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Thread: Kerry and Edwards are Smart!!

  1. #1
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    In embracing John Edwards, John Kerry has also endorsed his populist "two Americas" rhetoric and has put tax increases at the center of the election campaign. So it's fair to ask the two Democrats: How much of those tax increases will actually hit the super-rich like yourselves, and how much will end up on the backs of upper middle-class wage earners?

    For an answer, let's look at what the two Senators have themselves been paying in taxes. It turns out that the Kerrys and Edwards have exploited plenty of tax loopholes over the years. Of course, nobody is obligated to pay more than what the letter of the law requires. But the complex tax code benefits the wealthy, who can afford tax attorneys and complicated schemes to skirt the law. And high marginal rates give them plenty of incentive to do so.

    Senator Edwards talks about the need to provide health care for all, but that didn't stop him from using a clever tax dodge to avoid paying $591,000 into the Medicare system. While making his fortune as a trial lawyer in 1995, he formed what is known as a "subchapter S" corporation, with himself as the sole shareholder.

    Instead of taking his $26.9 million in earnings directly in the following four years, he paid himself a salary of $360,000 a year and took the rest as corporate dividends. Since salary is subject to 2.9% Medicare tax but dividends aren't, that meant he shielded more than 90% of his income. That's not necessarily illegal, but dodging such a large chunk of employment tax skates perilously close to the line.

    The Internal Revenue Service takes a dim view of such operations and "may collapse the structure entirely and argue the S corporation is not truly a separate entity," in the words of Tax Adviser magazine. Attorney CPA magazine lists it as No. 11 of its "15 best underutilized tax loopholes," but warns that the IRS "has successfully litigated cases against individuals, particularly sole shareholders of personal service S corporations, reclassifying such deemed distributions as wages subject to social security taxes."

    As a political matter, the dodge is especially hypocritical because the income limits on which Medicare taxes are paid were lifted by Democrats in 1993 specifically to hit "the rich," as Mr. Edwards likes to call people in his tax bracket. And the supreme irony? Mr. Edwards has claimed that he set up the subchapter S company to protect himself from legal liability. You know it's time for tort reform when even the trial lawyers say they're afraid of getting sued.

    Senator Kerry's personal finances are not so complicated, since most of his income comes from his government salary and a modest inheritance. But he owes his jet-setting lifestyle and indeed some of his political success to the wealth of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Her personal assets have been estimated at up to $3.2 billion, and the couple travel among their five houses scattered around the U.S. on a $35 million Gulfstream V jet. During a tough election for the Senate in 1996, Mr. Kerry sidestepped a gentleman's agreement with opponent William Weld to limit the spending of personal wealth on either side to $500,000 by having his campaign borrow $1.7 million from his wife.

    Mrs. Heinz Kerry's finances remain largely a closed book, since she has so far refused to release her tax returns. What we do know so far is that she has prepaid $750,000 in federal taxes on $5.1 million in income for 2003 -- an effective tax rate of 15%. That is because a significant portion of the income came from tax-free municipal bonds, which is perfectly legal.

    Even so, her net income must be much higher. We know that since the death of her husband John Heinz in 1991, Mrs. Heinz Kerry has invested shrewdly and possibly even doubled her inheritance. Even if one takes a conservative estimate of her net worth, say $1 billion, an income of $5.1 million means a paltry return of just 0.5%. More likely, the majority of her investment income is sheltered within trusts so that tax is deferred until she or her family actually wants to spend it. Again, perfectly legal, but this is a luxury that the average middle-class professional working for a wage does not have. These are the non-rich who will pay the bulk of any Kerry tax increase.

    So when John Kerry and John Edwards say that they want to tax the wealthiest Americans, let's be clear about what they really mean. They want to tax the most productive people at higher marginal rates and close loopholes for corporations, while they themselves dodge taxes by exploiting loopholes they plan to preserve.

    Mr. Edwards is right that there really are two Americas. The people who work for their money and want to keep more of their own paychecks. And wealthy politicians who want to raise taxes on the middle class secure in the knowledge that they won't have to pay.

  2. #2
    Tom The Nader Fan™
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by savage69[/i]@Jul 20 2004, 06:17 AM
    [b]

    As a political matter, the dodge is especially hypocritical because the income limits on which Medicare taxes are paid were lifted by Democrats in 1993 specifically to hit "the rich," as Mr. Edwards likes to call people in his tax bracket. And the supreme irony? Mr. Edwards has claimed that he set up the subchapter S company to protect himself from legal liability. You know it's time for tort reform when even the trial lawyers say they're afraid of getting sued.
    [/b][/quote]
    Nah, no way. Get out.

    John Edwards getting a hot shot accountant team to help him avoid paying his "fair share"? BTJFan™ will have to put his brain into overdrive for the mental gymnastics required to increase his already high capacity of self delusion.

    These guys are his hero's, by golly. And they can do no wrong.

    [i]Bush is a...a... a fascist! Yeah! And he's a liar, too! And- and- and- hold on let me catch my breath- and Condeleeza Rice is a skank![/i]

  3. #3
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by savage69[/i]@Jul 20 2004, 06:17 AM
    [b] Senator Edwards talks about the need to provide health care for all, but that didn't stop him from using a clever tax dodge to avoid paying $591,000 into the Medicare system. While making his fortune as a trial lawyer in 1995, he formed what is known as a "subchapter S" corporation, with himself as the sole shareholder.

    .....
    As a political matter, the dodge is especially hypocritical because the income limits on which Medicare taxes are paid were lifted by Democrats in 1993 specifically to hit "the rich," as Mr. Edwards likes to call people in his tax bracket. And the supreme irony? Mr. Edwards has claimed that he set up the subchapter S company to protect himself from legal liability. You know it's time for tort reform when even the trial lawyers say they're afraid of getting sued.

    [/b][/quote]
    Is this better or worse than using family connections to stay out combat?

    It should be worth at least as much ink.

    But I suspect the Kerry/Edwards supporters will dismiss it out of hand.

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