Welfare for the Rich.

Josh_R

Registered User
Jan 29, 2005
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#1
Yet another reason that these "Occupy" assholes should be camped in Washington D.C. instead of Wall Street.

Your Tax Dollars Subsidizing Scottie Pippin, Ted Turner, and Jon Bon Jovi?

by Trish Turner | November 14, 2011


If ever there was a populist blueprint for deficit reduction, this has got to be it.

Each year, millionaires are soaking the government, not illegally, for some $30 billion in benefits from tax giveaways and loan programs, according to a report by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

The Republican senator, a staunch fiscal hawk and equal opportunity scourge of government waste and abuse, released "Subsidies of the Rich and Famous" Monday to little fanfare, saying in an e-mailed statement, "This welfare for the well-off - costing billions of dollars a year - is being paid for with the taxes of the less fortunate, many who are working two jobs just to make ends meet, and IOUs to be paid off by future generations."

The eye-popping findings in the 36-page report include some eye-catching names, like former NBA star Scottie Pippen and billionaire media mogul Ted Turner, both of whom received farm subsidies courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Singer Jon Bon Jovi paid property taxes of only $100 last year on a plot of land he used to raise bees. Iconic crooner Bruce Springsteen also got in on the farm subsidy action, for property he leases to an organic farmer. And Millionaire composer-producer Quincy Jones is even singled out for receiving a $25,000 award from the federally-funded National Endowment for the Arts.

Coburn's investigation found that from 2003 to 2009, millionaires received over $316 million in farm program payments. In one four-year period alone, the senator's staff, reviewing tax returns found that fully 78 percent of recipients listed a city as their primary address, not exactly a location for a farm.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture regularly pays millionaires, the report found, to conserve land and protect endangered species, waving income caps for government subsidies in current law. In the past two years, Coburn's staff counted more than $89 million paid out, as a result of this waiver authority.

The report lists two examples: "A founder and former executive of an insurance company improperly received more than $300,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006; and a part-owner of a professional sports franchise received total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006."

"The government's social safety net, which has long existed to catch those who are down and help them get back up, is now being used as a hammock by some millionaires, some who are paying less taxes than average middle class families," Coburn said.

Parents are likely to be outraged when they read about millionaires taking advantage of a Department of Education low-interest loan program. Over the past four years, the average loan paid out through one program to wealthy families was $19,405. A total of more than $16 million went to rich students. Not only that, but those making more than $1 million in their adjusted gross income, from 2007 to 2009, according to the Coburn report, saved $18 million through childcare tax credits.

And perhaps one of the most egregious findings in the report, millionaires collecting home heating assistance from a program that is supposed to help the very poor. A nonpartisan General Accounting Office investigation found wealthy individuals collecting payments through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) while living in million-dollar mansions in tony Potomac, Maryland and in the Chicago suburbs. According to the report, "GAO even identified one such person living in a home valued at $2 million, who also owned a Mercedes. That same individual won a multimillion dollar settlement in the mid-2000s, which was under appeal at the time of the report."

Taxpayers also subsidized the losses of gamblers to the tune of $20 billion over the past four years.

Coburn said his investigation, compiled using some previously-published government reports and news accounts, reveals the "sheer Washington stupidity with government policies pampering the wealthy costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year."

But to be clear, these individuals did nothing wrong, technically. The system is the system, and these individuals operated within it, not apart from it.

No doubt, these findings will be waived about by both sides of the aisle in the ongoing fight over deficit reduction, which has a bipartisan group on the brink of failure as it grapples to find at least $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years. Republicans want tax code reform; Democrats want the rich to "pay their fair share." The report provides ammo to both sides.

"This is not an accidental loophole in the law. To the contrary, this reverse Robin Hood style of wealth redistribution is an intentional effort to get all Americans bought into a system where everyone appears to benefit," Coburn said. "We should never demonize those who are successful. Nor should we pamper them with unnecessary welfare to create an appearance everyone is benefiting from federal programs."

Read more: http://politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2...pin-ted-turner-and-jon-bon-jovi#ixzz1dipdbHi6
 
Jun 2, 2005
15,516
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Dallas
#2
Just like it's a CEO's job to make money for their share-holders, multi-millionaires have money guys who's sole job is to make and save money using any programs available to assist the person he works for.

If you let the federal government handle any program which delivers money directly to or removes money directly from the citizens, they will find a way to fuck it up, and people will rip it off. Usually those who can afford the best attorneys.
 

