Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December 13th, 2011

Forbes To 99%: Shut Up And Be Good Little Footstools For Us

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 13, 2011

Forbes’ Mike Myatt tries to pretend he has the common touch, but he can’t help letting the mask slip every now and then. He just wrote a column dripping with Ayn-Randian-style venom and contempt for the vast majority of us who don’t have enough dough to buy tax opinion letters:

… Fair is a state of mind, and most often, an unhealthy state of mind….


By the title of today’s column you have no doubt surmised I believe life is not fair, nor do I believe we should attempt to socially or financially engineer it to be such. Fair is not an objective term – it is a matter of perspective filtered by a subjective assessment. My subjective assessment is that fair is an entitlement concept manufactured to appease those who somehow feel slighted. Life isn’t fair – #occupyreality

So he doesn’t like ‘fair’ when it applies to wealth and opportunity distribution, eh? Betcha he likes it just fine in the FOX News definition — aka “working the refs to shove the Overton window ever rightward”.

I also notice that he ignores the Occupiers’ commentary on the sheer venality, not to mention illegality, on what the one-percenters do. For instance:

By the way, if you’re wondering what a “tax opinion letter” is, it’s a million-dollar document drafted by very crafty lawyers that allows super-rich clients to get out of paying taxes:

“No taxpaying mortal has ever heard of a tax opinion letter. Most of us can’t afford to buy one,” Winters says. “The very cheapest one you can find will cost roughly $300,000 per letter” and that’s a “downmarket” version. “The ordinary tax opinion letter costs closer to $3 million.”

A 2003 Senate report on KPMG’s massive tax-shelter business explained:

A tax opinion letter, sometimes called a legal opinion letter when issued by a law firm, is intended to provide written advice to a client on whether a particular tax product is permissible under the law and, if challenged by the IRS, how likely it would be that the challenged product would survive court scrutiny.

“It gives you a very complex tax product, often a combination of trusts along with sheltering personal assets in foreign tax havens,” [wealth defense industry expert Jeffrey] Winters says. A frequent element is the establishment of “anonymous shell corporations that engage in transactions that are not actually real, rack up huge losses on paper, all of which is incredibly hard to follow.”

And here’s the crux: “If you’re challenged by the IRS, the law firm, as part of the tax opinion process, guarantees that it will back you.”

This is all part of the “wealth defense industry” of which Mr. Myatt, as a propagandist for Forbes, is a part.

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