SHOPPING FOR TAX RATES

The corporate rage these days is corporate inversions.  A U.S. Corporation merges with a foreign corp. to obtain the foreign jurisdiction’s lower tax rates.  The merger, in which the U.S. Corporation becomes the surviving entity, is tax-free at the corporate level.  But the U.S. shareholders, who receive no cash on the merger, still must pay tax. The U.S. Corporation’s defend these moves by claiming they need to lower effective tax rates to be more competitive in the global marketplace.  Yet, U.S. stock markets have reached record levels.  So then, what is the real reason for the stampede to escape U.S. tax?

SHOPPING FOR TAX RATES
(To tune of “April in Paris,” by Vernon Duke and E.Y. Harburg (1932))

Shopping for tax rates.
Corporate inversions.
Foreign conversions.
Now all the rave.

Shopping for tax rates.
Mergers to measure.
Profits we treasure.
And crave.

Who cares about morality?
Shareholders who’ll bear the tax?
Morality’s banality.
Numbers motivate our acts.
We’re,

Shopping for tax rates.
Don’t call it treason.
We know the reason.
Pure greed.

Lyric © 2014 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved.

EVERYONE COVER YOUR NOSES

Pope Francis in a papal paper yesterday criticized trickle-down economics and the “idolatry of money.” Clearly countering the Gordon Gekko motto, “Greed is good,” the Pope referred to a “New Tyranny,” of unregulated Capitalism that will increase power for the few and worsens poverty for the many.  “Such an economy kills,” and, is “unjust at its roots,” he said, pointing to the growing inequity of this Darwinist system of rewards.

EVERYONE COVER YOUR NOSES
(To the tune of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” by Julie Styne and Stephen Sondheim from the Broadway show “Gypsy” (1959) performed in the original stage show by Ethyl Merman)

Something smells, something stinks.
All the narrowness Rush Limbaugh thinks
But the Pope, is no dope
He says: “everyone cover your noses.”

What is rank? What is foul?
All those free-market cultists who growl.
“All for one. You’ll get none.”
People: everyone cover your noses

Cynics grinning. Get a whiff of the air.
Most not winning; Hope for their future is thinning.

Self-inspired. All for self.
Put morality up on the shelf
Want no rules.  Trash Gibran.
Don’t be fools.   Read Ann Rand.
Pretentious self-made-winners greed propels.
People: everyone cover your noses,
Cause something here smells.

Lyric © by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

ON WALL STREET

Income disparity is rising in America.  But, the disconnect goes beyond how much people earn. The most troubling aspect of this statistic questions the value to our society and economy of what these highest earners do; or, said another way, questions the honesty of their earnings. There is a growing gap between the rewards for those who speculate on Wall Street and the earnings of those who labor on Main Street.

ON WALL STREET
(To the tune of, “On Broadway,” by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weill, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller; most popularly recorded by The Drifters in 1963 and George Benson in 1978)

They say if you can make a deal on Wall Street.
The streets are paved with bucks to steal, down there.
Because your compensation’s tied
To EPS that’s glorified.
In limousines  you ride that go somewhere.

You know you’re really out of luck on Main Street
Forgotten desperate people stuck out here
Where there’s no job security
And nothing that you need is free
You realize you’re totally, nowhere

Feels good to be the 1 percent on Wall Street
Where lobbyists you pay don’t miss a beat
Keep carried interest on hedge funds
The tax exemption on your bonds
And never have to work for crumbs
On Main Street
Not on Wall Street
No, not on Wall Street

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

A GREEN-BACK FLAG

The Supreme Court after oral argument seems poised by a slim majority of justices to follow its Citizens United decision, giving corporations freedom of speech to buy elections, with yet another decision (McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission)  affording wealthy individuals the unfettered right to corrupt the system.  I saw a photo in the newspaper today, in which protesters outside the Court edifice are raising a mock American flag with corporate seals replacing the stars and U.S. currency replacing the stripes.  I have great respect for the flag but wonder if George M. Cohan would feel as patriotic about the sharply divided moneyed class system that seeks to obliterate the flag’s original symbolism and replace it with the creed of a corporatocracy.

