Posts Tagged culture of greed

Tax Evasion is Unpatriotic, Mr. and Mrs. Romney

Republicans, but Americans in general, are big on patriotism. The platform that Romney is running on for president is steeped in classic Americana  of the “Leave it to Beaver” kind: mom and apple pie, the flag, guns, Christian values, and a lot of other things that evoke pride in and ask for devotion to the United States of America.

But devotion to one’s country also requires personal sacrifice for the larger good, including paying your taxes. For Romney to preach the Republican gospel from the top of a mountain while privately amassing a fortune by evading taxes is deeply hypocritical and unpatriotic.

Based on his track record, the only use Mitt Romney has ever seen in the government apparently is the extent to which it can be manipulated and molded to cater to the needs of corporations and the wealthy, at the expense of everyone else. Outsourcing jobs, which effectively means paying very little for labor overseas while at the same time depriving Americans of the opportunity to earn a living, is completely in line with the aforementioned credo.

Mitt Romeny’s past with respect to Bain Capital are at the forefront of the debate in this upcoming presidential election and campaign, seriously questioning his fitness to be the President, not CEO as he seems to think, of the United States. Swiss bank accounts and offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda for the purposes of tax evasion as well as his refusal to release his financial statements and tax documents seriously bring into question Mitt Romney’s integrity and most importantly fitness for the office of the presidency. They also seriously bring into question Romney’s alleged patriotism.

Furthermore, questions about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and the fortune he earned there have dogged the former Massachusetts governor as Obama and his allies have said the Boston-based firm shipped jobs overseas. Romney insists he left the company in February 1999 to take over the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, but documents suggest he was still in charge as late as 2001.

He actually retired retroactively at that point,” Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said. “He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City. So he was actually retired from Bain.”

Yet there are documents that show his signature past the date he allegedly left Bain. A second adviser, Kevin Madden, said Romney had no choice but to have his name listed on Security and Exchange Commission documents as he sought to transfer the company’s leadership to partners.

The reason that there is a document that had … his signature is because, during that transition from 1999 to 2002 … there was a duty to sign those documents,” Madden said.

The exact role Romney played at the firm between 1999 and 2001 is important not only because critics have raised questions about his truthfulness, but also because Bain was sending jobs overseas during that period. For someone who is running as President of this country and who has been accusing Obama of outsourcing, the question as to his role in Bain capital, especially pertaining to sending jobs overseas while he was in charge, are completely and totally relevant just as questions about his personal fiances that show a man who has been working hard to doge paying taxes in the country that houses and supports him and his activities, are relevant.

No one is questioning Romney’s right to create wealth through private equity or by putting his money into offshore bank accounts. What is in question here are his personal beliefs and judgment and thus ultimately his goals. If Romney is going to stand on a platform of patriotism and love of country, siphoning off his wealth from American shores to save on taxes which the United States desperately needs is no way to do that.

It is disturbing to think that a potential president of the United States would consider it acceptable to direct money into offshore bank accounts in order to shield that money from taxes. Taxation, unpleasant as it might be, is the primary funding mechanism for our nation; without it we would be reduced to a wasteland of crumbling infrastructure, non-existent public services, and anarchy. Taxes fund most of our crucial public functions from road repair and public transport, food inspection,  to the police force, welfare, and even trash collection. Why then would a highly educated, politically conscious, and ostensibly patriotic Romney go out of his way to minimize his own share of taxes?

At best it shows a greedy mentality, and at worst demonstrates a disregard for the welfare of his country. According to a 2011 report from the California Public Interest Research Group, offshore tax havens cost the US government roughly $100 billion every year.

Romney’s general unwillingness to take responsibility for his actions and much less own them further creates a chasm bringing into question his already-withered-down-to-a-toothpick ethics and sincerity. Gillespie said Romney may have been listed as “part-time” in Bain after 1999, but that he had no role in the firm’s day-to-day affairs, a point the campaign has attempted to make repeatedly in order to separate him from Bain’s activity related to outsourcing during that period. Romney has said he left the company completely in 1999 when he started working to plan the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Romney: Dishonest and Unpatriotic

A couple of months ago I reported on the groundbreaking levels of dishonesty Mitt Romney had crossed. That was right after he took credit for the automobile industry bail out, even though he had been caught on record asking for Detroit to go bankrupt already:

If General Motors, Ford and Chryslesr get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye,” Romney wrote. “In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.”

I didn’t think it was possible for Romney to be any more dishonest than he already is, but what do you know: there is always room for more lies, shameless accusations that have no basis in reality and the kind of insincerity that makes politicians who have the ethics a notch underneath that of child molester, seem like a fountain of integrity.

So you understand that it is beyond hypocritical of Romney to be calling Obama out on alleged dishonesty when campaigning, accusing him of saying anything to win a second term and demanding he apologize for attacks on the Republican’s successful career at a private equity firm.

No, we will not apologize,” the president responded, adding that if Romney wants credit for his business leadership, he also needs to take responsibility – a word which apparently is not in Romney’s vocabulary.

