Much has been made of the fact that nearly half of Americans paid no federal income tax in 2010. Some people interpret that statistic as saying that we are a nation of makers and takers, with the makers paying the taxes that support the takers. But the story is not that simple. This video explains who doesn't pay income taxes and why, and notes that the share of non-payers is headed down to just a third a decade from now.
8 documents found in 0 seconds.
- $1 Trillion
- 1 percent
- 99 percent
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Bush Tax Cuts
- City Officials
- Clinton Era
- Donna Lieberman
- General Keith Alexander
- Income Inequality
- Jateik Reed
- Judge Shira Scheindlin
- Latin America
- Michael Bloomberg
- National Security Agency
- New York Civil Liberties Union
- Occupy Wall Street
- One Percent
- Operation Impact
- Paul Browne
- President Obama
- Tax Cuts
- U.S. Cyber Command
- Wall Street
- World Bank
- acceptance rates
- class action lawsuit
- cyber crime
- discretionary spending
- false arrest
- federal income tax
- stop and frisk
- super rich
- test scores
- unemployment rate
By Marian Wang, ProPublica
As college-bound students weigh their options, they often look to the various statistics that universities trumpet — things like the high number of applications, high test scores, and low acceptance rate.
But students may want to consider yet another piece of info: the ways in which schools can pump up their stats.
"There's no question about it," said David Kalsbeek, senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University. "There are ways of inflating a metric to improve perceived measures of quality."
Some of these tweaks — such as a more streamlined application — can actually benefit students. Others serve to make the admissions process more confusing. Here's a rundown.
The U.S. added 114,000 jobs in September, causing the unemployment rate to slip to 7.8 percent—a figure not seen since January 2009, when President Obama first took office. There were other unexpected nuggets of good news, too: numbers for July and August were revised upward to show 86,000 more jobs created than previously reported. The numbers could have a crucial effect on the presidential election, in which Mitt Romney has been running on the weak economy.
Total employment rose by 873,000 in September, a significant jump that could help explain the drop in the unemployment rate.
This is also the first report to be released since the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced it had undercounted employment for the previous year by 386,000.
Does Cybercrime Really Cost $1 Trillion?
by Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan ProPublica, Aug. 1, 2012
Gen. Keith Alexander is the director of the National Security Agency and oversees U.S. Cyber Command, which means he leads the government's effort to protect America from cyberattacks. Due to the secretive nature of his job, he maintains a relatively low profile, so when he does speak, people listen closely. On July 9, Alexander addressed a crowded room at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and though he started with a few jokes 2014 his mother said he had a face for radio, behind every general is a stunned father-in-law 2014 he soon got down to business.
Alexander warned that cyberattacks are causing "the greatest transfer of wealth in history," and he cited statistics from, among other sources, Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc., which both sell software to protect computers from hackers. Crediting Symantec, he said the theft of intellectual property costs American companies $250 billion a year. He also mentioned a McAfee estimate that the global cost of cybercrime is $1 trillion. "That's our future disappearing in front of us," he said, urging Congress to enact legislation to improve America's cyberdefenses.
These estimates have been cited on many occasions by government officials, who portray them as evidence of the threat against America. They are hardly the only cyberstatistics used by officials, but they are recurring ones that get a lot of attention. In his first major cybersecurity speech in 2009, President Obama prominently referred to McAfee's $1 trillion estimate. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the main sponsors of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 that is expected to be voted on this week, have also mentioned $1 trillion in cybercrime costs. Last week, arguing on the Senate floor in favor of putting their bill up for a vote, they both referenced the $250 billion estimate and repeated Alexander's warning about the greatest transfer of wealth in history.
A handful of media stories, blog posts and academic studies have previously expressed skepticism about these attention-getting estimates, but this has not stopped an array of government officials and politicians from continuing to publicly cite them as authoritative. Now, an examination of their origins by ProPublica has found new grounds to question the data and methods used to generate these numbers, which McAfee and Symantec say they stand behind.
One of the figures Alexander attributed to Symantec 2014 the $250 billion in annual losses from intellectual property theft 2014 was indeed mentioned in a Symantec report, but it is not a Symantec number and its source remains a mystery.
