A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line.

From the article:

For example, the majority of applicants are women, but admissions committees seek to establish a gender balance, which means that men face much lower standards than women. On top of that, the low academic standards for admitting students with exceptional athletic ability favor men, as men’s teams are more valued than women’s teams.

But not all men are created equal. According to England, admissions committees routinely refuse to consider admitting Black athletes under the athletic programs; instead, these candidates are deferred to the colleges’ “diversity programs,” ensuring that mediocre white men can be admitted even if they’re less academically qualified than their female counterparts, and even if they’re less athletically qualified than Black athletes applying at the same time.

It’s quite an affirmative action program for mediocre white dudes!

Source: A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line / Boing Boing

This is by Buck McRichypants, who is a complete moron, suddenly has a degree from a prestigious college, and is in a position of leadership at work that he is obviously too stupid to actually do right out of college.

If you have the money to play the game, you get all the benefits.

You Can’t Tax the Rich Without the IRS — ProPublica

From the article:

Slowly and quietly over the past eight years, the IRS has been eviscerated. It’s lost tens of thousands of employees. It has fewer auditors now than at any time since 1953. In real dollars, the agency’s budget has dropped by almost $3 billion since 2010.

The top 0.5% of highest-earning Americans account for about a fifth of the income that’s hidden from the IRS, according to one University of Michigan study, or more than $50 billion a year in today’s dollars.

Source: You Can’t Tax the Rich Without the IRS — ProPublica

Being an auditor by career, the gutting of the IRS is something I hear about from my colleagues. I’ve talked about it before.

It infuriates me that the ultra rich, with the complicity of our legislature, has gutted the IRS so that they are not paying their fair share of taxes. Apparently if you have enough money, you can change the very laws to favor you. That is just the very epitome of unethical.

Lawmakers Just Confronted the IRS Over Tax Audits That Target the Poor — ProPublica

From the article:

Following up on ProPublica stories about the IRS, lawmakers pressed the commissioner on the agency’s disproportionate focus on auditing the working poor while examinations of the rich plummeted.

Source: Lawmakers Just Confronted the IRS Over Tax Audits That Target the Poor — ProPublica

My professional job puts me in a small subset of accountants that do auditing. One fo the jobs that is open if you do government based auditing is the IRS. Every job I have worked in has had ex-IRS employees that have been cut, or fled the agency because of how much the IRS has been cut back by lawmakers.

There is not enough manpower to do the job the IRS is supposed to do. There are mandates from lawmakers that hamstring their ability to conduct audits and find people who lie and cheat.

Let’s be real, the people that are making bank at the expense of the taxpayers are the folks in an super high income bracket that pay less in taxes that you or I do.

This is a good article.

The Top 0.5% Underpay $50 Billion a Year In Taxes and Crushed the IRS Plan to Stop Them — ProPublica

From the article:

Ten years ago, the tax agency formed a special team to unravel the complex tax-lowering strategies of the nation’s wealthiest people. But with big money — and Congress — arrayed against the team, it never had a chance.

Source: The Top 0.5% Underpay $50 Billion a Year In Taxes and Crushed the IRS Plan to Stop Them — ProPublica

I’m an auditor, and people don’t understand that politics play into what we can find, report, and do. It comes into play with policies on what we are allowed to dig into and what levels of reporting we can use when we find a problem.

This article is a case study in how money and politics can remove auditors from the job. If you remove the auditors, you remove any possibility of oversight into impropriety because you have nobody to find the issues.

This is literally how the rich avoid paying their share of taxes, which is often less than the taxes you and I have to pay.

Obviously I’m a rule follower and as an auditor I have a total issue with this.

 

Neighbors Welcome, Fight Massive New Solar Farm In Northern Virginia : NPR

From the article:

The heart of the solar resistance is in a gated community called Fawn Lake, built around a golf course and man-made lake.

“I mean we live at a resort, essentially,” says Dave Walsh, one of the many Fawn Lake residents organizing against the planned solar farm. One corner of the massive project would butt up against the back of the gated community. Walsh says he supports solar, in theory, but not here.

“It’s not in keeping with the type of setting that people bought houses here [for] — they wanted to be out in the woods, essentially,” Walsh says.