Furthermore, if Romney has really nothing to hide and is in fact the person he portrays to everyone, then why not release his taxes? Why not disclose those financial documents?

The truth is that Romney has, in fact, a lot to hide. And he knows it. He knows that those tax records, unlike him, don’t lie and show a side of him he has been working hard to gaslight everyone into believing is not true.

Finally,  Romney should be the last person to accuse anyone of dishonesty when not only his entire campaign but in fact his entire life is based on deception and dishonest practices to accumulate riches. He is a liar and dishonest man who got wealthy taking over companies, loading them up with debt, driving them into bankruptcy and laying people off.  He changes his “mind” depending on who he is talking to and what he thinks they want to hear and he took undue credit for the car bailout – that turned out to be a success – even though he is seen on record opposing it. He is not a successful businessman, unless you call stealing from and bankrupting others while taking jobs overseas being a successful businessman.

That he has the audacity to accuse Obama of dishonesty or foul play is just another testament to this man’s not only minuscule mind but just sheer insincerity and greedy disposition.

No one is saying that you cannot be successful and wealthy in the US. What people are angry about is Romney’s complete lack of forth-right behavior and air of superiority. It is as though no one can question him. He  is running for President of this country – that runs on taxes – yet he evaded paying taxes for decades.  And every time someone shows evidence of a problem that seriously questions his fitness to be president, he says it is not true and that people should should just believe him. In fact, “take my word for it” has become Romney’s response to a lot of this nation’s problems.

He was the CEO, chairman and president of Bain yet he insists that he was not responsbile for what Bain did. And everytime anyone asks these relevant questions, he goes on the defense accusing the other side of begrudging him his business success.

It is apparent that Mitt Romney will will say and do anything to get the highest office in the land – even if it means demeaning the highest office in the land. And to add insult to injury, he and his useless mere figure-head of a wife pretend to relate to people who have to work for a living, trying to spin how the garbage policies they propose and which are aimed at redistributing wealth upwards, are in any way going to make their lives better.

Stealing and Bankrupting Others, Tax Evasion Are Not Hallmarks of Success

Mitt Romney is proud of Bain Capital’s “success” and feels that he and Americans in general should not be ashamed of  said success. However, if “success” means putting people out of jobs and outsourcing and forcing companies into bankruptcy for personal gain, as well as evading paying taxes, then yes, we all should be ashamed of that kind of “success.”  Amassing wealth through theft (of the white collar kind) and dishonest practices is not success or anything anyone in this country should emulate. The fact that a lot of Romney’s supporters, especially the middle and working class ones, think it is, is the truly disconcerting part.

Since Mitt Romney claims to be such a pious man of god who holds himself and everyone else to the highest moral standards,  I conclude this post by citing a verse from his very own holy book – which he apparently failed to take into account when making those “successful” decisions at Bain and then later as Governor of Massachusetts:

“To him whom much is given, much is expected.” – Luke 12:48

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The Culture of Greed: Puff Daddy’s Son Accepts Scholarship Despite Father’s Half a Billion Wealth

That this is a world of the rich, by the rich and for the rich becomes evident to me everyday. The latest example to the point: Puff Daddy’s son who received a $ 54,000 scholarship to attend UCLA despite his father’s whopping half a billion dollar wealth.

Puff Daddy is considered the riches man in hip-hop and his wealth was estimated at nearly $550 million by Forbes magazine last year.

The rap mogul’s oldest boy will attend top athletic powerhouse UCLA on a full Division 1 scholarship to play football.  The scholarship is only available to the most elite high school athletes, aged 19 and under.

At the same time, UCLA is a school where tuition and fees have tripled in the past ten years, rendering the once affordable UC an expensive school resulting in open protests and general dissatisfaction on the side of students who find it increasingly more un-affordable to attend UCLA.

Naturally, some have questioned the rationale of the school to give this much money to the son of a multimillionaire, especially in light of the astronomic budget crisis in California in general and the UC system in particular.

UCLA’s athletic department needs to consider the fact that perhaps there is another athlete on the football team, who could perhaps really use this scholarship,” UCLA student Neshemah Keetin told CBS Los Angeles.

In its response to criticism over the award, UCLA stressed its “robust financial aid program,” 30 percent of which it said is funded by tuition and fee revenue:

“Unlike need-based scholarships, athletic scholarships are awarded to students strictly on the basis of their athletic and academic ability — not their financial need. Athletic scholarships, such as those awarded to football or basketball players, do not rely on state funds. Instead, these scholarships are entirely funded through UCLA Athletics ticket sales, corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations from supporters,” the statement said.

Others have argued similarly, namely that his son earned the scholarship and has every right to it, regardless of his father’s wealth.

But it is really not as straightforward as the wanna-be millionaires who keep pandering to the cause of the wealthy in the hopes that one day they will be one of them, claim.  And while no one is debating the fact that Justin Combs is a good student and capable athlete who earned this scholarship, the uproar is not about his scholastic abilities or questioning them or even depriving him of what he  rightfully earned,  this is about a teenager receiving funds to attend college he does not need. Sean “Diddy” Combs is said to have given him a $ 360,000 Maybach for his 16th birthday.

