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Candide’s Blog
July 23-29, 2007

High on Tax Shelters

So much for trusting business at taxpayers' expense. From the Times: "Two years ago, when companies received a big tax break to bring home their offshore profits, the president and Congress justified it as a one-time tax amnesty that would create American jobs. Drug makers were the biggest beneficiaries of the amnesty program, repatriating about $100 billion in foreign profits and paying only minimal taxes. But the companies did not create many jobs in return. Instead, since 2005 the American drug industry has laid off tens of thousands of workers in this country. And now drug companies are once again using complex strategies, many of them demonstrably legal, to shelter billions of dollars in profits in international tax havens, according to their financial statements and independent tax experts. In one popular accounting move, companies declare their foreign markets as far more profitable than their American businesses - even though drug prices are typically higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world. Drug makers are not the only American multinationals using tax loopholes to declare large portions of their income beyond the reach of the Internal Revenue Service. The Brookings Institution estimates that multinational companies are using overseas tax shelters to lower their payments to the Treasury by about $50 billion a year. But the drug industry accounts for one of the biggest portions of that shortfall, according to the I.R.S. and independent tax experts. And the nature of their business gives drug makers techniques, like sheltering valuable pharmaceutical patents in tax-friendly havens like Ireland, that many other industries cannot use." The full story...

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Something's Got a Hold on Etta

At 69, Etta James is too young to stop singing, let alone die, let alone let a stomach IED sideline her from her scheduled road show with BB King and Al Green (whose tour began in Florida on Tuesday, and runs through the end of August.) Our lonely days would only begin if she were to quit on us now: she’s recovering from “complications” from abdominal surgery in Los Angeles. Here’s to her.

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