99% getting shafted again!

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Editor’s note: Sally Kohn is a progressive activist, columnist and television commentator. Follow her on Twitter @sallykohn. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) — Here’s something you don’t see every day: The 99% demonstrating in support of the 1%. But that’s exactly what’s been happening for several weeks all around New England at Market Basket grocery stores.

Sally Kohn

In 1916, Athanasios and Efrosini Demoulas, who immigrated to the United States from Greece, opened a grocery store in Lowell, Massachusetts. Almost a century later, the family has expanded it to a chain of 71 supermarkets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

In 2008, Anthanasios and Efrosini’s grandson Arthur T. Demoulas was elected president of the Market Basket board. By all accounts, Arthur T., as he is known, presided over a very successful and happy company. Not only did Market Basket continue to expand and reap profits — generating $4 billion in revenues in 2012 — but workers have thrived as well.

Full-time clerks start at $12 an hour. Cashiers with experience can earn over $40,000 a year. And managers can easily make into the six figures.

Are the super-rich obligated to do more? CNN Explains: The Occupy movement 2012: Does OWS represent the 99%?

Keep in mind that’s in a nation where the average annual salary for grocery store cashiers is $21,370 and the national minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

The company also has a generous retirement plan, matching 15% of annual salary to employee retirement funds. What’s more, workers up and down the supply chain receive good bonuses throughout the year.

All this and Market Basket is affordable for customers, with prices regularly 10% to 20% lower than competitors. The company is profitable in an industry known for low profit margins, and has given $500 million in dividends to the nine family shareholders over the past decade.

In other words, at a time when corporate executives and wealthy investors regularly try to argue that companies cannot pay workers well and be successful in generating profits, Market Basket has been an impressive and stunning example to the contrary. Market Basket has been a good company all around — until recently, when things changed.

So what happened? Well, the family board switched sides, ousted Arthur T. and installed his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas as president.

One of the first acts under Arthur S. was to distribute $250 million in profits to the nine family shareholders, what a Boston Globe editorial called “an uncharacteristic act of greed for a firm known for its generous treatment of its workers and concern for price-conscious shoppers.”

There have been other ominous signs that Arthur S. and his allies plan to push profit at all costs — at the expense of workers and the values of the company. And so in an unprecedented mobilization, managers and workers have protested at Market Baskets across New England, calling for their beloved CEO Artie T. to be reinstated.

Last week, more than 6,000 Market Basket workers and managers joined in a peaceful march outside the company’s headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. If you go to any Market Basket store around New England right now, you’re likely to find employees and even some customers holding up signs protesting the new executive and supporting the ousted Artie T. Employees are also using social media to get their message out, using hashtags like #MarketBasket.

Of course, if you go inside a Market Basket you’re not likely to find much; even the warehouse workers are on strike. These protests aren’t being organized by unions; after all, Market Basket workers aren’t unionized. They’re being organized by the employees and managers of the company.

Already, eight managers have been fired for helping lead the protests. But the protests continue. As a result, the company is reportedly losing $1 million a day.

A reporter interviewed one of the Market Basket workers at a protest. “I have a friend who works at Walmart,” she said, “and I asked her, would they ever do this for their CEO?” The woman laughed. But what has become of capitalism in America is not funny: the extreme greed of a few overrunning the best interests of everyone, including workers, communities and a healthy growing economy.

Just like the Occupy Wall Street protesters before them, the Market Basket workers are not protesting against capitalism. They’re protesting for a certain kind of capitalism, a capitalism that works for owners as well as for workers and communities. It’s the kind of capitalism that has made Market Basket a successful business for generations, the kind of capitalism that once meant shared prosperity and opportunity in America.

The Market Basket managers and cashiers and bag boys joining in protest aren’t just holding signs, they’re also holding the aspirations of the majority of Americans. Those of us concerned about the growing economic inequality in America don’t want to “eat the rich” — we simply don’t want the rich to chew up and spit out everyone else.

 

-FROM ME- Yet again, the inherited privileged assholes attempt to decimate one of the few businesses left that give employees a fair shake. Give people the means to educate themselves and move up the ladder, and you eliminate people that would rather sit and collect welfare. Getting rid of decent paying jobs erodes the economy and proves even more that the 1% are international and will leave this country for the next one after they have turned it into a land of poor people. 

Corporate greed!!

