Lewis Black Rants Against Corporate Greed
From Stephen Lerner, Director of the SEIUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already become a campaign clichÃƒÂ©.
ClichÃƒÂ© or not, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a major force driving this election, and whichever candidate harnesses the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mood will win this election. Henry Kravis, founder of KKRÃ¢â‚¬â€effectively the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s second largest private employer and one of the largest buyout firms in the nationÃ¢â‚¬â€has more to do with the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unease than people imagine.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a symbol of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Just UsÃ¢â‚¬Â 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.