The GOP’s Tax Breaks for the Private Jet Set

luxury-tax breaks-jet set

(Photo: Aleksandr Markin)

When you think about who benefits from the Republican tax bill the Senate just passed, think of the people who own and ride in private luxury jets.

We know that the benefits of tax bill are skewed to the very wealthy and a handful of global corporations. Republicans have been rushing this bill fully aware that the more people learn, the less they will like it.

As Edward Kleinbard, the esteemed tax economist and former head of the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, observed: “We are squandering a giant sum of money” in this tax bill. “It’s not aimed at growth. It is not aimed at the middle class. It is at every turn carefully engineered to deliver a kiss to the donor class.”

Kleinbard’s donor class aren’t people that write $ 100 checks to candidates. He’s talking about billionaires who donate to a wide range of campaign organizations, some with their identity obscured, to move a larger agenda.

These people don’t even fly in first class. They’re the high flyers that fly in private jets.

Our new report, High Flyers 2017, examines the outsized influence private jet owners play in ensuring their massive tax subsidies. The private jet lobby, our report shows, spent more than $ 56 million over the last decade to secure more than $ 1 billion in tax breaks. Not a bad return on their investment.

The tax scam that just passed the Senate and will now be merged with the House version in a conference committee expands these carve outs and special provisions for private jets. Meanwhile, the Republican budget plan, moving right behind the tax bill, nearly doubles the passenger facility fees that commercial passengers will pay on their tickets.

A family of four, taking a trip with a layover, will pay an additional $ 32 per trip. Meanwhile, the already heavily subsidized private jet passengers will pay an extra zero dollars.

Private jet passengers and owners don’t come close to contributing to the upkeep of our air traffic control system or our airports.

Per flight, private jets generate about 2 percent of the taxes and fees of commercial flights on an identical flight. Consider just one example: A privately owned jet flying from Nashville to Philadelphia would pay nearly 98 percent less than an identical commercial flight.

Put differently, commercial airlines pay 40 times more in taxes than private jets to take the exact same flight.

Meanwhile, they’ve fended off almost all of the post-9/11 security rules that commercial passengers must face.

While commercial passengers stand in their socks and watch their grandmother get frisked by a stranger, the private jet flyers have a voluntary security regime. They drive right up to their private aircraft and unload their rifles and golf clubs directly into the passenger compartment. No body screen. No three-ounce bottles. No security door separating passengers from pilots. This is just one more example of the ways our deeply unequal modern society prevents the super-wealthy from experiencing — and thus perhaps being concerned about — the everyday indignities faced by those without means.

In 2008, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was advocating for new regulations on private jets. At the time, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had voiced concerns about “terrorists” using private jets and proposed expanded background checks on passengers and tightening security for small airports.

But the private jet lobby mobilized its powerful network of wealthy and powerful customers, pilots and companies. They pressed regulators, and by 2010 the TSA had backed off plans to increase security of private jets.

Commercial airline passengers should not have to subsidize private jets. Period.

We should end the private jet tax carve-out and require private jets to pay the same taxes and fees that commercial air travelers cover.

The Trump tax plan will make this problem worse, not better.

The post The GOP’s Tax Breaks for the Private Jet Set appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

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New Report Underscores Massive Tax Giveaways to Private Jet Set

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2017

Contact:
Jessicah Pierre (617) 401-1470, jessicah@ips-dc.org
Chuck Collins (617) 308-4433
Josh Hoxie (508) 280-5005

Washington, D.C. – The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) today released a comprehensive report highlighting the massive tax giveaways extended by the tax bill under consideration in Congress to the private jet industry. The report also looked at the significant security threats presented by private jets and the detrimental impact they present to our environment.  

The report: High Flyers 2017: How the Private Jet Lobby Shifts Costs To the Rest of Us, Threatens Our Security, and Fuels a Warming Planet,” authored by Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie shows that while the Republican majority in Congress proposes to extend massive tax breaks for private jet fliers, they also propose nearly doubling fees for commercial airline passengers.

The study examines the $ 56 million dollars spent by the powerful private jet lobbying industry in Washington over ten years to receive more than a billion dollars in the form of outrageous tax giveaways by Congress every year.

