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Michelle Malkin: Obama’s Tax Evaders of the Year are Rich in Hypocrisy

By Michelle Malkin | @michellemalkin |

President Barack Obama kicked off the new year the same way he kicked off the old year: by demanding that the wealthy pay their “fair share” in taxes. But while millions of small-business owners, struggling entrepreneurs, inventors and investors brace for a double whammy of fiscal cliff tax hikes and new Obamacare taxes, the class-warrior in chief’s richest pals are getting a pass.

It’s a Golden Pass for liberal millionaires and billionaires who support higher Obama taxes for everyone but themselves. Meet the Democratic tax evaders of the year.

» Google. The left-wing Internet giant provided Silicon Valley’s biggest campaign finance boost to Obama, with individual employee donations supporting the tax-hiking candidate by a ratio of more than 31-to-1. Google rank-and-file workers pitched in $800,000 to Obama. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, chief legal officer and senior vice president David Drummond, and Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf are all vocal Obama supporters and top donors.

In December, Google’s Netherlands subsidiary disclosed in a tax filing that it had shifted nearly $10 billion in revenues to a Bermuda shell company. That’s “almost double the total from three years before,” according to Bloomberg News. In response to criticism, Google defended the scheme as a legal response to government incentives. “It’s called capitalism,” Schmidt snarked defiantly.

Wonder what all of Obama’s operatives and media lapdogs who bashed evil, selfish Republican offshore tax havens have to say about that? Cue crickets chirping.

» Washington Post. Speaking of media lapdogs, this newspaper sanctimoniously supported Obama for president and singled out his support for “revenue (tax) increases.” Its endorsement editorial castigated Mitt Romney for embracing an America “in which an ever-greater share of the nation’s wealth resides with the nation’s wealthy, at a time when inequality already is growing.”

The privileged wealthy barons at the Washington Post, however, increased that inequality at the end of the year when they joined a growing number of companies who gave 2013 dividends in 2012 to protect investors from paying higher Obama taxes on dividend income. It’s “proof positive,” my friend and guest-blogger Doug Powers noted, “that no matter what happens in the negotiations, the country is definitely going off the irony cliff.”

Bonus irony: The $70 million year-end dividend payment was a windfall for other “higher taxes for thee, but not for me” Obama supporters, including donor Warren Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway. According to the Associated Press, “Berkshire is its largest shareholder, with an estimated 1.7 million shares, which means it could get a roughly $17 million dividend payment.”

» Costco. The mega-retailer’s co-founder, Jim Sinegal, is a lifelong Democrat and top Obama fundraiser. He crusaded aggressively for Obamacare and sent out a campaign dispatch defending his candidate from criticism over his “you didn’t build that remarks.” But while Sinegal purported to speak for beleaguered small-business owners, his company was availing itself of rarified tax avoidance strategies. Like the Washington Post, the Costco Board of Directors voted to pay special $7 per share year-end dividends to avoid higher taxes. In addition, Costco will borrow $3.5 billion to finance the payout, according to The Wall Street Journal. Higher taxes, more debt. They built that.

» Facebook. The social networking giant’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, told Obama in 2011 at a town hall forum that he was “cool” with paying higher taxes. But neither Zuckerberg nor his many Facebook execs are actually down with following through. Co-founder Eduardo Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship in a blindingly obvious bid to evade nearly $70 million in taxes. In addition, Zuckerberg and a half-dozen Facebook insiders are all skirting hefty estate and gift taxes on their family Facebook shares held in annuity trusts. According to Bloomberg News, the legal maneuver is called a “grantor-retained annuity trust, or GRAT,” and the total Facebook tax avoidance sum adds up to at least $200 million. A “cool” $200 million, that is.

» George Lucas. The billionaire Star Wars director called Obama a “hero” and parroted his candidate’s capitalism-bashing rhetoric in a January 2012 interview with PBS dinosaur Charlie Rose. “I do not believe that the rich should be able to buy the government,” Lucas lectured. He does, however, believe in shirking higher taxes the one-percenter way. In October, Lucas sold his film company to Disney for a whopping $4 billion in cash and stock to evade anticipated capital gains tax increases and Obamacare Medicare surtaxes on investment income.

