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Nation Academy of Social Insurance’s new study

The second is a press release regarding the Nation Academy of Social Insurance’s new study.

The survey used a new approach to measuring public opinion about Social Security. In addition to asking participants whether they would favor a particular change, they were asked to choose a preferred package of changes, much as lawmakers might do. Participants considered various combinations of 12 possible changes, including raising taxes; lowering benefits by raising the full retirement age, changing the COLA, or means-testing benefits; and increasing benefits.

The most favored package of changes — preferred to the status quo by seven in 10 participants across generations and income levels — would:

  • Gradually, over 10 years, eliminate the cap on earnings taxed for Social Security. This would mean that the 5% of workers who earn more than the cap would pay into Social Security all year, as other workers do.
  • Gradually, over 20 years, raise the Social Security tax that workers and employers each pay from 6.2% of earnings to 7.2%. The increase would be so gradual that someone earning $50,000 a year would pay about 50 cents a week more each year, with the employer’s share increasing by the same amount.
  • Increase the COLA to more accurately reflect the inflation actually experienced by seniors, who typically pay more out-of-pocket for medical care than other Americans.
  • Raise Social Security’s minimum benefit so that a worker who pays into Social Security for 30 years can retire at 62 or later with benefits above the federal poverty line ($10,788 in 2011). Currently, lifetime low-wage workers are at risk of falling into poverty in their old age, even after paying Social Security taxes throughout their working lives.

They’re talking in the 80% range of those questioned favoring these positions. This: is a blog post at the Huff Post on the survey.

Dell goes private…blueprint for re-structuring?

David Cay Johnson describes the processes of restructuring the company over time as Dell goes private:

Six years ago, Dell Inc. announced a $12 billion restructuring with huge tax consequences not just for Dell, but also for tax policy. If the deal works as intended, American multinationals can copy it to escape the corporate income tax on profits earned in the United States.
What Dell did was remake itself in a way that lets it escape taxes on profits earned in the United States by running them through a Netherlands entity and newly formed subsidiaries in Singapore and the Cayman Islands.

Dell later quietly dropped the Singapore and Cayman Islands entities in what appears to be a pattern of remaking its corporate structure every few years. This nuanced timing pattern may have great significance as a tool for tax avoidance because IRS corporate audit practices were established on the assumption that companies tend to have stable structures. The IRS rarely audits newly formed entities.
You probably are unaware of this restructuring, even if you are a Dell shareholder or a Wall Street analyst who follows the company. That’s because Dell mentioned it in just a single sentence in an SEC filing and, as best I can tell, nowhere else.

Dell’s restructuring is important because its founder plans to force out other shareholders by selling the Texas computer maker to a private equity group for a reported $15 billion, complicating open IRS audits.

Several graphs help clarify the process of changing ‘ownership’ and multi national corporate policy.