Beneath the Gloss of the Economic Summit, Shit is Still Fucked Up and Bullshit

by lizard

Montana’s Economic Summit, held in Butte and organized by Max Baucus, is making plenty of headlines, with CEO’s making big announcements about expanding business in Montana, and providing insights like this:

Jim McNerney, chairman and CEO of Boeing, also used the conference to announce a $35 million expansion of its manufacturing plant in Helena and the hiring of 20 to 25 new employees.

McNerney also called for federal tax reform, a frequent theme of corporate executives at the summit. Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is leading an effort to overhaul the federal tax code before he retires when his term ends in 2014.

McNerney told the summit that the U.S. corporate tax rate – at 35 percent – is the highest in the industrialized world by 10 percentage points.

Corporations would like to reduce corporate tax rates, McNerney said, but Boeing, and perhaps others, are willing to give up multiple tax preferences to achieve the goal of lower rates.

“We recognize that everyone will have to give a little bit to get … in the end zone, for tax reform,” he said. “We all admire your senior senator’s strong-minded efforts to make something happen, in the time that he has left in office … and there is little time left. The ranks of bridge-builders in Congress seem to be thinning with every election.”

Overhauling the U.S. tax system could spur higher economic growth and create more higher-wage jobs, he said.

I call bullshit. Corporations don’t need an overhaul of the US tax system to provide higher-wage jobs, because they are already sitting on an immense amount of cash:

Corporations are hoarding cash: despite dividends and buybacks, cash is likely to hit another record high.

Cash set a record in the first quarter of 2013 on an absolute basis: $1.093 trillion in the S&P 500. It has set a record for 18 of the last 20 quarters.

With 47 percent of the S&P 500 reporting,we are once again on track for record cash levels.

What’s going on? The short answer is that companies are not spending as much…they have record earnings, but they are holding on to a lot of the money.

We continue to be told that if we go along with enriching the upper echelons with tax cuts and lower corporate tax rates, more higher-paying jobs will be created. We are told this by CEO’s who do everything to exploit the current tax system for their investors, not for their employees. And the platform for this event was put together by one of the senate’s most corrupt senators, our very own Max Baucus, the asshole who torpedoed health care reform for the benefit of insurance parasites and legal drug pushers.

But the kids had a great time watching this economic summit “trend” on social media, so why rain on their parade, especially considering technology was a big topic of interest at this summit?

Technology may have been one of the main focuses, but I don’t think a tech behemoth like Google wants to talk too much about being the target of the NSA (along with financial institutions and the president of Brazil, who canceled a state visit in protest).

Maybe it’s just me, but I think it may be important to continue bringing awareness to the increasingly surreal disclosures about the ever-expanding tentacles of our security state, like how General Keith Alexander built a room called the Information Dominance Center, modeled after the deck of the Star Trek Enterprise. Seriously. This quote comes from the PBS Newshour:

“When he was running the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather ‘captain’s chair’ in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.

“‘Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,’ says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits.”

Yesterday was the second anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. If we want to have an honest conversation about where we are at after 5 years of post-collapse “recovery” then it might be important to reexamine the “biggest incident of financial terrorism in US History”.

Occupy Wall Street may not be in a position of influence, but their mottos and slogans still apply.

Because shit is still fucked up and bullshit.


  1. Boeing got huge subsidies from Kansas and sold facilities and quickly moved production to Mexico and China. Mike Pompeo, a businessman who removed his production machinery from Wichita to Mexico and sourced his products from China was elected to Congress, thanks to considerable help from the Koch brothers.

  2. trojanxen

    While company profit holding is important factor and needs to be discussed. Effective Tax rate is a more adequate message that needs to be delivered. For example Boeing effectively had -1.8% rate between 2008-2010. http://www.ctj.org/corporatetaxdodgers/CorporateTaxDodgersReport.pdf

    Corporate tax reform does need to happen. However it must not be revenue neutral and should ultimately focus on actual domestic job creation, not the bullshit of lower taxes means more jobs crap that has failed for 30 years. Something these large companies are not going to like…

    • Thanks for the link. There was a brief time when companies took their profits and paid good wages and put money into research and development of better products. Roughly the 1950s and 1960s. This was a time when the highest rate on individual income taxes were at 91% with most rich people, after working with a tax lawyer, paid around 72% or so. That’s one way to encourage higher wages and R& D instead of hoarding. Taxes.
      Another way would be to have worker owned companies which made sure the profits were distributed a bit more evenly than having a CEO make 500 to 1000 times more than the average worker. And an intermediate way would be like in Germany where workers sat on the boards and have some decision making ability. Bosch workers said Bosch could have factories elsewhere as long as no jobs were lost in Germany. It worked. Nobody lost their job at Bosch in Germany, and Bosch still expanded into other countries. They now are the leaders in washing machines and not us.