» Andre “Dr. Dre” Young. Forbes magazine named this California gangsta rapper-turned-music industry mogul the highest-paid musician in the world in 2012. He raked in an estimated $100 million, mostly from sales of his Beats headphone company, along with concert revenue. Dre’s music electronics company was co-founded with Jimmy Iovine, who also founded Dre’s parent record label, Interscope Records. Interscope was funded by “progressive” billionaire Ted Field, heir to the Marshall Field retail empire and one of the nation’s biggest Democratic Party donors.

Dre boosted the careers of prominent Obama hip-hop cheerleaders Eminem and 50 Cent. But overseas, he’s rolling like a Romney supporter. The rap mogul is now using a County Cork, Ireland, tax haven to protect his global headphones empire subsidiaries and avoid high U.S. corporate tax rates. The Irish Examiner newspaper explained that the elaborate structuring “allows for money to be (channeled) between the separate companies in the form of royalty payments or (license) fees to artificially but legitimately reduce profits as a means of reducing tax liabilities.”

To paraphrase Dre and his Obama-endorsing rap partner Snoop Dogg: Ain’t nuthin’ but an E thang. Elitism. Exemptions. Evasion.

Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

comments powered by Disqus

» on 01.07.13 @ 10:56 AM

Fantastic article!  Hopefully the left is listening, but they rarely do.  They only hear what they want to hear, and only if it supports their talking points.  I’m not sure if there is enough liberal-flavored Kool-Aid to go around this time.

» on 01.07.13 @ 11:26 AM

This is fantastic.  Everyone agrees that these actions are “unpatriotic”.  So, let’s get rid of these loopholes which only benefit the wealthy.  It’s clearly a bi-partisan concern, or it’s fake outrage.

I’d like to think Michelle is in agreement that these perversions to the intent and power of the free market should be extinguished.  Not letting the wealth get away with actions the rest of us cannot do is wrong no matter how you vote.

So what do you suggest be done?  Widen the loopholes or close the loopholes?

» on 01.07.13 @ 04:27 PM

Wealthy liberals = rank hypocrisy

She forgot to mention Al Gore trying to sell Current TV to Al Jazeera on the last day of the year to avoid higher capital gain taxes. In my view Buffett is the worst of the bunch. He could easily pay himself a hefty salary or dividends on Berkshire Hathaway stock and pay much higher taxes. How about leaving his fortune to the govt instead of a private foundation that throws off significant charitable deductions for him to use.

» on 01.07.13 @ 04:34 PM

Every attempt the GOP made to dispense with tax loop holes was shot down by the democrat held senate. To be fair there were a fair amount of GOP dissenters to reform as well.

The problem is, as I have been screaming for the last 5 years now, is not loop holes, not redistribution, not gambling, looting and pirating, not democrat socialists or GOP pillagers, but the fact that we as an economy do not produce enough to support all these parasitic enterprises.

Avarice, welfare, parasitic services and all other non productive economic activities will always exist. However, an economy that produces more value than these parasites consume will survive and even grow. The problem we have is that we don’t support true real value adding enterprises and we punitively tax and regulate the ones that are left to death.

Many democrats rightly point out that our tax rates were much higher decades ago and our economy was robust and growing. What they fail to acknowledge is that we had higher taxes because we could afford them and our economy was a net producer. What they don’t see is that those high tax rates also drove much of our wealth generating business offshore and the value adding occurred in foreign countries rather than here, that and the fact that we went from net energy exporter to net energy importer.

So you see all this crap is a gigantic smoke screen to hide the real problem now festering for 4 decades and that is the fact that we are living well beyond our means. That huge debt in the public sector is swamped by private debt and the enormously gigantic unfunded liabilities problem. All this resting on an economy predicated to gambling addicts, credit junkies and parasitic middlemen rather than real net producers.

There are two solutions, go bankrupt or spur a robust growing economy. With Obama unwilling to curb his spending addiction, his predilection to European socialism and hatred of non campaign contributing wealthy, it seems quite unlikely he will succeed in growing anything but a big fat bankruptcy.

The people have spoken, screw my kids and screw tomorrow just gimmie my crap today.

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