McAfee's trillion-dollar estimate is questioned even by the three independent researchers from Purdue University whom McAfee credits with analyzing the raw data from which the estimate was derived. "I was really kind of appalled when the number came out in news reports, the trillion dollars, because that was just way, way large," said Eugene Spafford, a computer science professor at Purdue.
Spafford was a key contributor to McAfee's 2009 report, "Unsecured Economies: Protecting Vital Information" (PDF). The trillion-dollar estimate was first published in a news release that McAfee issued to announce the report; the number does not appear in the report itself. A McAfee spokesman told ProPublica the estimate was an extrapolation by the company, based on data from the report. McAfee executives have mentioned the trillion-dollar figure on a number of occasions, and in 2011 McAfee published it once more in a new report, "Underground Economies: Intellectual Capital and Sensitive Corporate Data Now the Latest Cybercrime Currency" (PDF).
In addition to the three Purdue researchers who were the report's key contributors, 17 other researchers and experts were listed as contributors to the original 2009 report, though at least some of them were only interviewed by the Purdue researchers. Among them was Ross Anderson, a security engineering professor at University of Cambridge, who told ProPublica that he did not know about the $1 trillion estimate before it was announced. "I would have objected at the time had I known about it," he said. "The intellectual quality of this ($1 trillion number) is below abysmal."
The use of these estimates comes amid increased debate about cyberattacks; warnings of a digital Pearl Harbor are becoming almost routine. "A cyberattack could stop our society in its tracks," Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this year. Bloomberg reported just last week that a group of Chinese hackers, whom U.S. intelligence agencies referred to as "Byzantine Candor," have stolen sensitive or classified information from 20 organizations, including Halliburton Inc., and a prominent Washington law firm, Wiley Rein LLP.
There is little doubt that a lot of cybercrime, cyberespionage and even acts of cyberwar are occurring, but the exact scale is unclear and the financial costs are difficult to calculate because solid data is hard to get. Relying on inaccurate or unverifiable estimates is perilous, experts say, because it can tilt the country's spending priorities and its relations with foreign nations. The costs could be worse than the most dire estimates 2014 but they could be less, too.
Computer security companies like McAfee and Symantec have stepped into the data void. Both sell anti-virus software to consumers, and McAfee also sells a range of network security products for government agencies and private companies, including operators of critical infrastructure like power plants and pipelines. Both firms conduct and publish cybercrime research, too. "Symantec is doing outstanding work on threat analysis," said Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Kings College London. "But still, of course they have a vested interest in portraying a more dangerous environment because they stand to gain for it."
The companies disagree. Sal Viveros, a McAfee public relations official who oversaw the 2009 report, said in an email to ProPublica, "We work with think tanks and universities to make sure our reports are non-biased and as accurate as possible. The goal of our papers [is] to really educate on the issues and risks facing businesses. Our customers look to us to provide them with our expert knowledge."
Symantec said its estimates are developed with standard methods used by governments and businesses to conduct consumer surveys and come from "one of the few, large, multi-country studies on cybercrime that asks consumers what forms of cybercrime they have actually experienced and what it cost them."
* * *
The glowing praise of the racist "Stop and Frisk" policy by the NYPD and city officials and the fuzzy math statistics that claim vastly reduced crime weren't enough to stop a federal judge today from granting class-action status in a lawsuit against the NYPD that claims the practice violates the constitutional rights of blacks and Hispanics.
Maybe it was the Jateik Reed video or the facts that revealed, among other things, that more young black men were stopped and frisked by police last year than actually live in the city, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The New York Times obtained Judge Shira Scheindlin's opinion, which stated that the evidence presented showed that the central tenets that make up the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy led to many illegal stops. Judge Scheindlin writes:
It is rather audacious of the NYPD to argue that if it were possible to protect "the right of people to be secure in their persons" from unlawful searches and seizures by the NYPD, then the legislature would already have done so and judicial intervention would therefore be futile. Indeed, it is precisely when the political branches violate the individual rights of minorities that "more searching judicial enquiry" is appropriate.
