Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Zuckerberg’

It’s True: The Über-Wealthy Pay ZERO Income Taxes

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Moochers.


We are disclosing the tax details of the richest Americans because we believe the public interest in an informed debate outweighs privacy considerations.

Today, ProPublica is launching the first in a series of stories based on the private tax data of some of our nation’s richest citizens. We obtained the information from an anonymous source who provided us with large amounts of information on the ultrawealthy, everything from the taxes they paid to the income they reported to the profits from their stock trades.

In the coming months, we plan to use this material to explore how the nation’s wealthiest people — roughly the .001% — exploit the structure of our tax code to avoid the tax burdens borne by ordinary citizens.

Many will ask about the ethics of publishing such private data. We are doing so — quite selectively and carefully — because we believe it serves the public interest in fundamental ways, allowing readers to see patterns that were until now hidden.

Tax experts have long understood that the wealthiest Americans reap outsized benefits from the federal tax code’s emphasis on taxing income rather than assets like stock holdings and property. Yet, when The New York Times disclosed in 2020 that President Donald Trump had amassed so many deductions he paid no taxes in 11 of 18 years, it was assumed that his case was an anomaly, reflecting the unique breaks real estate developers receive under our tax system.

It is now clear that there isn’t just one such taxpayer — there are many, in multiple industries. We believe that disclosing the identities of billionaires who paid little to no taxes in years their fortunes grew by billions of dollars will help readers understand the magnitude of the tax advantages the ultrarich enjoy.

https://www.propublica.org/article/why-we-are-publishing-the-tax-secrets-of-the-001


“America’s billionaires avail themselves of
tax-avoidance strategies
beyond the reach
of
ordinary people.
Their wealth derives from the
skyrocketing value of their assets,
like stock and property.
Those gains are not defined
by U.S. laws as taxable income
unless and until the billionaires sell.”

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Typical Americans his age paid more in taxes than they saw in wealth growth over that period.

For every $100 of wealth growth from
2006 to 2018,
typical Americans paid $160 in taxes.

Bezos paid only $1.09.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans of business, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.

Taken together, it demolishes

The Cornerstone myth of the American tax system:

That everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most.

The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year.

Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, amassing little wealth and paying the federal government a percentage of their income that rises if they earn more. In recent years, the median American household earned about $70,000 annually and paid 14% in federal taxes. The highest income tax rate, 37%, kicked in this year, for couples, on earnings above $628,300.

The confidential tax records obtained by ProPublica show that the ultrarich effectively sidestep this system.

American multi-BILLIONAIRES
LEFT to RIGHT, TOP to BOTTOM: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg), Rupert Murdoch (News Corp), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Carl Icahn (Icahn Enterprises), George Soros (Soros Fund)

America’s billionaires avail themselves of tax-avoidance strategies beyond the reach of ordinary people. Their wealth derives from the skyrocketing value of their assets, like stock and property. Those gains are not defined by U.S. laws as taxable income unless and until the billionaires sell.

To capture the financial reality of the richest Americans, ProPublica undertook an analysis that has never been done before. We compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period.

We’re going to call that their true tax rate.

The results are stark. According to Forbes, those 25 people saw their net worth rise a collective $401 billion from 2014 to 2018. They paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in those five years, the IRS data shows. That’s a staggering sum, but it amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.

It’s a completely different picture for middle-class Americans, for example, wage earners in their early 40s who have amassed a typical amount of wealth for people their age. From 2014 to 2018, such households saw their net worth expand by about $65,000 after taxes on average, mostly due to the rise in value of their homes. But because the vast bulk of their earnings were salaries, their tax bills were almost as much, nearly $62,000, over that five-year period.

No one among the 25 wealthiest avoided as much tax as Buffett, the grandfatherly centibillionaire. That’s perhaps surprising, given his public stance as an advocate of higher taxes for the rich. According to Forbes, his riches rose $24.3 billion between 2014 and 2018. Over those years, the data shows, Buffett reported paying $23.7 million in taxes.

