Alternate Universe

The Overclass Speaks

CEOs who get millions in tax breaks and federal contracts but demand cuts for others.

Wanted to bring to your attention this excellent HuffPo report on the demands of the overclass, embodied by people such as Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and David Cote of Honeywell, demanding entitlement cuts while they accept many millions in government subsidies:

During the past few days, CEOs belonging to what the campaign calls its CEO Fiscal Leadership Council -- most visibly, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein and Honeywell's David Cote -- have barnstormed the media, making the case that the only way to cut the deficit is to severely scale back social safety-net programs -- Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security -- which would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly.

As part of their push, they are advocating a "territorial tax system" that would exempt their companies' foreign profits from taxation, netting them about $134 billion in tax savings, according to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies titled "The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks" -- money that could help pay off the federal budget deficit.

Yet the CEOs are not offering to forgo federal money or pay a higher tax rate, on their personal income or corporate profits. Instead, council recommendations include cutting "entitlement" programs, as well as what they call "low-priority spending."

I don't even know what I can add to that. It remains shocking to me that there's only one corporate giant in the entire country, Warren Buffett, who is willing to come out and speak about the responsibility multi-millionaires have to society. There's my friend Nick Hanauer, who is great of course, but who is not as well-known as people like Buffett and Blankfein.

Why would it be so impossible to live in a universe where the head of Goldman says, "You know, I do think everyone should sacrifice, and that includes Goldman and firms like Goldman. Congress should change the territorial tax laws so they're more equitable. We won't mind paying a little more for the good of the country."

I know, it's laughable. But it should not be.