Lewis Black Rants Against Corporate Greed

From Stephen Lerner, Director of the SEIU’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 it’s already become a campaign cliché.

Cliché or not, it’s a major force driving this election, and whichever candidate harnesses the country’s mood will win this election. Henry Kravis, founder of KKR—effectively the nation’s second largest private employer and one of the largest buyout firms in the nation—has more to do with the country’s unease than people imagine.

He’s a symbol of the “Just Us” 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.

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