Opinion

David Cay Johnston

Underpaid women and their men

David Cay Johnston
Oct 26, 2011 18:09 UTC

New data on U.S. incomes, poverty, pensions and philanthropy all show a common economic reality — women are still getting shortchanged. Do men care?

Men’s median total income in 2010 was $1.54 for each dollar women received, my analysis of new U.S. Census data shows. The median — half make more, half less — was $32,137 a year for men, $20,831 for women.

Ignoring investment and other income, at the median men were paid $1.29 to the dollar earned by women in 2010. Men made $47,715 a year, women $36,931, a difference of $207 per week.

Among nonprofit executives and managers, men make much more than women in the same occupations.

Women run a majority of organizations with budgets under $1 million, but as budgets grow the ranks of women shrink. At nonprofits with budgets of $50 million or more, only one in six is run by a woman and as a group those women are paid 25 percentage points less than men, according to the 11th annual nonprofit pay study by Guidestar, a project I long ago urged on its founder.

Beyond the 1 percent

David Cay Johnston
Oct 25, 2011 15:42 UTC

By David Cay Johnston
The author is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The U.S. tax debate tends to focus on the top 1 percent — their share of income taxes and their tax rates. Anti-tax groups encourage this focus, now embraced by the Occupy demonstrators on Wall Street and across America.

Problem is, the top 1 percent is a very misleading measure of who pays federal income taxes. It mixes doctors and billionaires, masking the taxes paid by the middle class and the affluent.

First look at US pay data, it’s awful

David Cay Johnston
Oct 19, 2011 21:15 UTC

Anyone who wants to understand the enduring nature of Occupy Wall Street and similar protests across the country need only look at the first official data on 2010 paychecks, which the U.S. government posted on the Internet on Wednesday.

The figures from payroll taxes reported to the Social Security Administration on jobs and pay are, in a word, awful.

These are important and powerful figures. Maybe the reason the government does not announce their release — and so far I am the only journalist who writes about them each year — is the data show how the United States smolders while Washington fiddles.

Tax repatriation

David Cay Johnston
Oct 19, 2011 16:00 UTC

By David Cay Johnston
The author is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The practice of favoring big corporations seems likely to take a costly leap forward soon, if Congress passes an $80 billion tax holiday for a handful of U.S. multinational corporations with untaxed profits overseas.

Sponsors of legislation to grant the holiday, which is gaining support in Congress, say it would encourage these companies to repatriate their profits, giving an infusion of cash to the sluggish U.S. economy that will create jobs.

Pipeline profiteering

David Cay Johnston
Oct 17, 2011 18:14 UTC

By David Cay Johnston
The opinions expressed are his own.

Last year a fourth of the nation’s oil pipelines earned excessive profits, at up to seven times the rates allowed these regulated monopolies, according to an explosive analysis prepared by a former general counsel for the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

R. Gordon Gooch, the former counsel, alleges in his Oct. 3 study, for instance, that Sunoco’s Mid-Valley Pipeline, which carries crude oil from Texas to Michigan, earned a 55 percent return on assets. That is seven times its authorized profit margin, based on a calculation derived from an accounting report the company filed with FERC.

Three other regulated monopoly pipelines earned more than 40 percent on their assets, while another three earned more than 30 percent, an examination of their FERC filings by Reuters shows.

Decoding the lies on tax policy

David Cay Johnston
Oct 11, 2011 14:15 UTC

David Cay Johnston explains the twisted tax logic currently being used by politicians:

Orwellian tax talk

David Cay Johnston
Oct 11, 2011 12:33 UTC

By David Cay Johnston
The author is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Political tax talk is becoming Orwellian: Secrecy is Democracy. Auditors Reduce Collections.  Tax Cheats Will Be Caught With Fewer Auditors.

Let’s start in Kansas, where the Lawrence Journal-World broke the news on Sunday that economist Arthur Laffer, father of curve-on-a-napkin tax policy, is advising the state on a new tax structure. The news is not so much that Laffer is getting $75,000 of taxpayer money, but that Governor Samuel Brownback wants advice only from business leaders; no wage earners allowed behind these officially closed doors.

Occupy Wall Street

David Cay Johnston
Oct 7, 2011 17:54 UTC

By David Cay Johnston
The views expressed are his own.

Pay close attention to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York and around the United States, especially if the protests endure through the cold months into the election year spring or if the New York police are ordered to violently end the demonstrations, which would ensure they spread.

The protests show signs of sparking a major change in U.S. politics by creating common ground among people with wildly divergent views. The key to their significance will be whether they foster a wholesale change in political leadership in 2013 or whether Americans return a vast majority of incumbents in both parties at all levels of government.

Occupy Wall Street differs fundamentally from the many demonstrations I have covered over more than four decades. Instead of people with similar specific interests — anti-war, anti-rape, Tea Partiers — these demonstrators come with widely varying views, experiences and backgrounds, yet unite around a common theme: bankers are ripping off America.

“Stateless income”

David Cay Johnston
Oct 4, 2011 21:52 UTC

By David Cay Johnston
The author is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

From the way Washington politicians in both parties tell it, you may well think that multinational companies favor low-tax jurisdictions when investing overseas. They don’t.

The multinationals prefer investing in high-tax jurisdictions because it so happens that is where they can earn the highest returns.

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