A.I.G. Sues U.S. for Return of $306 Million in Tax Payments
While the American International Group comes under fire from Congress over executive bonuses, it is quietly fighting the federal government for the return of $306 million in tax payments, some related to deals that were conducted through offshore tax havens.CNBC HOST: WALL STREET FIRMS CAN'T 'BE RUN WELL' BY THOSE MAKING UNDER $250K
A.I.G. sued the government last month in a bid to force it to return the payments, which stemmed in large part from its use of aggressive tax deals, some involving entities controlled by the company’s financial products unit in the Cayman Islands, Ireland, the Dutch Antilles and other offshore havens.
A.I.G. is effectively suing its majority owner, the government, which has an 80 percent stake and has poured nearly $200 billion into the insurer in a bid to avert its collapse and avoid troubling the global financial markets. The company is in effect asking for even more money, in the form of tax refunds. The suit also suggests that A.I.G. is spending taxpayer money to pursue its case, something it is legally entitled to do. Its initial claim was denied by the Internal Revenue Service last year.
HAINES: Let’s get back to what I regard as a fundamental issue here. I know it’s politically unpopular, politically incorrect. I know it goes against all of the populist indignation that’s out there right now. But you can’t really, it seems to me, expect that these Wall Street companies are going to be run well by a bunch of people who don’t make more than $250,000.
Of course, Wall Street has been run so smoothly under millionaire CEOs. Haines also seems to be criticizing the management ability of America’s small business owners, the vast majority of whom do not earn over $250,000 in gross income per year.
UPDATE The Wonk Room's Pat Garofalo notes that today Haines also compared Wall Street to Nazi Germany in arguing that AIG should keep its bonuses:
"It’s just like when the Allies were victorious over Nazi Germany in World War II, when we occupied the country, we left a lot of Nazis in place because they were the ones who made the trains run on time and the bureaucracy function properly, etc. And it was distasteful, but you needed them." (!!!!???)
SUZE ORMAN TO BUSH: You Owe The American People Every Penny Of Your Fortune And Your Family's Fortune
This AIG bonus scandal is a gift in disguise. It is exposing the ugly underbelly of massive banking fraud and elitism. This is a good thing. The liars can whine all they want, but the truth is that deregulation caused this and pleas to regulate were ignored for the past 8 years on George W. Bush's watch. So -- let's look at the good happening now: Transparency! So much greed occurred in the past 8 years, including mortgage banking fraud, contractor fraud in Iraq, war profiteering and Big Oil tax loopholes. Everything will come out now. This is encouraging.
"You know how when you’re in a room with a serial killer – or someone who is extremely angry – you can just feel the tension coming off the person? Well the opposite is true too. It’s been scientifically proven that enthusiasm and courage actually change your brain waves, changing the molecular structure around you. This means you can be attractive even if you’re not good looking — because when you radiate love, you attract people. - Lydia from the comedy "Venus Conspiracy"You attract to yourself riches or poverty, peace of mind or fear — entirely in accordance with the thoughts you think. You make your own conditions, and you can unmake them.
Viktor Frankl, the Austrian Holocaust survivor who overcame concentration camp torture with the power of his mind, is one of my heroes. He literally transcended hell on earth with his thoughts, and somehow the torturers left him alone. He rose above his grisly fate by dwelling on love. He thought non-stop of his wife's face, the love they shared. He filled his mind with so much love, the prison guards never abused him. He was untouchable and of course, was one of the few who survived.
From "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl: "A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth--that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.
I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way--an honorable way--in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life, I was able to understand the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory."
MIRACLES HAPPEN ... they are natural laws
A very wise man said that each time he lost a job or client, the door opened to a better one. The minute he put too much importance on a particular job, project or relationship, it mysteriously self-destructed. . .because you cannot get your self-esteem from material things. It’s an inside job. The minute you put all your focus on money, pleasure or material goods you will lose those things – because nothing in the material world is stable. Stock markets drop, banks fail, houses can burn down. But as long as you "wear the world as a loose garment" you can be okay during any crisis.
All you have to do is to take care of one moment at a time and commit 100% to getting your inner life right before anything else.
The man I'm referring to now has a successful career on his own terms, doing work that he loves; but he had to let go of needing that one job to fix him. He had to stop putting his focus on MONEY, PROPERTY OR PRESTIGE.
** If you are very worried and confused, now is the time to “lie down among the poppies” mentally and pray. But prayer is not what you think it is. It is walking surrendering the fight. Stop worrying about your problems, walk away from intellectual manipulation. Try it for one week.
"It is by self-forgetting that we find..." As contrary to your nature and as hard as it sounds, you must completely put your worries aside for one week or so — enjoy the beauty in life, find ways to help others — get your mind off yourself and your worries. You can only fix things so far by human manipulation. When you are deeply confused there is only one way to go: DROP IT ALL TOGETHER and replace your negative obsessions with thoughts of joy, truth, love and beauty. These are all synonyms of "God." This is true prayer: the invisible transfer of love to another, and to yourself.
Emmet Fox writes: "A woman in London, whose affairs seemed to have got into a hopeless tangle that meant utter ruin, was persuaded to drop the whole burden mentally and “let the worst happen,” while he spent two or three days browsing spiritual books, and praying for peace and happiness. He was forbidden to worry or look again at his problems. Everything cleared up like magic within a week without having to take any material action."
If you have a problem or a worry, do not indulge in blaming the past, or dwelling on the problem — whether it’s your job or a tragedy or a difficult person or someone who hurt you. Do not look back and blame yourself either. It’s a complete waste of time. Do not indulge in grumbling, psychoanalyzing, self-pity, recriminations, or how you could have done it better. The past will tyrannize you; the future will terrorize you. All you can do is live this one moment and train your thoughts. TRAIN YOUR THOUGHTS to think only of good things; and if you can’t come up with any good thoughts, don’t think at all, empty your mind out. Stop the chatter, meditate -- take a walk in a forest. If you can't stand the quiet— go to the movies, ride a roller coaster, help at the Mission, eat ice-cream, go dancing, play music, create art, express joy, have fun, clean house.
As Einstein said, "No problem can be solved on the level it was created on."
DON’T THINK, DON’T DWELL ON YOUR WORRIES; DWELL ON GOOD, BEAUTY TRUTH, LIGHT, JOY. If you really do this, your problem will go away because your thoughts create your reality.
If you dwell on your worries they will get bigger. This is what is meant by "don't fight your enemies." You thought your problem into existence, now unthink it. Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Wash it away by substituting it with a thought of Love, Truth, Beauty Wisdon. You will be amazed at the power of prayer; it completely changes things — even sickness and material conditions. This is a secret few people know until they really want it. Give it a try and see what happens.
“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem.
It makes no difference how deeply seated the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake; a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.”
Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it now. Today is your lucky day!