ambitious plan, drafted principally by Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the Budget Committee, proposes not only to limit federal spending and reconfigure major federal health programs, but also to rewrite the tax code, cutting the top tax rate for both individuals and corporations to 25 percent from 35 percent, reducing the number of income tax brackets and eliminating what it calls a “burdensome tangle of loopholes.”

Putting aside for now the fact that the GOP also seeks brutal cuts on America's poor and working class, the idea that more tax cuts for the rich are part of any deficit-cutting plan is....well, as Rocky the Squirrel always said, "That trick never works."

Ronald Reagan tried it, and took the United States from a creditor nation to a debtor nation while incurring more debt than all of the American presidents who came before him, combined. Bill Clinton raised top marginal taxes on the wealthy to what seemed like a rational level (still much lower than what it had been for the first six years of Reagan's presidency) and ran budget surpluses during a booming economic time. George W. Bush reversed course again and cut taxes for the wealthy while waging two wars overseas, and ushered in a new golden era of red ink.

Consider this:

Congressional Budget Office data show that the tax cuts have been the single largest contributor to the reemergence of substantial budget deficits in recent years. Legislation enacted since 2001 added about $3.0 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2007, with nearly half of this deterioration in the budget due to the tax cuts (about a third was due to increases in security spending, and about a sixth to increases in domestic spending). Yet the President and some Congressional leaders decline to acknowledge the tax cuts’ role in the nation’s budget problems, falling back instead on the discredited nostrum that tax cuts “pay for themselves.” http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/GOPs-brilliant-debt-cutting-idea-Cut-taxes-on-rich.html

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

Where do the deficit and debt really come from?

Key Tax Facts

15,753: The number of households in 1961 with $1 million in taxable income (adjusted for inflation). 361,000: The number of households in 2011 estimated to have $1 million in taxable income.

43.1: Percent of total reported income that Americans earning $1 million paid in taxes in 1961 (adjusted for 2011 dollars) 23.1: Percent of total reported income that Americans earning $1 million are likely to pay in taxes in 2011, estimated from latest IRS data.

47.4: Percent of profits corporations paid in taxes in 1961. 11.1: Percent of profits corporations paid in taxes in 2011.

http://www.ips-dc.org/reports/unnecessary_austerity_unnecessary_government_shutdown

Robin Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

I think it's great that there are that many new millionaires. I only wish it was double or triple that amount. I admire the spirit that drives them to risk everything to do the things they love, resulting in jobs for others that desire to work their way into a similar outcome.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

But you don't want them to pay their fair share of taxes, even though they get by far the most benefit of what living in a civilized society has to offer.

And, anyway, the circular logic that rich people are rich simply because they work harder just doesn't cut it.

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

In this case, by "fair share of taxes", just_another_bozo_on_this_bus means "half of what they make so I don't have to pay anything."

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey, here's an idea. Let's have them pay their fair share. How about they pay the same percentage as you do, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus? No, wait, that wouldn't be fair either, since they don't get any more benefit from those tax dollars as you do (and probably considerably less), so how about they pay the same dollar figure as you do? You're right, let's keep it fair.

Robin Jones 3 years, 9 months ago

Another proud member of the entitlement society!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

"the entitlement society!"

AKA the Republican Party.

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

"the entitlement society!" AKA the Republican Party."

And yet, here you are, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus, standing there with your hand out, claiming you're entitled to more of their money. What a joke.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

No comments about the significantly lower taxes they're paying now?

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Try doing the math. They aren't paying lower taxes, they're paying a lower percentage. When more people are making more money, the percentage you steal from them doesn't have to be as high to make more.

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

[Yawn]

Oh, looky, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus has some numbers to play with and he thinks he understands what they mean. Isn't that cute?

Let's say in 1961 there was a small town of 10,000 people earning an average of $10,000/year. They institute an income tax to pay for the police department, fire department, and public works. It's set at 10%, which brings in $10,000,000 per year.

Fast forward 50 years. The town has now grown to 20,000 people averaging $50K in income. Think they need to keep taxing at a 10% rate to pay for those services? (Well, I suppose for $100,000,000, they could afford all those necessities like gold-plated fittings on the fire hoses.)

There's a whole lot more people, and a whole lot more companies, making a whole lot more money. You don't need to keep stealing as much of it to support the shrinking number of people at the lower levels, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 9 months ago

Well, when the top 1% of wealth-holders, and the corporations they own, triple their wealth over the last thirty years, while simultaneously having their taxes cut in half, those of us who passed first-grade math can do the simple math pretty well.