“When you think of who benefits from this GOP tax plan, think about the private jet set,” said report author Chuck Collins, lead author of a 2008 report on the same topic. “The private jet lobby and their wealthy constituents have used their clout to shift costs onto the commercial flying public.”

“The bottom line is that every day American flyers, those stuck in the middle seat of commercial flights, are basically paying for the rich and affluent to jet from coast to coast on their Learjets,” said Josh Hoxie.  “While students, teachers, and middle class families see their taxes rise as a result of the Republican tax bill, private jet owners continue to be heavily subsidized. It’s absurd.”

Some of the key findings of the study include:

  • The tax cut package under consideration in the Senate maintains and expands the private jet tax carve out, while the Republican budget plan almost doubles the fees on commercial airline passengers.
  • Private jets contribute less than one-tenth of the resources they use from the federal aviation administration trust fund. Commercial airline passengers heavily subsidize private jet passengers.
  • Commercial jets are taxed at up to 40 times the rate of private jets on the exact same route despite identical needs in terms of transportation infrastructure.
  • Private jets threaten our national security as owners can obscure their identity and passengers face zero security screening.
  • A single private jet trip burns more greenhouse gases than the average American does in a whole year.

The study also calls attention to a push by GOP in Congress which would make it more expensive for commercial airline passengers to fly. A recent provision inserted in the Senate Transportation Appropriations bill would nearly double the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), a fee collected by commercial airports paid by airline passengers on every flight.  If the provision passes, a family of four flying round trip cross-country with a layover would see their PFC rise from $ 72 to $ 104 by next year.  

Read the full report here: http://www.ips-dc.org/report-high-flyers-2017/ 

The post New Report Underscores Massive Tax Giveaways to Private Jet Set appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

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Private Jets and Trust Fund Kids Show Where the GOP’s Tax Priorities Lie

private-jet-gop-tax-plan

Shutterstock

It’s hard to keep track of the fast-flying tax legislation making its way through the sausage-making process in Washington. It’s even harder to know just what’s in each bill, as the thousands of pages of provisions are constantly in flux. To know what’s really behind the Republican tax cutters’ priorities, cut out all the noise and consider just two things: private jets and trust fund kids.

You’ve likely heard of some provisions included in the Senate tax bill under consideration right now, like lowering the corporate tax rate and changing the tax brackets for individual income tax returns. Less discussed is how the bill treats private jets: A measure in the bill exempts private jet owners from paying taxes on all the costs that go along with owning a private jet such as storing it, maintaining it, hiring staff to fly it and cater on it, and so on and so on. In other words, this is basically a blatant gift to folks who own private jets.

Who likes private jets? Well consider the major controversy of Trump administration officials racking up seven-figure private jet fees on the taxpayer dime this year. Such behavior cost former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price his job, and probably should have cost others theirs as well.

The private jets provision is indicative of who’s at the table when details are getting hashed out in the Senate – the wealthiest presidential cabinet in American history. Also at the table: their multi-millionaire and billionaire friends.

The idea that private jet owners need a tax break is absurd on its face. Private jets are heinous for the environment, clog up our airports and already receive massive tax advantages. If you can afford a private jet, you can afford to pay taxes on it. That just seems basic.

Also underreported is the Senate plan to first weaken, then fully eliminate, the federal estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. The bill will give a tax break to just 5,000 people a year, all of whom will be heirs and heiresses to multi-million and billion dollar wealth dynasties. Seriously, in what world do these people need a tax break?

To really understand just how nuts this is, consider this: The billionaires who make up the full Forbes 400 list now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 80 million households or 204 million people — more people than the populations of Canada and Mexico combined.

Never before has so much money funneled into so few hands in the modern history of the United States. And what we’re witnessing, before our very eyes, is the transfer of that wealth into political power.

No one wants to see the rich pay less in taxes except the rich themselves and folks who think they’re about to get rich – but they’re not a majority of this country. Year after year, polling from Gallup (as well as a bunch of other polls) shows that most people want to see the rich pay more, not less, in taxes.

The backers of this tax plan have seen these polls, and they know that it’s bad optics to ask a nurse to pay more in taxes while the descendants of the Mars, Koch and Walton families, the nation’s three richest, all get handouts.

