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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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CEO Pay 1,795-to-1 Multiple of Wages Skirts U.S. Law

Ron JohnsonFormer fashion jewelry saleswoman Rebecca Gonzales and former Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson have one thing in common: J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) no longer employs either.

The similarity ends there. Johnson, 54, got a compensation package worth 1,795 times the average wage and benefits of a U.S. department store worker when he was hired in November 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Gonzales’s hourly wage was $8.30 that year.

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What It Costs the Worst Bank to Be Truly Evil

jpmc$16 billion. That's how much JPMorgan Chase has paid in fines, settlements and other litigation expenses in the last four years alone.

More than half of that amount, $8.5 billion, was paid out in fines and settlements as the result of illegal actions taken by bank executives.
$8.5 billion is almost 12 percent of the net income the mega-bank brought in during the same period.

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OECD Enables Companies to Avoid $100 Billion in Taxes

OECD helps companies avoid taxesHeadquartered in a former Rothschild chateau in an affluent Parisian neighborhood, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is best known for earnest conferences on economic and social policy.

With little outside attention, it also plays a pivotal role enabling global corporations such as Google Inc. (GOOG), Hewlett- Packard Co. and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN). to dodge taxes by shifting profits into offshore subsidiaries, costing the U.S. and Europe more than $100 billion a year.

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Puerto Rico Beyond IRS Reach Woos Billionaire Fortunes

Puerto Rico tax havenPuerto Rico occupies a space between foreign and domestic status with U.S. citizenship for residents, its own Olympic team and a tax system that allows individuals and companies the chance to elude the IRS.

The U.S. territory’s leaders are seeking to lure mainland residents such as hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson. Moving to Puerto Rico could allow Paulson and other top-earning taxpayers to shield future income from the Internal Revenue Service without giving up their passports.

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Why Aren’t More Americans Fired Up About Inequality?

Inequity in the USWith news of record corporate profits and increased bonuses for those at the top of the financial heap — and on-going income stagnation, job loss, and rising poverty for those in the middle and bottom of the ladder—it’s maddening for progressives to hear our political elites continuing to promote austerity as a means for growth.

Just a year and half ago, Occupy Wall Street was all anyone could talk about.  President Obama won a historic second term running on these themes and announced a new era of liberal governance in his recent Inaugural address.  Yet, even with strong evidence out of Europe that austerity is failing, and public opinion polls in the U.S. showing clear opposition to rising inequality, the political class in Washington is collectively trying to convince itself that America can cut its way to prosperity and economic opportunity for the middle class.

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Bernie Madoff: 'The Banks Had To Know What I Was Doing'

Bernie MadoffMadoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 for his multi-billion dollar scheme, has made this claim before. He told The New York Times in an interview from prison in 2011 that the banks "had to know" he was committing fraud, but chose to turn a blind eye.

Madoff had dealings with a variety of banks and hedge funds, and burned Madoff investors have tried to recoup funds from some of them. Madoff held an account at JPMorgan Chase that he used to shuffle money between offices in London and New York. In 2011, two Madoff investors sued the bank for $19 million, claiming they aided in his fraud, according to CNN. At the time, a JPMorgan spokesman dismissed the lawsuit as “meritless.”

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How robots are eating the last of America’s—and the world’s—traditional manufacturing jobs

Baxter, the robotBaxter, the affordable, humanoid industrial robot recently unveiled by Rethink Robotics, is so easy to program that I once did it one-handed and drunk. We were at a party at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and he was standing in the corner, looking lonely. No, really—Baxter has expressive eyes projected on a touchscreen where you’d expect it to have a face, virtually guaranteeing that you’ll anthropomorphize it.

Drink in hand, I walked over and, with only the vaguest sense of how to get it to respond to my touch, grabbed it by the wrist. I guided its “hand” over to a box full of small objects. Its caliper-like fingers closed on a widget. Then I moved its hand, which offered almost no resistance at all, to another position on the table. It dropped the object.

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