Apparently, first-grade math was pretty rough for you.

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus, but someone that doesn't understand the difference between a dollar figure and a percentage shouldn't be talking about math, let alone bothering your little head with any.

Quick, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus, let's see if you can find a first-grader to explain this to you:

Which is more, 50% of $1,000,000, or 35% of $3,000,000?

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and by the way, Mister First-grade-math: 35% is a little more than half of 50%.

But here's a little more fun with numbers, just_another_bozo_on_this_bus:

Wanna' know why your wealth isn't expanding as fast as that of the top 1%? Because when there are more than 30 freeloaders like you sponging off of each of their tax dollars, it's not possible for him to make all of you rich.

lucky_guy 3 years, 9 months ago

My comment is simple and to the point. You say there is too much misinformation in the media then you quote the Washingtonexaminer in your next to last sentence. This proves your point quite emphatically. There is too much misinformation in the world.

wisenup21 3 years, 9 months ago

how about looking at the facts. many in congress and the white house are taking home their paychecks this week, and allowing the military who actually will stand in front of a bullet for this country to go without. SHAME ON ALL OF THEM. the media on all sides is bought and paid for by whoever has the most money. i beleive that our 'esteemed' first lady said something to the effect that some must give up a slice of the pie, but no one in power in washington is doing so. no, they will take others' slice and give it away, or not give out the pie to those who actually work or did work for it, but do they sacrifice? no. they play their games at the cost of our country. THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO BE REMEMBERED. do not blindly follow the words of others. do your own research and find out the truth and hold those accountable. stop sitting by your computers and debating. get out and see where the money goes and change it. i for one really don't think that 26 million to 100 countries to preserve their culture is needed. yes it is a 'drop in the bucket' but many drops fill the bucket. this is just a small example of needless spending that goes on and on without check. if you look closely you can find many,many other example. perhaps i am selfish, but i wish to continue living in the best country in the world and will work to preserve it. and if that entails criticizing my neighbor,so be it. i have worked my entire life, given to charities of MY choice and am tired of being the deep pockets to the world. those who toss my hard earned taxes around and fail to balance a budget(which i have had to do to survive and live in the modest style that i do) must be taken to task. stop talking and take action on election day and remember who really wishes the best for this country and those who wish to take what they can get and to hell with where it came from or the consequences of their actions.

james bush 3 years, 9 months ago

Robin has it right....oops, i mean correct.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

So Robin how do we know what you offered is not misinformation?

bisky1 3 years, 9 months ago

companies and corporations don't pay taxes, they collect them from their customers.

CeeDub 3 years, 9 months ago

I also was not happy that GE did not pay any taxes, but everything they did was allowed because of our complex & idiotic tax code system which needs to be replaced. Remember that Treas. Sec. Tim Geithner owed back taxes in the amount of $35,000+ before he was confirmed by the Senate controlled by the Dems.

IMO, it is also a conflict of interest to have Jeffrey Immelt, GE's CEO, to head Obama's Economic Advisory Panel, due to GE's interest in wind energy & solar panels. As we know, Obama is constantly pushing green energy here, paying for other countries' oil, & does not even consider drilling here with our vast resources & leaving so many AMERICANS out of work.

This budget should have been passed last fall, but the Dems were too worried about their re-election campaigns & did not step up to do their job. The President can also decide who will still get paid during a gov't shutdown; there are guidelines from the OMB Directive issued in the 1980s (along with a handful of legal opinions) guide what parts of gov't continue to function & what parts must close down. All of the important functions of gov't, i.e national security, the military, air traffic control, border security, Social Security payments, etc., will continue to function.

So why is Obama straying from this directive? From Government Executive in a March 15th article:

Military personnel & exempt Defense Department civilian employees are required to continue working without pay during a government shutdown, according to guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

In a memo prepared earlier this month, Defense officials noted that service members & some civilian workers, including those involved in national security & the protection of life & property, still must report for duty but will not be paid until Congress appropriates funds to reimburse them for that period of service. All other employees will be furloughed, the memo stated. Military personnel are not subject to furlough.

During the 1995 shutdown, the Clinton Admin. followed the OMB guidance issued during the Reagan Admin, & our awesome troops who are on the job 24/7 continued to receive their pay!

According to Federal Times:

When the gov't was shut down in 1995, military personnel continued to report to work & were paid, but the planning guidance sent to the services & defense agencies says a shutdown this time will be different.