That works out to a true tax rate of 0.1%, or less than 10 cents for every $100 he added to his wealth.

In the coming months, ProPublica will use the IRS data we have obtained to explore in detail how the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, exploit loopholes and escape scrutiny from federal auditors.

Experts have long understood the broad outlines of how little the wealthy are taxed in the United States, and many lay people have long suspected the same thing.

But few specifics about individuals ever emerge in public. Tax information is among the most zealously guarded secrets in the federal government. ProPublica has decided to reveal individual tax information of some of the wealthiest Americans because it is only by seeing specifics that the public can understand the realities of the country’s tax system.

Consider Bezos’ 2007, one of the years he paid zero in federal income taxes. Amazon’s stock more than doubled. Bezos’ fortune leapt $3.8 billion, according to Forbes, whose wealth estimates are widely cited. How did a person enjoying that sort of wealth explosion end up paying no income tax?

In that year, Bezos, who filed his taxes jointly with his then-wife, MacKenzie Scott, reported Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Warren Campaign Spoofs Facebook And Trump Campaign To Make A Point

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hillary: “I Saw Donald Trump Secretly Have Sex With Giant Chinese Pigs in Beijing !”

Of course it’s false.

Of course it’s a lie.

Of course it’s outlandish.

Of course it’s absurd.

Of course it’s preposterous.

Of course it’s – to borrow Trump’s words – “bullshit.”

But you know what?

It’s 100% legal to publish such tripe.

As long as it’s called “political” advertising.

Seriously.

100% legal.

And the Chinese are developing a breed of GIANT pig that, on average, is well over 1100 pounds – bigger than a polar bear.

Seriously.

Read the story on the Daily Mail website linked above, or on Bloomberg Business News website here.

A visitor rides on a 750-kilogram (1653 lbs) pig at a farm in Zhengzhou city, Henan province, China. Source: ImagineChina via AP Images

But, more to the point.

The campaign of Democratic candidate for Party Presidential Nominee Elizabeth Warren has recently purposely posted a false political advertisement on Facebook.

Why did her campaign do that?

To Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Virtual busy-ness genuinely beneficial?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, August 4, 2012

It’s the human condition.

Even the Christ withdrew for a period of time.

Everything old is new again.

Refugee from Facebook questions the social media life

By , Published: August 3

MARFA, Tex. — Not long after Katherine Losse left her Silicon Valley career and moved to this West Texas town for its artsy vibe and crisp desert air, she decided to make friends the old-fashioned way, in person. So she went to her Facebook page and, with a series of keystrokes, shut it off.

FB TX _Losse_TRIEB-17_1342511340

Katherine Losse, former Facebook employee, and author of new book. Photo by Erin Trieb.

The move carried extra import because Losse had been the social network’s 51st employee and rose to become founder Mark Zuckerberg’s personal ghostwriter. But Losse gradually soured on the revolution in human relations she witnessed from within.

The explosion of social media, she believed, left hundreds of millions of users with connections that were more plentiful but also narrower and less satisfying, with intimacy losing out to efficiency. It was time, Losse thought, for people to renegotiate their relationships with technology.

“It’s okay to feel weird about this because I feel weird about this, and I was in the center of it,” said Losse, 36, who has long, dark hair and sky-blue eyes. “We all know there is an anxiety, there’s an unease, there’s a worry that our lives are changing.”

Her response was to quit her job — something made easier by the vested stock she cashed in — and to embrace the ancient toil of writing something in her own words, at book length, about her experiences and the philosophical questions they inspired.

That brought her to Read the rest of this entry »

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FaceBook jokes aside, are there GENUINE dangers in Social Media?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 11, 2012

Slowly, but surely, there is a resounding “YES!” which is beginning to reverberate throughout the nation, in response to that question.

Recently, news reports have emerged that FaceBook‘s lawyers are seeking a way around the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.” Mr. Zuckerberg’s opposition to COPPA is well-known. In a May 2011 interview with CNNMoney writer , when asked how he would deal with COPPA, said “Because of the restrictions we haven’t even begun this learning process. If they’re lifted then we’d start to learn what works. That will be a fight we take on at some point.”

