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Wednesday, Aug 20th

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25 top companies pay more to CEO's than taxes

Verizon CEOAt least 25 top United States companies paid more to their chief executives in 2010 than they did to the federal government in taxes, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The companies — which include household names like eBay, Boeing, General Electric and Verizon — averaged $1.9 billion each in profits, according to the study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal-leaning research group. But a variety of shelters, loopholes and tax reduction strategies allowed the companies to average more than $400 million each in tax benefits — which can be taken as a refund or used as write-off against earnings in future years.

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Congress Giving Millions of Foreclosed Homes To Wall Street Slumlords

Great news, everybody: After deliberately failing to help millions of American families stuck in vulture mortgages, the U.S. government is now giving those foreclosed homes to Wall Street for pennies on the dollar so that Wall Street can then rent the now-vacant foreclosures back to the same people pushed out during the Wall Street-caused housing bubble collapse. Wall Street stands to make an immense profit by becoming, overnight, the “largest improved real-estate owners in the world.” Who says capitalism doesn’t work, with a little help from the government by taking away the property of the working class and giving it to billionaires who pay no taxes? Who says that?

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Ex-Moody's exec: Ratings agencies corrupt

Mary Schapiro, Moody CE)U.S. credit-ratings agencies have conflicts of interest because they're paid by firms they're supposed to rate neutrally, an ex-Moody's Corp. executive said.

"This conflict of interest permeates all levels of employment, from entry-level analyst to the chairman and chief executive officer of Moody's Corp.," William Harrington, a former Moody's Investors Service derivative products senior vice president, said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is considering new rules to reform the agencies.

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US Military Intervention in Libya Cost At Least $896 Million

The cost of U.S. military intervention in Libya has cost American taxpayers an estimated $896 million through July 31, the Pentagon said today.

The price tag includes the amounts for daily military operations, munitions used in the operation and humanitarian assistance for the Libyan people.  

The U.S. has also promised $25 million in non-lethal aid to the Libyan Transitional National Council, half of which the Defense Department has already on MRE’s (military lingo for Meals, Ready to Eat).

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Morgan Stanley at Brink of Collapse Got $107B From Fed

Morgan Stanley BuildingAs markets convulsed in September 2008, Morgan Stanley (MS) Treasurer David Wong briefed the Federal Reserve on a “dark” scenario in which the U.S. firm would need at least $10 billion of emergency loans from the central bank.

It got 10 times darker by month’s end. Morgan Stanley borrowed $107.3 billion, the most of any bank, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News using information released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, related court orders and an act of Congress.

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Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion in Fed’s Secret Loans

Wall Street Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

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Social Security disability on verge of insolvency

Social Security DisabilityLaid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.

Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

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