“All military personnel will continue in normal duty status regardless of their affiliation with exempt or non-exempt activities,” says the draft planning guidance that was prepared for the services & defense agencies. “Military personnel will serve without pay until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service.”

Leave our troops out of this mess and do the honorable thing by following the OMB directive!

jhawkinsf 3 years, 9 months ago

Having Jeffrey Immeit involved with President Obama is no different than the closed door meetings Vice President Cheney had with the oil company execs. If you're O.K. with one, you should be O.K. with the other. If you're opposed to one, you should be opposed to both.

chet_larock 3 years, 9 months ago

that sort of logic is lost on the fox news crowd.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 9 months ago

I watch FOX all the time, and MSMBC for the other side. They're both funny as hell, like the posts here. Funny but not to be taken seriously, most of the time. I also watch CNN and listen to NPR to get more reliable information.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

That's quite reasonable.

I never understand how partisans on both sides can manage to have such different standards for each.

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

"Having Jeffrey Immeit involved with President Obama is no different than the closed door meetings Vice President Cheney had with the oil company execs. If you're O.K. with one, you should be O.K. with the other."

Who's opposed? It would be a good thing if somebody that knew anything at all about business was advising the pres.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

Quite an entitlement I'd say!

If you want to know why we're facing vicious budget cuts across the country, look no further than General Electric, America's largest corporation.

According to a shocking exposé just published by the New York Times, GE made over $26 billion in profit in the United States during the last five years, but paid nothing in federal income tax. Zero. In fact, it claimed a $4.1 billion net tax benefit from the IRS during that time.

Meanwhile, lack of revenue is causing brutal cutbacks of vital services at all levels of government.

We shouldn't be firing teachers and taking health care away from children because GE is shirking on its responsibility to pay income tax.

As the Times article reported, General Electric has 975 employees in its tax department who are charged with spending half their time complying with the law and half their time "looking to exploit opportunities to reduce tax."

And they are not only eager to exploit the loopholes that exist in the tax law (loopholes that might never have been contemplated by the lawmakers who created them), they also spend tens of millions of dollars a year to lobby Congress for more corporate welfare] and more tax exemptions. The end result is a corporate giant like GE extracting obscene profits from our country, while sticking the rest of us with the bill.

Tell GE: Pay your taxes. Click here to automatically add your name to the petition. http://www.credoaction.com/campaign/ge_taxes/?rc=homepage

Thank you for speaking out. Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets

Note: 1"G.E.'s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether," David Kocieniewski, New York Times, March 24, 2011.

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

A day late and a few billion dollars short, merrill. The NYT article has been thoroughly discredited, mostly because apparently they don't know the difference between a "net tax benefit" and a credit any more than you do. And, um, I doubt the NYT said that GE made $26B in profits "in the United States" in the last coupla' years, since they didn't. Of the $14 billion from last year, only somewhere between 5.1 and 5.5 billion of that was from U.S. operations.

But then, GE isn't "America's largest corporation", either.

Thank you for such a fine example of exactly what the LTE writer was talking about (the LTE writer even pointed out some of the discrepancies in the NYT article). There is nothing in your post that has a single element of truth in it.

But that won't stop you from re-posting this 10,000 times over the next several years. At least it was already impossible to put any LESS stock in any of the drivel you post.

funkdog1 3 years, 9 months ago

Robin: I went to the article you cited and it explained that though GE paid its taxes, it also kept a huge amount of its profits overseas so that it would not have to pay taxes on those profits.

funkdog1 3 years, 9 months ago

The problem is that Robin "busted" one piece of "misinformation" with more misinformation. Not only is GE hiding profits overseas so that it doesn't have to pay U.S. taxes on those profits, it's paying taxes to those other countries. We are fighting two wars. Doesn't it bother you that GE is hiding money that could be helping our soldiers?

notajayhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Well, funkdog, except for one little detail:

"though GE paid its taxes, it also kept a huge amount of its profits overseas"

Maybe because almost two thirds of the profits were from overseas operations? Just a thought.

jafs 3 years, 9 months ago

I did a little research on this topic.

The NYT article was a bit misleading, in that they stated GE paid no taxes without clarifying they meant federal corporate income taxes.

But GE was also misleading, and in fact said 2 things that cannot both be true - "We paid no taxes because we didn't owe any" and "We paid taxes and will owe some" (later on).

And, the Times statement was based on the GE statement that they didn't owe any taxes.

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