Dover Bitch

Friday, July 21, 2006

Nice work if you can get it

"You heard that rhetoric, oh, all he's going to do is tax the rich. In order to make sure he can -- in order to make sure he fulfills a little bit of his promises, he said he's going to tax the rich. We've heard that kind of language before. Yes, the rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason -- to stick you with the bill. We're not going to let the Senator tax you, we're going to whip him in November." -- George Bush, Oct. 9, 2004

Since DB is in Utah today, this news from the Washington Post seems appropriate:

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and his relatives have claimed millions of dollars in tax deductions through a type of charitable foundation they created that until recently paid out very little in actual charity, tax records show.

Instead, much of the foundation's money has been invested or lent to the family's business interests and real estate holdings, or contributed to the Leavitt family genealogical society.

The Leavitts used nearly $9 million of their assets to set up the foundation in 2000 under an obscure provision of the federal tax code. But unlike standard private foundations, which are required to give away at least 5 percent of their assets to charitable causes, the Leavitt organization donated less than 1 percent of its assets in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The donations jumped to 6.3 percent of total assets last year, after the sale of family water interests that also allowed the foundation to increase its lending to Leavitt business interests.


According to tax documents, the Leavitt Foundation donated $49,087 of its $9 million trust -- or 0.5 percent -- in 2002 and $52,312 -- or 0.6 percent -- in 2003, the only years of tax data available.

"They're basically sitting on all this money, getting a charitable write-off and doing nothing with it," Cohen said.

Guess Bush was right about rich people -- his "base" -- evading their responsibilities. What a shock.

But what was Bush's point, anyway? Cut rich people's taxes or they'll just get out of paying them? That makes no sense and obviously doesn't work. Why not raise taxes on the rich to 100 percent if they're just going to get out of it? And since when does the IRS come knocking on poor people's doors to collect Leavitt's unpaid taxes?

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