The folks who need a break are the 1 in 5 households that have zero or negative wealth, meaning they owe more than they own. That break comes in the form of basic public programs, funded by tax revenue, that form the backbone of civic society and generate economic opportunities for folks who weren’t born rich to build wealth. Eroding the tax base through tax cuts for the rich, and eliminating those public programs by extension, is bad economics.

This tax plan is irreparable. Congress should start over with the needs of working people at the forefront, not the billionaires.

The post Private Jets and Trust Fund Kids Show Where the GOP’s Tax Priorities Lie appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

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Private Jets and Trust Fund Kids Show Where the GOP’s Tax Priorities Lie

private-jet-gop-tax-plan

Shutterstock

It’s hard to keep track of the fast-flying tax legislation making its way through the sausage-making process in Washington. It’s even harder to know just what’s in each bill, as the thousands of pages of provisions are constantly in flux. To know what’s really behind the Republican tax cutters’ priorities, cut out all the noise and consider just two things: private jets and trust fund kids.

You’ve likely heard of some provisions included in the Senate tax bill under consideration right now, like lowering the corporate tax rate and changing the tax brackets for individual income tax returns. Less discussed is how the bill treats private jets: A measure in the bill exempts private jet owners from paying taxes on all the costs that go along with owning a private jet such as storing it, maintaining it, hiring staff to fly it and cater on it, and so on and so on. In other words, this is basically a blatant gift to folks who own private jets.

Who likes private jets? Well consider the major controversy of Trump administration officials racking up seven-figure private jet fees on the taxpayer dime this year. Such behavior cost former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price his job, and probably should have cost others theirs as well.

The private jets provision is indicative of who’s at the table when details are getting hashed out in the Senate – the wealthiest presidential cabinet in American history. Also at the table: their multi-millionaire and billionaire friends.

The idea that private jet owners need a tax break is absurd on its face. Private jets are heinous for the environment, clog up our airports and already receive massive tax advantages. If you can afford a private jet, you can afford to pay taxes on it. That just seems basic.

Also underreported is the Senate plan to first weaken, then fully eliminate, the federal estate tax, a levy on the intergenerational transfer of immense wealth. The bill will give a tax break to just 5,000 people a year, all of whom will be heirs and heiresses to multi-million and billion dollar wealth dynasties. Seriously, in what world do these people need a tax break?

To really understand just how nuts this is, consider this: The billionaires who make up the full Forbes 400 list now own more wealth than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 80 million households or 204 million people — more people than the populations of Canada and Mexico combined.

Never before has so much money funneled into so few hands in the modern history of the United States. And what we’re witnessing, before our very eyes, is the transfer of that wealth into political power.

No one wants to see the rich pay less in taxes except the rich themselves and folks who think they’re about to get rich – but they’re not a majority of this country. Year after year, polling from Gallup (as well as a bunch of other polls) shows that most people want to see the rich pay more, not less, in taxes.

The backers of this tax plan have seen these polls, and they know that it’s bad optics to ask a nurse to pay more in taxes while the descendants of the Mars, Koch and Walton families, the nation’s three richest, all get handouts.

The folks who need a break are the 1 in 5 households that have zero or negative wealth, meaning they owe more than they own. That break comes in the form of basic public programs, funded by tax revenue, that form the backbone of civic society and generate economic opportunities for folks who weren’t born rich to build wealth. Eroding the tax base through tax cuts for the rich, and eliminating those public programs by extension, is bad economics.

This tax plan is irreparable. Congress should start over with the needs of working people at the forefront, not the billionaires.

The post Private Jets and Trust Fund Kids Show Where the GOP’s Tax Priorities Lie appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

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Who’s Profiting From America’s Private Juvenile Prisons?

private-prisons-tallulah

No place in the world imprisons people at a higher per capita rate than the state of Louisiana. And that incarceration pays — for the profiteers who run the state’s private prisons

For the incarcerated, it’s a totally different story. In 1998, the New York Times described one of Louisiana’s privately run facilities, the Tallulah Correctional Center for Youth, as possibly the worst such prison in the nation, a site “rife with brutality, cronyism, and neglect.”