  3. Big Swede

    Ever stop and think why corporations are sitting on huge mounds of cash?

    Why do mormons stockpile groceries? Why do bears pig out before winter? Why are banks hoarding dollars?

    Because the economic winter approaches.

    Unlike you idiot grasshoppers.

    Lets party till frost.

    • lizard19

      ok smart guy, why is economic winter approaching? and while you’re chewing on that, maybe you can explain to our readers why 46 million Americans are living below the poverty line?

      • Big Swede

        Short answer.

        Government running the economy.

        • lizard19

          I didn’t realize the government runs the big banks. the government did make a huge mistake in deregulating those wall street criminals, though, so in a way you are right.

          • Big Swede

            The Govt. is dumping $85B into the stock market every month.

            If they’re not running them they’re buying them.

            • lizard19

              you do realize the Fed isn’t actually the government, right?

              • Big Swede

                Yeah right.

                And puppets don’t have strings.

            • JC

              …and the bond market isn’t the stock market? But I agree QE isn’t the best thing for the Fed to be doing right now.

    • JC

      I’ll play along:

      Ever stop and think why corporations are sitting on huge mounds of cash?

      Sure. They are sitting on huge mounds of cash because there aren’t enough dollars sitting in the middle class pockets to buy new products if corporations were to invest in new capacity or innovate. So the goal is to maximize profit through a combination of depressing wages and benefits, and minimizing investment. Self defeating if you ask me — and partially driven by the conservative mantra to make the economy look bad so republicans can win, and defeat obamaism (create “certainty”). Then when a republican president takes hold, they can let the dam break.

      Why do mormons stockpile groceries

      So their wives have plenty of vittles on hand to feed the burgeoning communes.

      Why do bears pig out before winter

      HIbernation (do I get bonus points?)

      Why are banks hoarding dollars? Because the economic winter approaches.

      The economic winter is already here for billions.

      Banks are hoarding dollars because us tax payers were stupid enough to bail them out with near interest-free loans. So they used our backing to loan us non-1%-ers money at usurius rates. And capital reserve requirements will hopefully increase so that banks are forced to keep a stake in their financialized industry. They’ll be less likely to do things like securitize bad mortgages and get caught holding the bad paper.

      Unlike you idiot grasshoppers. Lets party till frost.

      Just like on the Titanic, would you rather go down screaming, or go down in the throes of orgasm? Oh, and by the way, when the coming locust swarms hit the bankers and cash-heavy corporations, there’ll be nothing left to hoard. What was it Obama said when taking office? Oh, yeah: “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

      Are you ready for locust swarms, BS? Ever try to stop a locust swarm with a shotgun? Seems pretty futile. Even Locutus said “resistance is futile.” (had to throw a star trek reference in there to complete the NSA part of the story).

  4. JC

    This kind of fucked up shit just really pisses me off:

    Big No-Tax Corps Just Keep on Dodging

    Last November, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy issued a major study of the federal income taxes paid, or not paid, by 280 big, profitable Fortune 500 corporations. That report found, among other things, that 30 of the companies paid no net federal income tax from 2008 through 2010. New information for 2011 shows that almost all these 30 companies have maintained their tax dodging ways.

    In fact, all but four of the 30 companies remained in the no-federal-income-tax category over the 2008-11 period.
    Over the four years:

    # 26 of the 30 companies continued to enjoy negative federal income tax rates. That means they still made more money after tax than before tax over the four years!

    # Of the remaining four companies, three paid four- year effective tax rates of less than 4 percent (specifically, 0.2%, 2.0% and 3.8%). One company paid a 2008-11 tax rate of 10.9 percent.

    # In total, 2008-11 federal income taxes for the 30 companies remained negative, despite $205 billion in pretax U.S. profits. Overall, they enjoyed an average effective federal income tax rate of –3.1 percent over the four years.