The statement bu UCLA is misleading in its assertion that this is a non-issue since the funding for Justin Comb’s scholarship does not come from the state but through ticket sales,  corporate partnerships, media contracts and private donations from supporters.

While it is true that the money Combs receives does not come from tax payer dollars, that is beside the point because regardless of the source, the money has to come from somewhere no matter what you call it and every dollar that goes to some rich kid that really doesn’t  need it, is taking away money from someone who does.

The whole point of a scholarship is, or ought to be, to honor the work of excellent students and provide them with an opportunity to obtain higher education which they would not be able to do without the scholarship.  Giving people who are wealthy and can afford it money to go to school sort of defeats the whole purpose.

If Justin Combs was independent and could take care of himself without his father’s money, yes, he should be able to keep it. But he is not. His father has been and continues to support him financially, therefore there is no need for him to also keep the money.

Pimp Daddy’s son doesn’t need a scholarship when his dad is sitting on half a billion dollars, just like wealthy people and millionaires don’t need tax breaks.

Taking something you don’t need is not earning it, it is being greedy.

And that is what it ultimately comes down to once again. And that is also why so many people cheer for it and don’t think he should return the $ 54,000.

Greed and with it the love for money are the cultures that have been fostered deep into the American mind. Any unscrupulous act in this country is excused, condoned  and apologized for as long as it creates wealth.  Whether the means by which one arrives at that wealth is unethical or hurting others is irrelevant.  If it makes money, it goes and is erroneously called The American WayThe American Dream or “success”.

The sad reality is that UCLA is in a budgetary crisis. Tuition has gone up, the economy down and lots of students will have to either take out more student loans, thus remaining in debt for a long time after entering the workforce, to be able to attend college or they will not be able to attend at all. In fact, UCLA became a focal point in the Occupy Wall Street protests, with students rallying against a planned 16 percent tuition fee hike. In April, the school was forced to embarrassingly clawback $27 million in financial aid accidentally deposited into students’ accounts.

The Culture of Greed

Given the genuine crisis the UC system finds itself in, scraping for every dollar to be able to make education semi-affordable to people, is it unreasonable, jealousy or assholish even to ask that the son of a semi-billionaire not accept the $54,000 athletic scholarship? Don’t we have a responsibility toward one another as human beings to do the right? Is the “each person on his own” mentality the American Way? Are these the values we ought to instill upon future generations? The bottom line?

No wonder Mitt Romney thinks that being a business person is the one and only legitimate claim to the Presidency.  In fact, the entire platform he is running on is based on this ridiculous assumption. He actually believes that every American can and should want to be a millionaire.  As if jobs like teacher, firefighter, nurse, scientist or professor could ever produce millionaires.  Jobs that, nonetheless, are vital to the functioning of society.

We are a nation of wanna-bes chasing the money or die trying.  And of course we embrace and applaud anyone and anything that caters to that notion, thinking that maybe by supporting such notions we somehow “reserve” a place for ourselves in the millionaires hall of fame.

I think Bill Maher, as usual, summarized my sentiments quite brilliantly:

Mitt Romney has to start understanding why people don’t like him: it is not because he is rich, it is how he got richNow here are some other rich guys.  Here’s Henry Ford with his Model T.  Walt Disney with an early cartoon idea.  Jobs and Wozniak with their first desktop. 

You see what the first three have that Mitt doesn’t?  A product.  Something they made besides money.

You know, venture capitalists are not creators.  They’re businessmen who find weak companies, and prey on them.  And Mitt can’t understand why anyone would ever question capitalism no matter how feral it gets.  ‘What?  We found a wounded animal and we ate it!’

The quintessential America

The folks at Bain, including Romney. This picture summarizes the reality in America and everything that is wrong with it.

 At one of the debates, Mitt said, ‘I won’t try and define who’s rich and who’s not rich, I want everybody to be rich.’  Cue the morons in the audience clapping their hands like seals at a Sea World getting a bucket of chum.

Well, I can define who’s rich and who’s not.  Who’s rich is Mitt Romney. And who’s not is someone making $26,000 a year. And the success or failure of his campaign will depend on his ability to convince someone making $26,000 a year that he, Mitt, a rich guy, knows how to make them rich too.  And if you elect him, he’ll tell you the secret.

It’s not a political platform, so much as a wealth seminar.  This is the same thing that makes guyslike Tony Robbins rich.  They have a secret.  But the secret turns out to be that they’re rich because they’re robbing you! And somehow Americans are good with this.

Yes, that’s how Mitt Romney rolls, straight outta Salt Lake.  Get equity or die trying. Remember, Mitt knows the secret.  Obama doesn’t know the secret.  As Mitt always says, Obama never even ran a corner store.  He was a community organizer helping poor people!  Bleh!  What would you rather do, help poor people, or have money in your mouth?” 

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