Grace Bauer-Lubow, whose son was incarcerated at Tallulah, became a leader in the grassroots drive that shut the facility down. That struggle looms large in a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies’ Criminalization of Poverty Project, Mothers at the Gate: How a Powerful Family Movement Is Transforming the Juvenile Justice System.

Report co-author Karen Dolan sat down with Bauer-Lubow to talk about the Tallulah facility, the fortunes made off it, and the families that closed it.

How did you come to know the Tallulah youth prison?

My son Corey was sent there at age 13 after breaking into a pickup truck. He went through a juvenile reception and diagnostic center, and the state of Louisiana decided that a rehabilitation treatment facility would be best for him. They showed me some very nice brochures about Tallulah.

I didn’t know anything about Tallulah beyond the brochures. I didn’t even know it was a prison. But when we drove up, it was nothing like a treatment facility. It was obviously a prison: concrete walls, razor wire, prison guards.

And then it would become clear, from the very first visit we had after his confinement, that he was being abused. He wasn’t receiving education and treatment. His face and ribs were black and blue with bruises. He wasn’t getting enough to eat. He was dirty with boils on his skin.

Can you tell us about the origins of the prison?  

The Trans-American Development corporation built this prison with zero background in youth development, rehabilitation, trauma, or mental health treatment. They were simply businessmen. And the money for Tallulah had to be borrowed against Louisiana’s credit. So in order to close it, they would need to default and drive down the whole state’s credit rating. So even though everyone knew rather quickly that Tallulah was a hell hole, there was no political will to close it.

Louisiana’s legislative auditor found that between January 1995 and April 2001, three executives at Trans-American Development Associates received $ 8.7 million dollars from the Tallulah deal. Even after lawsuits forced the state to take control of the prison in 1999, these three continued to grab over a half a million dollars per year. How did this factor into the appalling conditions at the prison?

You had this profit motive in there and no mechanism for oversight. The level of violence and mismanagement was stunning.

How could such cruelty proliferate in a facility for youth?

A number of reasons. The only place to file a grievance was with the Louisiana Department of Corrections, where complaints went to die. And, remember, many families feared retribution against their children on the inside if they complained.

I complained and weeks later got a form letter back saying they were investigating. I never got another response after that.

Trans-American operated under a shroud of secrecy. They hired guards and covered up violence. The secrecy began to unravel only after the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and the U.S. Department of Justice got involved and launched a lawsuit.

The Louisiana secretary of education came out to assess the situation as a result of this lawsuit. She personally told me that my son was going to die if he stayed there under the conditions she found.

The prison health facilities at Tallulah couldn’t accommodate the number of serious injuries and sexual assaults, so some injured children had to be treated outside the prison, in public health facilities. That exposed some of the horrors of Tallulah, too.

Can you tell us about the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2003 and why it was necessary?

This state legislation was a direct result of our Close Tallulah Now campaign. It basically acknowledged that Louisiana had a ‘lock ’em up and throw away the key’ mentality, not a rehabilitation mentality.

Most of the children at Tallulah were there on petty offenses. They were a long way from their families and communities. The Juvenile Justice Reform Act favored facilities in children’s communities. It forced the state to take the money out of warehousing kids and put it back into the community to help them.

Tallulah was finally closed to juveniles in 2004. What brought the closure about?

A convergence of all of the right people, at the right time, with the right target. We had the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and the Justice Department lawsuit and many allies and advocates. The community of Tallulah eventually began to turn against the prison as well, because all of the good jobs promised to the community never materialized.

And as soon families came into the fight, we had faces to the statistics. This is what finally began to shift the legislative bodies on this away from fearing a credit default, to saving children. Within two years, we built up the political will for change.

The Prison Legal News reports that Damon Hininger, the CEO of the nation’s largest private prison corporation, CCA, received a base salary of $ 882,807 in 2015, with over $ 2.5 million in other compensation. George Zoley, the CEO of the GEO Group, the country’s second-largest private prison corporation, pocketed a $ 1 million salary, with $ 5.6 million in additional compensation. If you had a chance to speak with one of these executives, what would you want them to know?

I once saw a GEO memo to shareholders that talked about how it made sense to invest in private prisons in Louisiana because the state had an increasing population of kids in the juvenile system that would be fed into the adult system, ensuring a large inmate population for the private prisons.