    “These big, profitable corporations are continuing to shift their tax burden onto average Americans,” said Citizens for Tax Justice director Bob McIntyre. “This isn’t fair to the rest of us, it makes no economic sense, and it’s part of the reason our government is running huge budget deficits.”

    • Big Swede

      Great pic.

      Hope this clears it up.

      http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/fearful_of_economcy_nj-based_c.html

      • Read the comments section of the article.

      • JC

        You make my point. From your link:

        “The stashed resources are both a reflection of nervousness about the future and a tepid business climate. Spending money on new employees is a risk because stripped-down labor forces are already capable of meeting the anemic demands of today’s frightened consumers, said Joel Naroff, of Naroff Economic Advisors.

        “Big companies are reactive rather than proactive,” Naroff said. “They’re not going to go out and invest heavily in the United States, they’re not going to go out and hire, they’re not going to out and spend a lot of money until they believe the consumer is already spending.

        “It goes back to actual demand,’’ he said, “not the expectation of demand.””

        So corporations are caught in a catch 22: they’re not going to spend their hoards until consumers start spending, yet consumers can’t spend when all that cash is locked up, and not being spread around. So what happens? Banks lend meager amounts at userius interest rates, further impairing the ability of consumers to spend.

        How do we get out of it? Pitchforks.

        • Big Swede

          Let’s take this a step further.

          I’m saying (and most economists) if you get rid of the clusterfuck that’s Ocare, drop the highest corporate rate in the world, address the defecit, reduce regs. you’ll get things back on tract.

          Until then you’d be stupid to hire anyone.

          • JC

            Doing all of those things will do nothing to solve the glaring problems of today: lack of access to healthcare for 10’s of millions of americans, reduce inequity, and alleviate poverty. If anything, it would increase all of the above. I guess it’s all about what’s important to you.

            As to hiring anyone, you hire to meet demand, and to innovate/speculate (or to fulfill the ever-burgeoning government contract military-industrial complex). Unfortunately non-government demand is for minimum wage service workers catering to what’s left of the middle class, and the 1%.

            Pitchforks, I say.

            • Big Swede

              Does OWSers even know what a pitchfork is?

              • JC

                Pitchfork is not the tool of choice of OWSers. Especially when the feds have everybody under surveillance. Much better that the pitchfork is wielded by the masses lead by the middle class, and no-longer-middle class. And it may be a metaphorical pitchfork, but the power of a declining middle class revolt is not to be understated.

  5. Turner

    Is it too soon to start advocating for outright socialism? It’s more of an answer to our problems than laissez-faire capitalism.

    • lizard19

      in a recent PEW poll, 49% of Millennials saw Socialism in a positive light.

      • Big Swede

        Good thing for us Montanans is the fact that we don’t have to travel great distances to observe the wonders of socialism.

        “Imagine a country that has a corrupt authoritarian government. In that country no one knows about checks and balances or an independent court system. Private property is not recognized in that country either. Neither can one buy or sell land. And businesses are reluctant to bring investments into this country. Those who have jobs usually work for the public sector. Those who don’t have jobs subsist on entitlements that provide basic food. At the same time, this country sports a free health care system and free access to education. Can you guess what country it is? It could be the former Soviet Union, Cuba, or any other socialist country of the past.

        Yet, I want to assure you that such a country exists right here in the United States. And its name is Indian Country.”

        • lizard19

          yes, evil socialism is everywhere. it’s even in the socialized risk stemming from the public bailout of wall street.

        • JC

          Besides your quote being a highly inaccurate description (“Neither can one buy or sell land” really, do you think we’re that dumb???!!!… and tribal members pay property taxes just like nonmembers and send their kids to public schools supported by tax dollars. And jobs? I guess you haven’t spent any time spending money at private businesses that are all over the place on the rez.)

          Enough said. I had a bunch more written but lost it… probably better that I did, as this sort of racist tripe you quote really gets my blood boiling.

          • Big Swede

            Here’s job info.

            http://www.montana.edu/wwwextec/countydata/Crow.pdf

            I’ll get back on the other stuff. Note 90% on free or reduced lunch.

            • Big Swede

              Here’s the tax info.