CousinDave

Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
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#4
Herman Cain should be jumping all over this
 

Motor Head

HIGHWAY TRASH REMOVAL
Jan 23, 2006
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#5
Q: How does a farmer double his income?
A: He puts up a second mailbox.

Farm subsidies have been such a fucking scam for so long. It was bad enough when farm families were being paid not to grow food, it's another thing with corporations getting them for not growing food. Michelle Bachman got farm subsidies. Conagra, a huge corporation gets enormous subsidy checks.
 

CousinDave

Registered User
Dec 11, 2007
25,297
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#6
Q: How does a farmer double his income?
A: He puts up a second mailbox.

Farm subsidies have been such a fucking scam for so long. It was bad enough when farm families were being paid not to grow food, it's another thing with corporations getting them for not growing food. Michelle Bachman got farm subsidies. Conagra, a huge corporation gets enormous subsidy checks.

like anything else, its just another example of corporate welfare
 

Myhairygrundle

Screw you guys, I'm going home.
Jul 16, 2005
6,797
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#7
Q: How does a farmer double his income?
A: He puts up a second mailbox.

Farm subsidies have been such a fucking scam for so long. It was bad enough when farm families were being paid not to grow food, it's another thing with corporations getting them for not growing food. Michelle Bachman got farm subsidies. Conagra, a huge corporation gets enormous subsidy checks.

That's a good one. I would tell it to my Husker family, but I'm sure they heard it.
 

Ihateinternmatt

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
79
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#9
The bottom line is the government is to blame, they write the tax codes and subsudies that get abused. Its a free country, you make your own way its no ones fault if your not rich and most people if they were in the position would do the same thing. There will always be corruption but a percentage of it would go away if it wasnt for the irs and government dipping their hands in everyones pockets and regulating the fuck out of every business. The rich pay the majority of the taxes in this country. Sorry to say the guy working two jobs most likely pays zero taxes, they might have a witholding all year but most get all or the majority of it back. Cant blame people for making money.
 

Josh_R

Registered User
Jan 29, 2005
5,847
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Akron, Ohio
#11
Good luck getting this repealed, what with Iowa being a "key" state for politicians to pander to



He's got to check with his advisors first :rolleyes:
Fair tax, flat tax, 9-9-9, they all "repeal" every bit of this horseshit. But, I agree that it will be an uphill battle against middle America.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
24,322
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#12
Fair tax, flat tax, 9-9-9, they all "repeal" every bit of this horseshit. But, I agree that it will be an uphill battle against middle America.
In theory, yes, but we all saw how legislation that was simple in theory *cough* Healthcare Reform *cough* turned into a contest of who I could pander to in order to muster the right amount of votes.
 

Josh_R

Registered User
Jan 29, 2005
5,847
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Akron, Ohio
#13
In theory, yes, but we all saw how legislation that was simple in theory *cough* Healthcare Reform *cough* turned into a contest of who I could pander to in order to muster the right amount of votes.
I agree with you there too (this is a landmark day!), but I don't particularly remember anyone promising that healthcare reform would be simple.
 

Josh_R

Registered User
Jan 29, 2005
5,847
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578
Akron, Ohio
#14
In theory, yes, but we all saw how legislation that was simple in theory *cough* Healthcare Reform *cough* turned into a contest of who I could pander to in order to muster the right amount of votes.
I agree with you there too (this is a landmark day!), but I don't particularly remember anyone promising that healthcare reform would be simple.
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Apr 27, 2005
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#15
This is outrageous. I think we should create another government agency whose job it is to monitor these kinds of things!

:trollol:
 

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
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#17
Kinda related a little. I didn't realize they're exempt from insider trading rules like that...

Congress: Trading stock on inside information?

(CBS News)
November 13, 2011 7:06 PM

Washington, D.C. is a town that runs on inside information - but should our elected officials be able to use that information to pad their own pockets? As Steve Kroft reports, members of Congress and their aides have regular access to powerful political intelligence, and many have made well-timed stock market trades in the very industries they regulate. For now, the practice is perfectly legal, but some say it's time for the law to change.

The following is a script of "Insiders" which aired on Nov. 13, 2011. Steve Kroft is correspondent, Ira Rosen and Gabrielle Schonder, producers.

The next national election is now less than a year away and congressmen and senators are expending much of their time and their energy raising the millions of dollars in campaign funds they'll need just to hold onto a job that pays $174,000 a year.

Few of them are doing it for the salary and all of them will say they are doing it to serve the public. But there are other benefits: Power, prestige, and the opportunity to become a Washington insider with access to information and connections that no one else has, in an environment of privilege where rules that govern the rest of the country, don't always apply to them.