Source: Neighbors Welcome, Fight Massive New Solar Farm In Northern Virginia : NPR

Oh look, more rich assholes trying to block essential sustainable energy upgrades to the region because they live on a fucking golf course, and don’t want to look at solar panels on someone else’s land.

Apparently there will be a 100 foot buffer between the rich folks at the back of the gated rich community that will be planted with trees to obscure the view but that’s not enough for these assholes.

Dr. Dre Didn’t Commit a Crime to Get His Daughter Into USC, But He Did Donate $70 Million

From the article:

Dr. Dre was so proud that he didn’t need to bribe anyone in order for his daughter, Truly Young, to get accepted to USC that he posted a troll-y Instagram photo of her and her glossy acceptance envelope: “My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!!” he wrote. He’s right—everyone knows there aren’t any laws against donating a shit ton of money to a school where your kid just happens to be applying!

Source: Dr. Dre Didn’t Commit a Crime to Get His Daughter Into USC, But He Did Donate $70 Million

Seriously, fuck him. He just did it old fashioned-wise and had his producer donate $70 fucking million dollars at the university to get his kid in. He can act like it’s all his daughters hard work, but that $70 million sure as hell didn’t hurt, and that’s the oldest moneyed way to get your kid into a prestigious college.

You don’t even have to be rich to know if you buy a fucking building they put your kid on the roster. Fuck him.

Why American Workers Pay Twice as Much in Taxes as Wealthy Investors – Bloomberg

From the article:

Let’s say you and I are neighbors. You’re an emergency room doctor, and I don’t work, thanks to a pile of money my grandparents left me.

You spend your days and nights stitching up gunshot wounds and helping children survive asthma attacks. I’ve gotten really good at World of Warcraft, winning EBay auctions, and frying shishito peppers to just the right crispiness

Let’s also say we both report $300,000 in income to the Internal Revenue Service this year. Who pays more in taxes?

You do, by a lot. You owe the IRS about $38,500 more, assuming each of us pays the maximum with no special deductions. I also have more flexibility to lower my burden with tax planning strategies and other tricks, and I get to skip about $24,000 in payroll taxes that you and your employer must fork over each year.

This isn’t some quirk of the U.S. tax code. Politicians have intentionally set tax rates on wages much higher than those on long-term investment returns. The U.S. has a progressive tax system in the sense that well-paid workers sacrifice much more than poor workers on their “ordinary income.” But Americans with so-called unearned income—qualified dividends and long-term capital gains—get a break. A billionaire investor can pay about the same marginal rate as a $40,000-a-year worker, a fact Warren Buffett has famously lamented.

Source: Why American Workers Pay Twice as Much in Taxes as Wealthy Investors – Bloomberg

This has always irritated me. When I took my tax classes in college, I learned that if I work for a living I pay twice as much in taxes as some trust fund baby who inherits everything.

I picked the picture above because it really highlights the taxation differences.

What I really like about this article is it shows how Paul Ryan’s tax code proposition still forces workers to pay twice in taxes.

From the article:

The first line asks filers to write down their previous year’s wages. For you—the ER doctor in the fictional scenario above—that would be $300,000. The second line asks filers to add just half of their investment income. For me, that would be $150,000.

The form’s simplicity makes its priorities clear: No matter what rates are applied or which deductions or credits are allowed, a worker would end up paying twice as much in taxes as an investor with the same income.

These folks that make their money this way are paying taxes at a historic low right now. They are putting in the same as someone that works minimum wage because they can throw some dollars at a few charities here and there.

This is why we need a good sensible marginal tax rate that doesn’t favor the richest people in our country, and force the poorest amongst us to shoulder the biggest tax burden.

America is falling out of love with billionaires, and it’s about time – Los Angeles Times

From the article:

There are three main subtexts of these arguments, all of which show up in the email in-box whenever I write about wealth and taxation. First: The extreme wealth of the few creates wealth all along the income scale, for the masses. Second: It’s immoral — confiscatory — to soak the rich via taxation, at least above a certain level that never seems to be precisely defined. And third: If we torment the wealthy with taxes, they’ll pack up their wealth and leave us, whether for some more accommodating nation on Earth or some Ayn Randian paradise.

