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Saturday, July 02, 2005


Abe Lincoln,the Denizens of K Street and Tax Shelters that Stink of Corruption

George W. Bush at Al Smith Dinner, Waldorf-Astoria,10/19/2000

"This is an impressive crowd. The haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base."


The Sad and Unpleasant Truth

To whom the country really belongs? Primarily to the lobbyists of "K" Street, Washington,DC (also known as Gucci Gulch) and the organizations that pay their salaries. Now that it has become fashionable to use the name of God and wear lapel pins displaying Old Glory, perhaps they have switched from Guccis to union made footwear. I would not be too sure about that.

They are the movers and shakers who represent special interest groups. We didn't elect them but they have a say in every legislation that is enacted. And they block many from being enacted. Most of the elected representatives are under their insidious influence. The masters of the lobbyists fund their campaigns; lavishly entertains them; provide tickets to events. Golfing in Scotland is certainly more pleasant than sweating over the nation's problems, especially when a friendly lobbyist picks up the tab.

Like Goethe's Faust, the legislators have sold themselves and, as part of the bargain, sold you and me down the river. The Washington Post published a report by Jeffrey Birnbaum on June 22nd titled The Road to Riches is called K Street.

"The lobbying boom has been caused by three factors, experts say: rapid growth in government, Republican control of both the White House and Congress, and wide acceptance among corporations that they need to hire professional lobbyists to secure their share of federal benefits."

Tax Shelters to Make the Rich Richer

There are many books and articles that cover this subject. The Pulitzer prize winning journalist Hedrick Smith produced an excellent documentary "Tax Me, If you Can" which was aired on Frontline (PBS) Feb.19, 2004. It is still available for watching online. If you don't have the time, I recommend The Washington Post's transcript of Mr. Smith's appearance at a question and answer session about the documentary.

"The tax shelter was one of corporate America?s biggest hidden profit centers in recent years. Shelters have become so lucrative that some experts estimate as much as $50 billion is lost to the U.S. Treasury each year. And ordinary taxpayers wind up footing the bill. Frontline correspondent Hedrick Smith provides an inside look at how big corporations and wealthy individuals cut their taxes with intricate, hidden, and abusive tax shelters and investigates the role of blue chip accounting firms in these secret deals."

While influence peddling has reached new heights under Republicans, Democrats cannot claim to be free of lobbyists' control. It is the system; it breeds corruption, nurtures it.

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