Questioning Pelosi: Steve Kroft heads to D.C.
When Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, and other lawmakers wouldn't answer Steve Kroft's questions, he headed to Washington to get some answers about their stock trades.

Most former congressmen and senators manage to leave Washington - if they ever leave Washington - with more money in their pockets than they had when they arrived, and as you are about to see, the biggest challenge is often avoiding temptation.

Peter Schweizer: This is a venture opportunity. This is an opportunity to leverage your position in public service and use that position to enrich yourself, your friends, and your family.

Peter Schweizer is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank at Stanford University. A year ago he began working on a book about soft corruption in Washington with a team of eight student researchers, who reviewed financial disclosure records. It became a jumping off point for our own story, and we have independently verified the material we've used.

Schweizer says he wanted to know why some congressmen and senators managed to accumulate significant wealth beyond their salaries, and proved particularly adept at buying and selling stocks.

Schweizer: There are all sorts of forms of honest grafts that congressmen engage in that allow them to become very, very wealthy. So it's not illegal, but I think it's highly unethical, I think it's highly offensive, and wrong.

Steve Kroft: What do you mean honest graft?

Schweizer: For example insider trading on the stock market. If you are a member of Congress, those laws are deemed not to apply.

Kroft: So congressman get a pass on insider trading?

Schweizer: They do. The fact is, if you sit on a healthcare committee and you know that Medicare, for example, is-- is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug that's market moving information. And if you can trade stock on-- off of that information and do so legally, that's a great profit making opportunity. And that sort of behavior goes on.

Kroft: Why does Congress get a pass on this?

Schweizer: It's really the way the rules have been defined. And the people who make the rules are the political class in Washington. And they've conveniently written them in such a way that they don't apply to themselves.

The buying and selling of stock by corporate insiders who have access to non-public information that could affect the stock price can be a criminal offense, just ask hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam who recently got 11 years in prison for doing it. But, congressional lawmakers have no corporate responsibilities and have long been considered exempt from insider trading laws, even though they have daily access to non-public information and plenty of opportunities to trade on it.

Schweizer: We know that during the health care debate people were trading health care stocks. We know that during the financial crisis of 2008 they were getting out of the market before the rest of America really knew what was going on.

In mid September 2008 with the Dow Jones Industrial average still above ten thousand, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were holding closed door briefings with congressional leaders, and privately warning them that a global financial meltdown could occur within a few days. One of those attending was Alabama Representative Spencer Bachus, then the ranking Republican member on the House Financial Services Committee and now its chairman.

Schweizer: These meetings were so sensitive-- that they would actually confiscate cell phones and Blackberries going into those meetings. What we know is that those meetings were held one day and literally the next day Congressman Bachus would engage in buying stock options based on apocalyptic briefings he had the day before from the Fed chairman and treasury secretary. I mean, talk about a stock tip.

While Congressman Bachus was publicly trying to keep the economy from cratering, he was privately betting that it would, buying option funds that would go up in value if the market went down. He would make a variety of trades and profited at a time when most Americans were losing their shirts.
Link/More
 

Motor Head

HIGHWAY TRASH REMOVAL
Jan 23, 2006
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#18
If any one of the GOP candidates promised a top to bottom audit of every department of the government, they would jump out ahead in my mind. A total nuclear bomb of audit, and restructuring....but we all know this won't happen. The guy selling $4.00 boxes of pens to the Department of Energy for $20.00 a piece is writing checks to one of the committee members re-election campaign.

At some point I really wish DC would float off into the Atlantic Ocean and sink with every single congressman, senator and the rest of them chained to their desks.
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
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Jan 12, 2010
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#19
If any one of the GOP candidates promised a top to bottom audit of every department of the government, they would jump out ahead in my mind. A total nuclear bomb of audit, and restructuring....but we all know this won't happen. The guy selling $4.00 boxes of pens to the Department of Energy for $20.00 a piece is writing checks to one of the committee members re-election campaign.

At some point I really wish DC would float off into the Atlantic Ocean and sink with every single congressman, senator and the rest of them chained to their desks.
I've been saying this a while. Have a private firm (or multiple firms) come in and audit the federal government. Pay them 10% of all the waste they cut without sacrificing production. Have the audit include possible staff reductions, but don't fire anyone because that would increase employment.

Then enact a 10 year hiring freeze. Every agency that needs more people must transfer them from agencies that have been determined to have too many employees.

It will never happen, but it's a reasonable way to start cutting waste. Unfortunately we're simply fucked until the government screws up so bad that there's a real revolution (not this occupy bullshit).