(Emphasis is Judge Scheindlin's.) The NYPD is on track to break last year's record of 601,055 stops (that's 1,900 a day) in 2012.
[Video of the brutal beating of 19-year old Jateik Reed during an NYPD "Stop and Frisk"]
The NYPD on Sunday spoke with glowing praise of their under-fire "Stop and Frisk" policy that allows them to throw anyone they please up against a wall, and sometimes worse (See Jateik Reed video above).
Comparing numbers from the first three months of 2012 to the same period last year, the number of such stops increased 10% while the number of illicit guns taken away went up 31%, according to a New York Police Department statement from Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.
Meanwhile, New York's murder rate has plunged 21% year-to-date as of last Friday -- meaning, if the current trend continues, the yearly number of murders in the city would be the lowest since such statistics first were recorded, as such, in 1963.
"New York City continues to be the safest big city in America, and one of the safest of any size, with significantly less crime per capita ... than even small cities," the department said.
Police cited Operation Impact and the "stop and frisk" policy as key reasons for the improving crime statistics. But the policy has been criticized sharply by some as grounds for racial profiling.
The statement drew a harsh response from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) as executive director Donna Lieberman accused the NYPD of trying to "massage the numbers to make this look like an effective and worthwhile program."
Just last Wednesday, the NYCLU released a report of their own based on the information cited by the NYPD in Sunday's statement from Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne:
More young black men were stopped and frisked by police last year than actually live in the city, according to an analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
About 168,000 black men between the ages of 14 and 24 were stopped under the controversial NYPD program in 2011 -- compared to the 158,406 who live in the five boroughs.
The NYCLU report also revealed of five precincts with blacks and latinos comprising as little as 8 percent of the population, they still accounted for up to 77 percent of of the stops in those areas.
The NYPD denies any claims of racial profiling, and says that it targets only "those who commit crimes." Yet as was revealed in the case of Jateik Reed, claims by police that he was carrying drugs have been shown to be false, and that his arrest was unfounded and he shouldn't have even been stopped when an outdoor surveillance camera video surfaced.
The one percent have become even wealthier than previously thought -- if you can imagine that -- especially the "super rich," who got richer faster than the "merely rich."
The rest of us, well, there's just not much left for us as usual.
NEW statistics show an ever-more-startling divergence between the fortunes of the wealthy and everybody else — and the desperate need to address this wrenching problem. Even in a country that sometimes seems inured to income inequality, these takeaways are truly stunning.
In 2010, as the nation continued to recover from the recession, a dizzying 93 percent of the additional income created in the country that year, compared to 2009 — $288 billion — went to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, those with at least $352,000 in income. That delivered an average single-year pay increase of 11.6 percent to each of these households.
Still more astonishing was the extent to which the super rich got rich faster than the merely rich. In 2010, 37 percent of these additional earnings went to just the top 0.01 percent, a teaspoon-size collection of about 15,000 households with average incomes of $23.8 million. These fortunate few saw their incomes rise by 21.5 percent.
The bottom 99 percent received a microscopic $80 increase in pay per person in 2010, after adjusting for inflation. The top 1 percent, whose average income is $1,019,089, had an 11.6 percent increase in income.
A comparison between the Clinton era (Remember all the jobs, the prosperity...*sigh.*), the Bush "recovery," *cough* and today is even more sobering:
As a result, the top 1 percent has done progressively better in each economic recovery of the past two decades. In the Clinton era expansion, 45 percent of the total income gains went to the top 1 percent; in the Bush recovery, the figure was 65 percent; now it is 93 percent.
The Wall Street executive continues by blasting House Republicans and their "unsavory stew" of highly regressive tax cuts, and large, unspecified reductions in discretionary spending. The GOP just isn't catching on.
According to calculations by World Bank economist Branko Milanovi, half of the world’s richest 1 percent of earners, about 29 million people, are Americans, Four million members of the world’s 1 percent are Germans, and “the rest are mainly scattered throughout Europe, Latin America and a few Asian countries.”
To be in the top 1 percent of world earners, a household needs to make only $34,000 per person.
Statistically, even the poorest 5% of Americans are better off financially than two thirds of the entire world.