The recent exposé in this newspaper about the Trump family finances shines a light on the ways in which the wealthiest Americans can avoid estate and gift taxes on the transfer of assets to their children. While many of the Trump family schemes described in the report were clearly outside of the law, a disturbing number exemplify commonly used techniques.
This would not be as troubling if the richest Americans paid more income taxes. But most of the wealth they acquire is not taxed as income. This situation — generous exclusions from income taxes combined with easy evasion of estate and gift taxes — has given the wealthiest a free pass on the costs of running the country.
To see how the ultrarich acquire their wealth, look at the Forbes 400, an annual listing of the wealthiest Americans. This year an individual needed to have more than $2 billion to be included, and together the Fortune 400 group controls over $3 trillion. This enormous wealth was generally acquired in one of two ways: through inheritance or by building or investing in a successful business.
In the early 1990s, 18 super-wealthy families (including the DeVos, Koch and Walton families) invested $500 million in lobbying efforts to undermine the estate tax. Their results have been impressive. In 1990 the estate tax applied to all estates in excess of $600,000 and the tax rates were as high as 55 percent. Today the tax applies only to individuals with assets greater than $11 million ($22 million for a couple) and the top tax rate has been reduced to 40 percent.
Some of the most cutting-edge weapons in the US's military arsenal can be "easily hacked" using "basic tools", a government report has concluded.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found "mission-critical" cyber-vulnerabilities in nearly all weapons systems tested between 2012 and 2017.
That includes the newest F-35 jet as well as missile systems.
Pentagon officials had no immediate response to the 50-page report from the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The committee's members expressed concerns about how protected weapon systems were against cyber-attacks.
The report's main findings were:
the Pentagon did not change the default passwords on multiple weapons systems - and one changed password was guessed in nine seconds
a team appointed by the GAO was able to easily gain control of one weapons system and watch in real time as the operators responded to the hackers
it took another two-person team only one hour to gain initial access to a weapons system and one day to gain full control
many of the test teams were able to copy, change or delete system data with one team downloading 100 gigabytes of information
The GAO added that the Pentagon "does not know the full scale of its weapons system vulnerabilities".
Ken Munro, an expert at security firm Pen Test Partners, said he was "not at all surprised" by the findings.
"It takes a long time to develop a weapons system, often based on iterations of much older systems. As a result, the components and software can be based on very old, vulnerable code.
"Developers often overlook 'hardening' the security of systems after they've got them operating, with the philosophy, 'it's working, so don't mess with it'.
"However, that's no excuse. This report shows some very basic security flaws that could easily have been addressed by changing passwords and keeping software up-to-date."
Are we heading for a Trump Slump?
I guess you do not understand that rising interest rates on bonds cause volatility in the market.
Trump's policies bear responsibility for the situation we are now confronted with.
The Dow's 31% gain during Trump's first year is the best since FDR
The 30-stock index has surged more than 31 percent since Trump's inauguration.
That marks the index's best performance during the first year of a president since Franklin Roosevelt.
"You've got lower taxes, less regulation and confidence in the economy is high," said one investor.
The S&P 500 has surged 23 percent during Trump's first year in office.
Aside from the headline and subheading, your second link doesn't quote the Ayatollah saying, "kill all Jews," or saying that Iran wants all Jews dead at all.
We’ve gotten news on Alfa Bank, Psy-Group, and Peter W. Smith — three long-simmering subplots of the Russia investigation.
A California man accused by U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller's office of operating an online auction service for stolen identities was sentenced to one year in prison on Wednesday in a federal district court.
Richard Pinedo, who pleaded guilty to one count of identity fraud in February, could serve half the sentence at home, Judge Dabney Friedrich said.
The criminal charge against Pinedo was announced in February by Mueller's office at the same time it announced an indictment against 13 Russians and three Russian companies on charges they adopted fake online personas to push divisive messages, travelled to the United States to collect intelligence and staged political rallies.
some maybe interesting updates
Quote:Aside from the headline and subheading, your second link doesn't quote the Ayatollah saying, "kill all Jews," or saying that Iran wants all Jews dead at all.
You are quite the desperate apologist. The Koran says to kill all Jews. That goes for Shiites and Sunnis. You need to learn something about Islam, Israel and its leaders know.
President Donald Trump loves to brag about ratings, but he’s not getting them anymore.
As he’s ramped up his rally schedule ahead of the midterms, viewership numbers for the raucous prime-time events have been roughly similar to — sometimes dipping below — Fox News’ regular programming, and the network has recently stopped airing most evening events in full.
One senior White House official was unsure why the network would decide to cut away from presidential rallies, saying officials planned “to look into that” and wouldn’t be surprised if White House communications director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, was in touch with former colleagues about the trend.
The loss of national coverage is equally, if not more, concerning to the candidates on whose behalf Trump is traveling the country.
A source close to Trump described the declining coverage as a “huge loss on the state and local level for Republicans because they’re certainly not going to get any of that on other cable networks.”
“If they stop taking them completely, that might create a problem,” this person said. “Trump is a massive consumer of the media, so he may be disappointed.”
Neither Fox News nor the White House responded to requests for comment.
But from Fox’s perspective, Trump is no longer a sure bet to beat Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity or Laura Ingraham. For instance, on Aug. 30, Fox News’ 8 p.m. hour was mostly consumed by Trump’s rally in Evansville, Ind., earning 2.536 million viewers, according to Nielsen, compared to the 2.8 million viewers Carlson averaged at that time during 2018’s third quarter.
Islamists hurl a bomb into a school, killing two teachers.
A suicide bomber detonates at the campaign office of a secular candidate, killing eight supporters.
Two young parents of small children are murdered in cold blood by a Palestinian terrorist.
A butcher who spoke out against Islamic terror is abducted and his throat slit.
Terrorists blow up a petrol station, killing five civilians, including two children.
Two Muslim patriots are shot to death at a meat shop for supporting India.
The US military has temporarily grounded its entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets in the wake of a crash in South Carolina last month.
Inspections are to be carried out on faulty fuel tubes.
An official report questioned earlier this year whether the F-35 was ready for combat after dozens of faults were found.
The F-35 is the largest and most expensive weapons programme of its type in the world.
The programme is expected to last several decades and global sales are projected to be 3,000. The US government's accountability office estimates all costs associated with the project will amount to one trillion dollars.
In a statement, the F-35 Joint Program Office said the US and its international partners had suspended flight operations while a fleet-wide inspection of fuel tubes was conducted.
"If suspect fuel tubes are installed, the part will be removed and replaced. If known good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.
"Inspections are expected to be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours."
The aircraft, which uses stealth technology to reduce its visibility to radar, comes in three variants.
The crash in South Carolina involved an F-35B, which is able to land vertically and costs around $100m (£75m).
The pilot in that incident ejected safely but the aircraft was destroyed.