A GREEN-BACK FLAG
(To the tune of “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” by George M. Cohan)

You’re a green–back flag.
You’re a bottom-line flag.
In the boardrooms you’re proudly displayed.

You’re the symbol of,
a creed they love,
a system, the rich have it made.

Let the poor live too,
‘til they’re black and they’re blue
From the lessons no hope instills.
The stars are now big corporate seals.
And the stripes, hundred-dollar bills.

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

WAR CAN MAKE YOUR RICH

Hawks in DC are once again beating the war drums suggesting we get involved in Syria and attack Iran. The questions to be asked: What giant corporations stand to benefit from such action?  How much is contributed to campaign coffers by defense industry companies?  What reason for huge defense budgets absent an ongoing state of fear and war?  Which wars since WWII were fought from necessity or existential threat?  Do these suggested involvements meet that test?

WAR CAN MAKE YOUR RICH
(To tune of “Autumn in New York,” by Vernon Duke)

War can make you rich
If you’re among the connected
War can make you rich
Contract outsourcing perfected

Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran
Hold dividend yields
Those mean battle fields
Bleed gold

War can make you rich
The war machine needs supplying
War can make you rich
If you’ve the right kind of friends

Young men will wave goodbye
Don’t mention how many die
War can make you rich
The reason war never ends

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

PIG ON THE ROCKS

This post was inspired by the recent story out of China of thousands of pig carcasses dumped into the Huangpu River that is a major source of Shanghai’s drinking water.  The dumping was the result of lower pork prices that made it too expensive for the pig farmers to feed the pigs.  The story is all too familiar: greed for profit and expediency trump common sense and concern for the welfare of others. 

 PIG ON THE ROCKS
(To tune of, “Love on the Rocks,” by Neil Diamond and Gilbert Becaud from the 1980 movie “The Jazz Singer.”)

Verses:
Pig on the rocks
Pour me a drink
It packs a jolt
Bacteria’s stink
That’s what you get
When you let,
Business alone

Huangpu’s the pond
Where pigs made a splash
Shanghai’s not fond
Of pig farmer’s trash
Drink if you dare
The farmers don’t care
Where it flows

Bridge:
They’ll get you to buy it
How they’ll justify it?
“Got to keep the profit high
Of jobs go on the skids.”
And if some group hollers,
Quiet them with dollars,
Ever think what kind of world
We’re leaving to our kids?

Verse:
Pig on the rocks,
What’s to prevent?
When lobbyists buy,
The whole government
Big business too big
And we’re drinking pig
On the rocks.

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved

NOSEY MISTER CHIP

Many worry about the Patriot Act, but even more pernicious as an invader of privacy are the massive data bases that large commercial enterprises are building.  These files contain detail information about our lives gleaned from data-chips in our cars, cell phones and on our computers.  Soon they may be put in the labels on our clothing, if not already hidden there.  The gender of Mr. Chip is not meant to make a statement of any kind.  I simply liked how ” Nosey Mister Chip” sounded with the melody better than the gender neutral alternative, “Nosey Little Chip.”

NOSEY MISTER CHIP
(To tune of, “I’m Mister Blue,” by DeWayne Blackwell, 1959 chart-topping hit of singing group The Fleetwoods)

Intro:
New technology has reached a stage
Big Brother would approve
Huge data bases are now all the rage
Tracking our every move
Forgive me if you hear doubt
Slip from my worried lips
As capitalists now all contend
Our friends are data chips

Verses:
My Mister Chip
Embedded in each website
Noting my every link
My likes and how I think
Reducing me to a blip
Nosey Mister Chip

Sly Mister Chip
Your in the car I’m driving
My hidden traveler
A data gatherer
Along on my every trip
Nosey Mister Chip

Bridge:
If I stay a home one night
You might tell a satellite
And my TV, a screen of
Watching eyes
(Nosey People)

Verse:
Why, Mr. Chip?
Must you know my life?
The joy and pain: what for?
Surely to sell me more
Print out another sales-slip
Nosey Mister Chip

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved