Lewis Black Rants Against Corporate Greed
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From Stephen Lerner, Director of the SEIUâ€™s Private Equity Project:
The Democratic primary is over, and Senators Obama and McCain now face an electorate angry over high gas prices, stagnant wages and a sour economy. The call for change is so loud and so persistent that itâ€™s already become a campaign clichÃ©.
ClichÃ© or not, itâ€™s a major force driving this election, and whichever candidate harnesses the countryâ€™s mood will win this election. Henry Kravis, founder of KKRâ€”effectively the nationâ€™s second largest private employer and one of the largest buyout firms in the nationâ€” has more to do with the countryâ€™s unease than people imagine.
Heâ€™s a symbol of the â€œJust Usâ€ corporate business mentality that so many Americans want to see change. Rich beyond belief, he still lobbied tenaciously last year against a little reform that would have leveled the playing field between hedge fund managers and buyout executives and teachers, nurses, and other middle class Americans. At stake was the elimination of a single tax loophole that saved Henry Kravis up to $96 million in 2006. Because of the loophole, Kravis and a handful of other buyout executives are able to pay a 15 percent tax rate on much of their income, far less than the tax rates that many middle class Americans pay.
That loophole was just the tip of the iceberg.