[Ed. note: The COPPA may be read here: http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm]

That federal law, in essence, forbade (that is, made illegal) any effort by an online entity from collecting personally identifying information from children.

And, true to form, there will doubtlessly be laws enacted, and court cases decided that deal with issues of commerce, privacy, First Amendment rights, and other certain freedoms that we as people freely exercise.

Doubtless as well, those pushing the limits will be corporations – those “artificial” persons, which – according to the United States Supreme Court – also have the EXACT SAME RIGHTS as any real person.

And then again, there’ll be the TEA Party/Republican radicals that scream “too much government, too much regulation, smaller government, less regulation – let the free market decide!”

In essence, not only have you already become a commodity that is bought, sold & traded (think “slavery” – yes, I’m dead serious), but you will soon no longer have any rights to control the invasive eavesdropping/electronic surveillance/stalking that the companies perform against you while you peruse their websites or use their software. Suffice it to say, the information they collect about you is not yours, but rather theirs.

And just so you’ll be aware, this FaceBook problem is not exclusively limited to the United States.

Before closing this commentary, I’d like to let readers know that there are several good browser add-ons that assist privacy efforts. Among them are “HTTPS Everywhere” – by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and “DNT+” – by Abine. Of course, Aurora by Mozilla/Firefox is a more secure browser than either Microsoft Internet Explorer, or Apple’s Safari.

I encourage you to also read the Consumer Reports article on FaceBook privacy which follows this item.

ADDENDUM Tuesday, 26 November 2013:

F.B. (Fluff Busting) Purity (FBPurity.com) is an anti-spam, browser extension / add-on that lets you clean up and customize Facebook. It filters out the junk you don’t want to see, leaving behind the stories and page elements you do wish to see. The list of story types that FBP hides is customizable to your taste. It alters your view of Facebook to show only relevant information to you. It removes annoying and irrelevant stories from your newsfeed such as game and application spam, ads and sponsored stories. It also hides the boxes you don’t want to see on each side of the newsfeed.

Wising Up to Facebook

June 10, 2012, By

WHAT’S the difference, I asked a tech-writer friend, between the billionaire media mogul Mark Zuckerberg and the billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch?

When Rupert invades your privacy, my friend e-mailed back, it’s against the law. When Mark does, it’s the future.

There is truth in that riposte: we deplore the violations exposed in the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch’s British tabloids, while we surrender our privacy on a far grander scale to Facebook and call it “community.” Our love of Facebook has been a submissive love.

But now, not so much. In recent weeks it seems the world has begun to turn a jaundiced eye on this global megaplatform. While that may not please Facebook’s executives, it is a good thing for the rest of us — and maybe for the future of social media, too.

The recent history of the Facebook phenomenon has been a serial bursting of illusions.

Most conspicuously, there was the

Read the rest of this entry »

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Are there good reasons to leave FaceBook?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sure there are!

However, there are probably as many good reasons to stay.

And yet, for the good reasons to stay, there are genuine concerns, not only with governmental agencies worldwide, but with FaceBook itself.

It IS possible to almost wholesale “lock down” your FaceBook account, but one must decide if those actions are worth it, or not.

Further, another option is, that one could delete everything that could be deleted from FB – likes, comments, posts, etc. – and make invisible those things that cannot be deleted.

Of course, there’s no reason one could not have more than one FB account, either.

However, with all this, it might be wise to consider the ultimate in security, which was proposed several years ago: Public Key Encryption.

Leaving Facebookistan

May 24, 2012
Posted by
Welcome to FaceBookistan!

Welcome to FaceBookistan! You are now leaving FaceBookistan.