Experience has shown us that the first argument is simply untrue — extreme wealth begets only more inequality. The second argument raises the question of where reasonable taxation turns into confiscation, although the level of taxation of high incomes today is nowhere near as high as it was in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, when economic gains were shared much more equally with the working class. As for the third, Warren’s answers to capital flightinclude stepping up IRS enforcement resources, which have been eviscerated by political agents of the wealthy, and imposing an “exit tax” on any plutocrat renouncing his or her U.S. citizenship to evade U.S. taxes.

Source: America is falling out of love with billionaires, and it’s about time – Los Angeles Times

I remember taking a class on taxes. It was part of my accounting degree. I took a couple. I liked it, I think, because I’m an old school role-play gamer, and it’s just another arbitrary rule system. My background in gaming made me really pay attention to what the rules were, and who they benefited. When you right a rules system for fairness, you have to make sure that you aren’t unfairly benefiting anyone.

What I saw in the US tax code was a rule system that pretty much only kicked in to benefit those that already had a lot of money. I had always suspected the issues with the wealthy in this country were unfairly slanted in their favor, but seeing how the tax code plays out? That really hit it home for me.

This article really focuses on how we, as a country are getting sick fo the super rich bullshit we are seeing. Folks in that 1% are being taxed at a historic low, and are using their wealth and influence to scream about how unfair taxation is. I pay a helluva lot more of my income to taxes than any of those bastards. They have accountants that take advantage of every loophole that was lobbied into existence for the wealthy in America.

Give this article a read. It’s a good argument about why all these temper tantrums about fair marginal tax schemes are stupid, and how the rich spending time and resources fucking our economy are shitheads.

 

The plane(t) has been hijacked by billionaires, and we’re all passengers / Boing Boing

From the article:

Giridharadas uses the interview as a way to distinguish between two kinds of intervention by the wealthy: on the one hand, you have those who seek to fix structural problems in the public sector through private means (“It would be weird if your approach to segregation in the 1940s in Alabama was to say, “Well, let’s create some points of light. Let’s create some white-owned restaurants that don’t mind having black people, and we’ll celebrate that, and we’ll give them a certification, and we’ll put them on magazines and on change-the-world lists. Let’s celebrate the good.”); and on the other you have the use of private wealth to right inequities in the public sector (“Carnegie built libraries privately in order to turn them into public libraries and create a habit of public libraries around this country, and on a scale that not even he could have afforded.”).

He argues that eliminating the power of the super-rich would lead to an America that was “the country we think we live in but don’t. It would become a place where, to a somewhat greater extent, people ended up where they did based on their effort, not their circumstances of birth.”

Source: The plane(t) has been hijacked by billionaires, and we’re all passengers / Boing Boing

I like Giridharadas, because he makes the distinction that this entire “win-win” philosophy of business isn’t a win-win. It’s businesses using social progress as a way to rake in more profits, but not at the expense of actually fixing the inequities they see.

 

Most Americans want a 70% tax rate on earnings over $10,000,000 / Boing Boing

From the article:

During a 60 Minutes interview Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez casually mentioned that she thought that America’s super-rich should pay a marginal tax-rate of 70% on annual earnings over $10,000,000 (which is a better deal than they got under Reagan); since then, the proposal has roiled the political classes and billionaire-backed news outlets, who coincidentally oppose taxing billionaires.

Though the establishments of the Democratic and Republican parties have scrambled to brand this proposal “unworkable” and “radical,” there’s another group of people who really like the sound of it: voters, including Republican voters.

A newly released Hill-HarrisX poll found that 59% of registered US voters support the proposal, and that breaks down to 62% of women, 55% of men, 57% of southerners, 56% of rural voters, 60% of independents, 71% of Democrats, and even 45% of Republicans.

Source: Most Americans want a 70% tax rate on earnings over $10,000,000 / Boing Boing

I feel like the 1% out there are still in the “let them eat cake” phase, not realizing that this economic disparity is going to hopefully really change things. The government shut down was like tossing lighter fluid on a fire.