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18 Of America’s Biggest Companies Using Tax Havens To Skirt $92 Billion In U.S. Taxes: CTJ

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 06/03/2013 1:58 pm EDT  |  Updated: 06/03/2013 5:05 pm EDT

 

Apple may be getting all the attention from lawmakers and the news media for its offshore tax practices, but a new report finds that other major companies are using similar tactics to avoid paying taxes on billions of dollars in profits.

At least 18 companies, including Nike, Microsoft and Apple, are stashing profits in offshore tax havens likely in a bid to avoid paying taxes, according to a new report from the Citizens for Tax Justice, a left-leaning research group. If the companies brought that money home, they would pay combined more than $92 billion in U.S. taxes, the report found.

“It’s misguided to say it’s some unique thing that Apple has created,” said Matthew Gardner, the executive director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a research partner of CTJ. “A lot of big companies are very likely doing it.”

A Nike spokesperson declined to comment on the report. Microsoft and Apple didn’t immediately return messages from The Huffington Post seeking comment.

Apple came under fire last month after a Senate hearing revealed that the company paid just 2 percent in taxes on $74 billion in profits by housing its money in an Irish subsidiary that hadn’t declared its tax residency anywhere in the world. Apple CEO Tim Cook told lawmakers that the company pays “all the taxes we owe,” which, while technically true, offers an example of the larger issue of corporate tax avoidance that some lawmakers are targeting.

Companies like Apple are able to use loopholes to legally keep their money in other countries, and they don’t have to pay U.S. taxes on that money unless it comes back home. When a corporation brings money stashed abroad back to the U.S., it pays the difference between what was already paid in taxes to the country where the money was previously held and the top U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

The companies on CTJ’s list disclosed in their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that if they brought their overseas profits back to the U.S. they would pay a tax rate above 30 percent, indicating that the countries where their money is currently housed have very low tax rates.

 

“When you see somebody estimated that we’d pay 30 percent or even 35 percent when we bring these profits back, that is an indirect admission that they’ve paid nothing,” Gardner said. “There’s a very small number of countries in which you can pay single digits in taxes on your profits — and those countries have an awful lot of beach front.”

Gardner noted it’s likely there are more companies than those on CTJ’s list that avoid taxes by keeping their profits in other countries. The SEC offers companies two options when disclosing their U.S. tax rate for profits housed overseas: They can either estimate what their rate would be if they brought the profits back, or they can claim that it’s too complicated to figure out, Gardner said.

The companies that made CTJ’s list are those that offered an estimate, but there are 235 other companies that told the SEC that they’re holding profits overseas but didn’t disclose their hypothetical U.S. tax rate, according to the CTJ report. In total, these non-disclosing companies hold almost $1.3 trillion in non-repatriated profits abroad, CTJ found.

“In all likelihood the vast majority of these 235 companies could give you a good estimate of what they’d pay if these profits were brought back,” Gardner said. “The idea that they can’t just figure out what they’d pay if these profits were brought back is pretty laughable.”

Many of the companies discussed in CTJ’s report, including Apple, have pushed lawmakers to grant a holiday on taxes for corporate profits brought back home, or to move towards a territorial tax system that would allow companies to effectively pay no U.S. taxes on the income they earn abroad. Supporters of such proposals argue that adopting a simpler corporate tax code would make the U.S. a friendlier place to do business, while critics say the policies could cost America billions of dollars in tax revenue.

But Gardner said it’s difficult for lawmakers to assess those proposals when they don’t know how much companies are paying in taxes abroad.

“It’s asking an awful lot for Congress to evaluate these questions without having access to this basic information,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. Congress should have access to information that they currently don’t have access to.”

Also on HuffPost:

The Most Outrageous Corporate Tax Loopholes
 

Also in the news-How the middle class is subsidizing both the super rich and the welfare poor! The bottom line is that the middle class is sinking in the mire that the super rich have caused and we are expected to pick up the tab for assholes who sit on their asses as well! When does the Fed construct some programs to reward the working for being victimized by both the rich and the poor?? We cannot absorb this for much longer as the middle class sinks and the rich continue to get richer! Tax religion and business the way that they should be taxed and kick fucking idiots off of the welfare system and we have a chance to survive. Keep flotsam financed and we will not! This requires that stupid liberals grab their nuts and crack some eggs instead of sipping organic coffee as Rome fucking burns!! Not that the Tea Party has ANY answers, it doesn’t. As long as GOD rules the right then they can’t be effective either!