Posts tagged with "Raw Story"

On the money: Biden says corporate tax hike will pay for infrastructure plan

April 2, 2021

President Joe Biden vowed on March 31 to make companies like Amazon pay their fair share in taxes in order to fund his ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan, Raw Story reports, crediting Agence France Presse as a source.

In his speech in Pittsburgh, Biden expressed outrage over the imbalance between taxes paid by the wealthiest corporations and the burden for middle-class workers. He cited a 2019 study, which found that 91 Fortune 500 companies, “the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon … pay not a single, solitary penny of federal income tax.

“That is just wrong.”

“A fireman and a teacher paying 22% and Amazon and 90 other major corporations paying zero in federal taxes? I am going to put an end to that,” the president said.

Biden on Wednesday unveiled the far-reaching plan to shore up the nation’s highways, bridges, and ports; fund telecommunications upgrades; and increase financial backing for research and development to increase the nation’s competitive edge—especially compared to China.

A key source of the financing would come from boosting the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and cracking down on the use of tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

The package already is drawing condemnation from corporations that balk at reversing the tax cuts signed in late 2017 by then-president Donald Trump, Raw Story says. That measure slashed the corporate rate from 35%— although, with various deductions and loopholes, the average rate companies actually pay was, and remains, much lower.

Companies in the United States pay an average tax rate of just 8% compared to the 16% they paid prior to 2017, according to a recent analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Even if Congress approves Biden’s proposed increase, a corporate tax rate of 28%  still would be the lowest since World War II, with the exception of the past three years.

First enacted in 1909 in the United States, the corporate tax rate got as high as 52% in 1968 before a series of cuts in the 1970s and 1980s, Raw Story notes. .

Among the 37 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States has a relatively high official tax rate after France and Colombia at 32%, and Australia, Mexico and Portugal at 30%.

But the average US rate after deductions trails far behind many advanced economies, according to OECD data.

Amazon’s SVP for Policy and Press Jay Carney defended the company’s use of research and development tax credits on Wednesday, Raw Story said.

“If the R&D Tax Credit is a ‘loophole,’ it’s certainly one Congress strongly intended,” he wrote on Twitter; noting that it had been extended by lawmakers several times since its inception in 1981 and was made permanent by president Barack Obama in 2015.

Biden contended that the corporate tax hike was “not about penalizing anyone. I have nothing against millionaires and billionaires.”

The eight-year investment plan “builds a fairer economy that gives everybody a chance to succeed,” he said, noting it would “create millions of jobs, good-paying

As expected, business groups have sent early signs of their opposition to the Biden plan.

Research contact: @RawStory

Trump hotels and resorts left in the lurch after top luxury travel agency dumps them

March25, 2021

Former President Donald Trump’s hotel business took a fresh blow this month when a top luxury travel agency reportedly ended its preferred partnership with ten different Trump hotels, Raw Story reports.

Luxury Launches, a premium lifestyle website based in Mumbai, India, also reports that the Trump hotels received “awful news” in early March when Virtuoso—which it describes as “the travel industry’s most prominent and undisputed player”—removed all Trump hotels and resorts from its network.

“This quiet elimination of all ten Trump-branded hotels and resorts from its list of preferred partners will … severely hamper Trump’s hotel management and licensing business, which is already down $24 million since 2019, as well as his golf resorts in Miami and Europe, which are down another $120 million,” Luxury Lifestyle notes.

A spokeswoman for Virtuoso confirmed that Trump hotels were no longer part of the agency’s network and said that “we consider many variables when reviewing both existing and new network participation,” although she would not comment on why the Trump hotels had been delisted.

The financial challenge is one of several that Trump must address, now that he’s no longer in the White House. Indeed, tax records obtained by The New York Times last year revealed that he must pay back at least $421 million in personally guaranteed debt”—and that much of that debt is coming due within the next four years.

Research contact: @RawStory

Lawsuit: Trump and Giuliani conspired to violate KKK Act by inciting insurrection

February 17, 2021

On Tuesday, Febraury 16, ABC News reported that Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Missouri), the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is suing former President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for conspiring to incite the Capitol riots in January.

According to Raw Story, the complaint reads as follows: “The Defendants each intended to prevent, and ultimately delayed, members of Congress from discharging their duty commanded by the United States Constitution to approve the results of the Electoral College in order to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States,” said the complaint. “Pursuing a purpose shared by Defendants Trump and Giuliani as well as Defendant Proud Boys, Defendant Oath Keepers played a leadership role of the riotous crowd and provided military-style assistance sufficient to overcome any Capitol Police resistance.”

The unusual lawsuit relies on novel legal reasoning under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits efforts to “prevent any person from discharging their duties by force, intimidation, or threat.” It would be the first time this law is used as a penalty against a former president, if the suit is successful—although he is being sued as a private citizen rather than in his official capacity.

“With the benefit of not having to prove criminal allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, the civil lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Thompson in his personal capacity by the NAACP and civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages,” said the report. “The lawsuit is suing Trump in his personal capacity, alleging that he acted outside the scope of his office when inciting the rioters.”

Trump appeared at a rally immediately before the rioters stormed the Capitol, telling the demonstrators to “fight like hell.” Giuliani further said that America should have “trial by combat” over the election results, Raw Story reports.

The former president’s role in inciting the riot, and his refusal to call off his supporters once the violence began, was the core issue in his second impeachment trial—which ended in acquittal but saw a record number of senators cross over to vote against a president of their own party.

Research contact: @RawStory

The purge: Team Trump’s destruction of evidence appears to be breaking presidential records laws

December 14, 2020

Now you see it; now you don’t: A recent revelation that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield had ordered staffers to delete incriminating emails has raised questions about what’s going on in other agencies —and in the Oval Office, itself—in the final weeks of the Trump Administration, Raw Story reports.

Redfield directed a staffer, who went public last week, to delete an email from one of President Donald Trump’s political appointees, who had advised the agency to change its coronavirus report to downplay the virus’s effect on children—and government watchdogs told Salon’s Dan Froomkin that the incident may just be the tip of the iceberg.

“Donald Trump has absolutely no credibility when it comes to preserving documents,” said Lisa Rosenberg, executive director of the pro-transparency group Open the Government. “He’s been doing this all along: He deletes tweets, even though they’re public policy, he rips up notes, when they’re even taken—he rips up notes and some of his folks have to go and literally tape them back together again.”

Rosenberg urged reporters to start digging into those efforts to destroy evidence instead of waiting for that misconduct to be revealed.

“Journalists can hold folks’ feet to the fire,” she said. “They can question people and they can remind people of what their duties are to preserve these records.”

Those official documents belong to the public and government officials are legally bound to preserve them.

“Destroying or stealing documents belonging to the United States government is a crime,” said Richard Painter, former ethics counsel to President George W. Bush. “Destroying or stealing documents to cover up another crime, or activity that may be under investigation, is also a crime. Lying about what happened to missing documents is yet another crime.”

Painter added, “A departing federal official may take personal property from the office but no more. That includes perhaps some family photos — and of course that red [MAGA] cap—but everything else stays where it is. Anyone who doesn’t understand that could end up staying with the government a lot longer than anticipated or desired.”

Research contact: @RawStory