              Scroll down to the Taxes paragraph.

              http://www.infoplease.com/us/census/american-indian-federal.html

              • JC

                So, what’s your point? There’s no difference from a property tax standpoint of a native or non-native — on or off rez — living on a fee title piece of property. Taxes get levied and paid, schools get funded.

                Where it says “local property taxes are not paid on reservation or trust land”, there is no difference between those lands and state or federal lands. Why should a sovereign nation pay taxes to the U.S. for reservation or trust lands? Why do you think we went to war with Britain? To keep them from levying taxes on us.

                Here, go read from the BIA site:

                “American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, businesses, and individuals may also own land as private property. In such cases, they are subject to state and local laws, regulations, codes, and taxation.”

  6. Big Swede

    In a socialistic world could you free yourself from the collective?

    Like the Scarecrow?

    • JC

      You confuse socialism with communism when you refer to “the collective.”

      Also, are you not a member of your local farmers’ coop, credit union, rural electric coop, or phone coop? Because they’re all forms of socialism. In fact, that’s what really built the west — and still sustains most of the rural west. Or have you given up the rural dream to live the rich life in Billings?

      • Big Swede

        Our ranch lies between the Crow Reservation and Billings.

        And you’re right I do participate in an electric coop. But that’s as close as I want to be to socialism.

        I’m thinking you’re pushing the collective def. a little too far. This is what I infer.

        “Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”

        • JC

          Yeah, communism not socialism. If you want to get into a discussion about the different forms of socialism, and their evolution over time go do some reading. For starters, Alperovitz is a good example of a modern socialist writer.

          And I don’t know of any modern socialists that think that “subjugation” is a good thing.

          And you probably are a whole lot closer to a lot of forms of socialism than you think, outside of the ones I listed above. Got health or life or car insurance? That’s a form of socialism too: pooled risk. Buy your seed from FedCo? That’s one of the largest coops used by farmers and ranchers. Buy your gas or Coors at Cenex? Coop. Eat Darigold products, or sell milk to Darigold? Coop. Tillamook cheese or sour cream? Coop. Ever use the Farm Credit System? Coop. Use REI Outdoor Products? Coop.

          And on and on. You could just continue to fritter your money away contributing to CEO largesse, or you could participate in worker/member owned cooperative businesses. All the ones I listed above are highly valued and regarded businesses. So what was your problem with “socialism” again???

          • Big Swede

            Key words, “subjugation” and “chained”.

            • JC

              And what exactly about any of the businesses I listed above represents “subjugation” or “chained?”

              Nobody is forcing you to use cooperative or worker/member owned businesses. Those of us who do, do so because they offer superior products at affordable costs. And the profits are shared among worker/member/owners, instead of being siphoned off by the CEO and shareholders.

              And nobody here is saying that publicly held and traded corporations are going to be outlawed.

              • Big Swede

                Tell that to the owners/workers at the Billings coal fired power plant.

                As to the diff. between commies and socialists I refer to “The Dutchman”.

                “Remember the only difference between a socialist and a communist is that a socialist is a communist who has not yet found his AK-47 nor worked up the guts to use it, whereas a communist is a socialist who has found his Kalashnikov and is more than willing to use it on his political enemies.” — Mike Vanderboegh”

  7. lizard19

    from Zerohedge:

    With rumors this evening of the White House calling around for support for Yellen, Marc Faber’s comments today during a Bloomberg TV interview are even more prescient. Fearing that Janet Yellen “would make Bernanke look like a hawk,” Faber explains that he is not entirely surprised by today’s no-taper news since he believes we are now in QE-unlimited and the people at the Fed “never worked a single-day in the business of ordinary people,” adding that “they don’t understand that if you print money, it benefits basically a handful of people.” Following today’s action, Faber is waiting to seeing if there is any follow-through but notes that “Feds have already lost control of the bond market. The question is when will it lose control of the stock market.” The Fed, he warns, has boxed themselves in and “the endgame is a total collapse, but from a higher diving board.”

    • Big Swede

      It’s a round world.

      What goes around comes around.

      LDS your basement.

      • JC

        And here I thought you were a card-carrying member of the Flat Earth Society…

        And don’t be so dyslexic. Do LSD in the basement with your grocery stockpile and all your wives.

  8. lizard19

    a great piece by Ochenski about the sham of the Baucus economic summit.




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