(Source: fey-bear, via )
The Wall Street Journal reports that NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk reached an all time high last year (2011) with just about 684,330 stopped and questioned. What is more alarming is that 87% of those folks happen to be Black and
HispanicLatino. Here are some stats:
And who was it that got stop-and-frisked the most? 92 percent of those stopped were males, and 87 percent of those stopped were black or Hispanic, a glaring disparity considering blacks and Hispanics make up only 59 percent of the city’s population.
Just 12 percent of those stopped were arrested.
“Last year alone, the NYPD stopped enough totally innocent New Yorkers to fill Madison Square Garden more than 30 times over,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “It is not a crime to walk down the street in New York City, yet every day innocent black and brown New Yorkers are turned into suspects for doing just that. It is a stunning abuse of power that undermines trust between police and the community.”
March 22, 2012 |Photo Credit: Shutterstock
But increasingly, the biggest punchline of all is a growing breed of firms that are classified as “non-taxable.” That’s right. These firms pay zilch. Nada. Zippo.being.
Take the case of StoneMor Partners, a firm seeking to profit from dying baby boomers, who will need an awful lot of cemetery real estate. The company, whose mission is “to memorialize each life with dignity” might add a second motto to its mission statement: “to capitalize on each tax break with alacrity.”
StoneMor takes advantage of a special structure known as a pass through, in which profits are passed along to investors who pay taxes on those sums through their individual returns. The exception has been around for decades, but lately Congress and state governments have broadened it to encourage “entrepreneurship.” The idea is to help small businesses, which sounds like a good thing. Until you realize that a mammoth private equity company like Blackstone and a massive construction firm like Bechtel, among others, are using this kind of business organization to avoid the taxman altogether.
The percentage of U.S. corporations structured as “nontaxable businesses” soared from about 24 percent in 1986 to about 69 percent as of 2008, according to the Internal Revenue Service. If you include partnerships and sole proprietors, the number gets even bigger.
And there’s more: Up to 60 percent of all U.S. businesses with profits of $1 million are structured as pass-throughs. In the Wall Street Journal, John D. McKinnon points out that their enormous popularity is “one big reason why federal corporate tax collections amounted to just 1.3% of GDP in 2010, well below their mark of 2.7% in 2006 and far beneath their peak of 6.1% in 1952.”
Who is in favor of this gross unfairness? Democrats and Republicans alike have failed to make taking it on a priority. Unsurprisingly, a GOP-backed coalition of building contractors, beer distributors, car dealers and funeral directors has been the most vehement in arguing that changing the rules will block “entrepreneurship.”
Does Blackstone, the world’s fifth-largest private equity firm, really need our assistance?
The pass-through structure, in addition to being unfair, encourages fraud that the Internal Revenue Service has a hard time spotting. S corporations, partnerships and other pass-throughs game the system by underreporting income and overstating deductions. Billions in uncollected taxes each year are the result of this scamming.
In an era of laid-off school teachers, uninsured children, widespread joblessness, and crumbling roads and bridges, this is nothing short of obscene. As economist William Lazonick, director of the U Mass Center for Industrial Competitiveness, put it to me in an email:
“Ordinary taxpayers should be outraged by the obsession of business executives with tax avoidance. Our tax dollars have played a major role in funding the physical infrastructures and human capital that support business enterprise. Then they pull out every trick in the book to deprive us of our fair share of business profits. Besides reflecting a profound moral deficit on the part of our business ‘leaders,’ it is a recipe for U.S. economic decline that calls for massive tax reform.”
Obviously, reform to get rid of these loopholes is wildly overdue. Once we decide as a nation what our government needs to spend in order to have a decent and prosperous society and what share of total tax revenues different types of economic actors should pay, there should be no more excuses. And businesses that refuse to pay their share should be called by their proper name: parasites.
“Sometimes things go wrong, and life seems pointless.”
(Mark Booth, The Secret History of the World, ©2008 Overlook Press)
“Micheal was a black belt in karate.”
(Greg Bottoms - Angelhead)
Eheheheh, his last name’s Bottoms. What a dweeb
“On a summer’s afternoon in 1938 at the Berghof, we were ready to go for a drive.”
I LOVE DRIVES
Mary Lee Daugherty’s case study of snake-handling congregations in West Virginia, originally written in 1976, shows the integration of myth and symbol in religious practice.
(Pamela A. Moro & James E. Myers - Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion: A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion)
So….Does this mean I’m going to have sex with someone from a snake-handling congregation in West Virginia?
“Short doesn’t necessarily mean small.”
Wow. Thanks Telluride Film Festival 2011 Yearbook.
“Instead of discussing how queer desire in this country is literally and figuratively policed, making links to communities of color and our daily lived experiences of police brutality, the customers and owners of the play party reproduced the racist and classist actions hurled against working-class communities of color.”
Oh geez. I guess that’s a pretty expected result considering I’ve had a book called That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation on my desk for several weeks. However, I will feel like a total jerk if that is how my sex life really is this year - don’t exoticize bodies of color, respectfully eroticize one another! (To quote one of my favorite YouTube musicians.)
“On their heads are what appear to be small hats or hooks, giving them the appearance of adorable human bracelet chains.”
From Six Feet Over by Mary Roach.
Yu Yu Hakusho was, as a matter of fact! This list makes me feel really old, though.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was like… ten, yelling about how Spuffy was superior to Bangel… yup.
Disney’s Aladdin. I fangirled Iago - who is basically Tyrion in parrot form. Go figure.
Lord of the Rings.
I’m pretty sure I started Digimon and Star Wars at the same time… I mean, I distinctly remember coming up with what I now recognize as fanfic in my head before I went to bed, about how Tai and Sora would get married and Obi-Wan would catch the bouquet.
I was a charming child.
Relic … Hunter …
First fandom where I actually interacted with people…American Idol. Adam Lambert. Kradam. ‘Nuff said. :’)
This is what a police state looks like.
“So much money has gone into armoring and arming local law-enforcement since 9/11 that the federal government could have rebuilt post-Katrina New Orleans five times over and had enough money left in the kitty to provide job training and housing for every one of the record 41,000-plus homeless people in New York City. It could have added in the growing population of 15,000 homeless in Philadelphia, my hometown, and still have had money to spare. Add disintegrating Detroit, Newark, and Camden to the list. Throw in some crumbling bridges and roads, too.” - Inside the Out-of-Control Weaponized Homeland Security State