Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Trump, Ron Johnson are the real Washington insiders

[Updated - - Johnson will speak alongside Trump in Wisconsin today. Could be tax-tip time]

Both GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump and incumbent GOP US Senator Ron Johnson are running for office as anti-Washington outsiders, but records and reporting show both have been helped by the US tax code methodically crafted by Congress and lobbyists to benefit wealthy one-percenters like Trump, Johnson and others.

Trump has also used bankruptcy law, eminent domain to seize others' property and public financing to build buildings - - additional, profitable benefits conferred by law or incumbent political insiders which the everyday citizen will never ever access - - and, as The New York Times explains today, even stretched already favorable tax privileges to pocket many, many millions of dollars he's probably not entitled to receive:
But newly obtained documents show that in the early 1990s, as he scrambled to stave off financial ruin, Mr. Trump avoided reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable income by using a tax avoidance maneuver so legally dubious his own lawyers advised him that the Internal Revenue Service would most likely declare it improper if he were audited.
Then there is Ron Johnson, the millionaire Oshkosh businessman and GOP incumbent Wisconsin Senator who is running as the outsider while lambasting his opponent, former Democratic Wisconsin Senator and private citizen Russ Feingold, as the oh-so-evil insider.
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
And while Johnson repeatedly hits federal spending and Big Government when convenient, or when others less fortunate may be the beneficiaries, let's not forget his business was happy to have local government build that business a rail spur with federal dollars.

These days, you can't even get a pothole fixed without petitions, meetings and divine intervention in a state with roads so bad they rank 4th worst in the country.

And, like Trump, Johnson has taken advantage of tax laws which are far beyond the reach of everyday taxpayers whom Johnson and Trump purport to represent - - but, in fact, have buffaloed.

The Journal Sentinel has an exceptionally-insightful explanation of a tax code opening which works to Johnson's advantage - - and which Johnson denies is a dodge. 

Records show Johnson owns 9.9% of DP Lenticular, a Dublin-based firm that says it distributes specialized plastic sheets made by Pacur Inc., the firm Johnson headed for years before he took office in 2011. He still has a small ownership interest in Pacur.  
Johnson's Democratic opponent, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, alleges that DP Lenticular is a shell company that appears to be a way for Pacur and Johnson to legally dodge paying some U.S. taxes. Feingold's team has emphasized that DP Lenticular has a single employee, who is a Belgium citizen, and is controlled by a Spanish holding company that pays no taxes. 
By owning less than 10% of the Irish company, Johnson does not have to report his stake in the international company to the Internal Revenue Service, but he has disclosed the holding in his annual Senate ethics statements.
And while you are deciding if it's a tax dodge or just another sweet deal which fell into the law from heaven, also consider this:

The craziest part of all this GOP insider-privilege enriching, tax-code stretching and election year double-speaking is that in Wisconsin - - and it's part of the GOP playbook nationally - - upper-income earners whom Republican represent without shame are pocketing big bucks at tax time while GOP insiders occupying the Governor's office and the Legislative majority are intentionally depressing working people's incomes.

They are doing that by cutting high-end tax rates, adding taxes on the working poor, expanding business loopholes and operating income write-offs, stifling minimum wage increases (Wisconsin is still at $7.25/hr.), destroying public sector collective bargaining, adopting so-called 'right to work' laws which are designed to cut private-sector wages and, in Wisconsin also through fine-tuned, pay-cutting legislation, just wiped out long-standing family-supporting 'prevailing wage' rate agreements on public sector building projects.

This is how insiders use their legislative power - - remember Paul Ryan and his $350 wine bottle soiree - - to keep donors and business allies happy and wealthy.

So you tell me how the Trumps and Johnsons on the GOP ballot next week, with the support of career GOP politicians like Paul Ryan and Scott Walker and Jim Sensenbrenner, et al - -  can claim outsider status?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I fear that the American public will never wake up to the fact that GOP politicians who always claim that when elected they will work on behalf of the country[ we the people] but then once there forget all about the people and work only in behalf of their special interest and corporate benefactors. Unfortunately those of us in Wisconsin have learned this lesson the hard way but still many foolishly believe that Walker and his Republican legislature, his Supreme Court and his Attorney General have their back. It seems we need a media truth squad that would not retell the lies and propaganda that politicians provide but instead educate the public as to the reality of what is occurring in this country and state. It seems that if Trump is elected we lose and if Hillary is elected the GOP will do to her what they have done to Obama.....obstruct everything. I'm not sure I'll live to see the day that our elected officials put people before party politics and ideology.