I established a Facebook account in 2008. My motivation was ignoble: I wanted to distribute my journalism more widely. I have acquired since then just over four thousand “friends”—in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, the Middle East, and of course, closer to home. I have discovered the appeal of Facebook’s community—for example, the extraordinary emotional support that swells in virtual space when people come together online around a friend’s illness or life celebrations.Through its bedrock appeals to friendship, community, public identity, and activism—and its commercial exploitation of these values—Facebook is an unprecedented synthesis of corporate and public spaces. The corporation’s social contract with users is ambitious, yet neither its governance system nor its young ruler seem trustworthy. Then came this month’s initial public offeringof stock—a chaotic and revealing event—which promises to put the whole enterprise under even greater pressure.There are many reasons to be Read the rest of this entry »

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Congratulations, Mark Zuckerberg! And welcome to the 1% of the 1% class!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Is it clear enough that Wall Street denizens like neither FaceBook or Mr. Zuckerberg?

They bitched, moaned, groaned, griped, carped and complained about his attire.

Now, the stock of his company is tanking, and readers will recall the title of an earlier post which asked “How is FaceBook’s IPO like Erectile Dysfunction?

To be certain, this is not a reflection upon Mr. Zuckerberg’s character, but rather a form of criticism of his company’s business model. More specifically, it is the demonstrated lack of a concrete, long-term profit-making revenue stream which has many analysts concerned about the firm’s long-term viability.

By the way, based on 2009 tax year filing data, the Internal Revenue Service says an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $343,927 or more, will put you in the top 1 percent of taxpayers.

Mark Zuckerberg earns $1.1 billion from selling Facebook shares

By Salvador Rodriguez

May 22, 2012, 5:35 p.m.

Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday completed the transaction of the 30.2 million shares he sold in Facebook’s IPO Friday.

The shares he disposed of sold for $37.58 a piece, bringing him a cool $1.1 billion. But despite all that money, the Facebook CEO will be Read the rest of this entry »

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How is FaceBook’s IPO like Erectile Dysfunction?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 20, 2012

{UPDATE: Tuesday, 22 May 2012 – 2d story added}

Read on, to find out why.

(Oh, and please, dear reader, don’t make me spell it out why.)

And, as an interesting note aside, Mr. Zuckerberg was married yesterday.

Here’s wishing him and his bride all the best.

Nasdaq ‘embarrassed’ over Facebook IPO

By Telis Demos in New York, May 20, 2012 10:12 pm

facebookNasdaq OMX‘s chief executive admitted he was “embarrassed” by the delay in the opening trade of Facebook’s initial public offering and revealed that the exchange was in talks with regulators over potentially millions of dollars of customer claims.

Bob Greifeld said on Sunday that the 20-minute delay in trading of Facebook’s $16bn offering on Friday had been caused by a millisecond systems blip due to the largest IPO auction “in the history of mankind”.

The exchange has found itself in the spotlight after Facebook failed to deliver a first-day “pop” to investors, instead almost falling below its issuing price of $38. The shares, having risen briefly, quickly fell away to close the day with a gain of just 0.6 per cent, at $38.23.

As a result of the trading delay, Nasdaq was left with a position in Facebook shares that it was forced to liquidate, according to its own rules, generating $10m for the group. It plans to use that money, plus potentially more, to resolve disputes related to 30m shares that may have received improper trades.

It has requested approval from Read the rest of this entry »

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All You Need Is Love

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I recollect, a few years ago, having gone with a dear friend to the apartment where her former husband lived.

He had died alone.

D’Angelo (not his real name) was a retired Army NCO, whom had volunteered for service. He was genuinely a “squared away” soldier, and rose to the rank of First Sergeant (E-8), which rank is politely nicknamed “Top,” because, aside from Sergeant Major which is also an E-8 position, it is the highest rank and position a NCO can obtain.

His generosity was well-known, and his humility, honesty and genuine love for his fellow man was evident throughout his life. And though he was a good man with many admirable character qualities, a congenial fellow, well liked – even loved – by many, it seemed he never could win the battle over the bottle.

What little I know of him from others’ reports and my own limited interaction with him, he was an honorable family man. And yet, his family didn’t know it, and apparently had low regard for him because of his human frailty, particularly for the bottle.

When he had retired from the Army, never one to merely sit still and wait for things to happen, he became …Continue…

Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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