So I would tell these executives that I understand your wanting to make a buck. But why can’t you try to make that buck working to help children, not to break them?

I know the answer: Because they don’t care. If they invest in treatment, then the kids in juvenile facilities would go on and have happy and healthy lives and not fill their prisons. This has bred such hopelessness and despair, and this legacy is continuing on into the next generation.

We see stark racial disparities at every level of the juvenile legal system nationwide, from profiling and arrest, to sentencing and detention. Did you see evidence of this at Tallulah?

Absolutely. You walk in and there are about three white kids to about 85 black kids. That was true throughout the state. The racial disparities were blatant and shocking. A white probation officer told me that my kid got caught up in a corrections system meant for black kids. He didn’t use the word black. He used a different word that I am not going to say.

Tell us about your current work. You co-founded Justice for Families. What’s happening right now?

Justice for Families is a national alliance of local organizations and families committed to ending the incarceration epidemic. We’re founded and run by parents and families who have experienced the justice system and are working to end mass criminalization.

Right now, we’re working with juvenile justice agencies to meaningfully engage with families and communities. We’re using our perspectives, as families, to create tools and strategies that bring the voices of families into all decision making on juvenile justice, at every level.

The post Who’s Profiting From America’s Private Juvenile Prisons? appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Inequality.org is a project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Karen Dolan directs the Criminalization of Poverty project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Private sector goes to prison – Times of India


Times of India
Private sector goes to prison
Times of India
Jail inmates are fast emerging as the new labour workforce for India's private sector. Is it corporate opportunism, penal … From The Himalaya Drug Company and automotive component manufacturer Spark Minda Corporation, to small manufacturers in Meerut

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Alonzo Smith and the Role of Private Policing in Anacostia

police-brutality-protest

(Photo: Flickr / Jamelle Bouie)

When the death of 27-year-old local teacher Alonzo Smith was ruled a homicide in December, questions regarding the role of special police in Washington, D.C., began circulating in Anacostia — where Smith was found in the custody of armed security guards, unconscious and handcuffed. Smith died later in an area hospital. While his case is still being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Smith’s mother, Beverly, has called for an independent investigation. We’ll air a conversation between Anacostia Unmapped’s Kymone Freeman and Beverly Smith, and revisit Smith’s case with Netfa Freeman, one of her biggest advocates.

Listen to the interview here.

The post Alonzo Smith and the Role of Private Policing in Anacostia appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Netfa Freeman is the events coordinator at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Kymone Freeman is the co-owner of We Act Radio and contributor to “Anacostia Unmapped.”
Beverly Smith is the mother of Alonzo Smith.

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Private Equity Chief Runs for President of African Nation – Wall Street Journal


Reuters
Private Equity Chief Runs for President of African Nation
Wall Street Journal
Traditionally known as an exporter of cotton, Benin must focus more on adding value to agricultural products to meet domestic demand for food, Mr. Zinsou said. He also said he wants to position the country as a hub for financial, logistics and
Benin PM Zinsou confirms to run for president in 2016 pollsReuters

all 20 news articles »

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‘Naming en Shaming: misstanden in de private sector’ – Vice Versa

Why naming and shaming in the private sector is so important. Click on the link below to read an online article about naming and shaming companies in the private sector who commit human rights violations and cause enviornmental damage. The article, including an interview with Fairfood Advocacy Manager Floor van Uhm, was published by Vice Versa, a Dutch magazine and online platform covering issues relating to development cooperation.

Naming en Shaming: misstanden in de private sector (article in Dutch).

 

 

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Blackwater Sentencing and Accountability for Private Military Contractors

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca5AKrLR7KI

Private companies have taken on an increasing range of responsibilities as war is outsourced to cut costs. One of those contracting companies (formerly Blackwater, now Academi) saw four of its former guards receive prison sentences for what the prosecutor in the case called “an unprovoked ambush of civilians.” Phyllis Bennis joins Al Jazeera English’s Inside Story to discuss the need for accountability for these types of military contractors.

The post Blackwater Sentencing and Accountability for Private Military Contractors appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis Directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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