WASHINGTON, October 3, 2016 — Carlos Slim Helú is the kind of crony capitalist American school children are taught to hate. They’re called “robber barons.”
The Mexican businessman has amassed an immense personal fortune – roughly $50 billion – through his cunning use of monopolistic business practices south of the Rio Grande.
“Imagine if the grocery store, the cell phone provider, and biggest national construction outfit were all owned by the same company – you could buy just about anything and never have to enrich any competitors. That’s very nearly the situation in Mexico, where one of the world’s top-three richest people, Carlos Slim Helú, resides,” says the online financial encyclopedia Investopedia.
While the U.S. financial system was collapsing in 2009, the New York Times – America’s news and information leader – was going through a financial crisis of its own and was in need of a massive cash infusion – to the tune of $200 million.
Slim agreed to extend the funds at an interest rate of 14 percent – the same offered companies whose publicly-traded bonds are ranked “junk.” He also took possession of 15.9 million shares of Times stock, giving him a 17 percent ownership stake in the company, the largest of any single investor.
“Slim is the consummate monopolist,” said an unnamed Times reporter from the newspaper’s Mexico City bureau to The New Yorker magazine. “Does being embroiled in a business culture of back-scratching and unseen forces make him a great partner for the Times? I don’t think so.”
And the “unseen forces” associated with Slim were a topic of conversation among executives at Stratfor, a company that says it provides “globally engaged individuals, Fortune 500 companies, universities and organizations across an array of industries… objective geopolitical intelligence, analysis and forecasting that reveals the underlying significance and future implications of emerging world events.”
According to emails obtained by WikiLeaks, one Stratfor executive asked another, “Do we have any information about where Carlos Slim fits into the [drug] cartel dynamics that we’ve seen in Mexico? I assume he’s not squeaky clean, but is he officially allied with anyone, or unofficially tied? Should clients have any concerns about dealing with him professionally?”
Another noted, “Many people have assumed for a long time that he is somehow connected, but he has done a pretty good job of covering the tracks.”
Whether or not Slim is in bed with Mexico’s deadly narco-terror organizations currently beheading honest journalists, local elected government and law enforcement officials, and once purchased thousands of weapons from the Obama administration in Operation Fast and Furious, is really beside the point.
Slim has benefited immensely from the misery unleashed on his countrymen by the cartels. Since the Mexican government launched its shooting drug war in September of 2006, Slim has expanded his real estate empire in places like the cartel-ravaged Mexican resort city of Acapulco.
In the book “Drug War Capitalism,” author Dawn Paley writes, “While thousands of families suffered through devastating losses of friends and loved ones and were forced to live in an increasingly cruel contest of kidnappings, tortures, and massacres, Slim stayed focused on investing… Violence against the poor in Acapulco, one of the most unequal cities in Mexico, has provided investors like Slim a clean slate for kick-starting a new development plan.”
It is important to bear this in mind when considering the motivation behind The New York Times story appearing in Saturday’s edition under the following sensational headline: “Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades, The Times Found.”
The Times begins by saying that although “Mr. Trump’s taxable income in subsequent years is as yet unknown, a $916 million loss in 1995 would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years.”
This supposed Trump exposé eventually arrives at the following conclusion: “The tax experts consulted by The Times said nothing in the 1995 documents suggest any wrongdoing by Mr. Trump, even if the extraordinary size of the loss he declared would have probably attracted extra scrutiny from I.R.S. examiners.”
The only thing Times’ readers can be expected to take away from the article is that obedience to the law – by rich or poor – does not remove the target from the backs of taxpayers as far as harassing federal tax collectors are concerned.
That makes Trump one of us.
But more recently – 2014 to be exact – The New York Times benefitted immensely from a federal tax code that favors crony capitalists owed favors by those in power.
“The effective tax rate for 2014 was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations,” said The Times in an undecipherable bit of biz-speak appearing in its annual report to stockholders – such as the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú.
Forbes magazine’s Jeffrey Dorfman translated the gobbledygook thusly:
“The New York Times paid no taxes and got an income tax refund… even though they had a pre-tax profit of $29. 9 million in 2014… their post-tax profit was higher.”
Today, Mexico’s powerbrokers balk at Donald Trump’s suggestion they pay for a high-tech wall to better secure our border against their tortured narco state.
But a shady Mexican billionaire and his equally shady friends at The New York Times have long been building high profits, literally, at the expense of the long-suffering American taxpayer.