« What Is It with GOPers and Their Email? | Main | The FISA Amendment Will Legalize Data Mining, Part One »

November 12, 2007


$6,000 over three years? I am no fan of your local clucks the DeVos family; but in the scheme of all things, that is kind of a small amount to get too worked up over.

That would depend upon one's circumstances. To many people, that same $6000 would comprise a major portion of their annual income. While your point is readily apparent, it just seems offensive to me.

Well, I am sorry about that. Quite frankly, I am more offended by about a million other things going on out there that I personally find more outrageous that this, and that was my point. Sorry if I offended you or anyone else; that was certainly not my intent. I did not mean to be insensitive, but I call em as I see em....

I'm with bmaz. While the 6 grand is pretty small potatoes, I'm guessing the DeVos family accountants and tax lawyers have milked the Federal cow for a whole lot more.

Emptywheel, do you know if Dick DeVos ever made his Federal Income tax forms publicly available during his run for Michigan Governor? If so, it might be worth decontructing.

Its not "just "$6,000" over three years. They are married and they each get that amount, its $12,000 over three years, and its most likely tax free.

If they went out and actually worked for the money, they would pay taxes on it, at about 33%, or $4,000.

So 12 + 4= 16, or $16,000 over three years. The average family income in this country is $46,000 before taxes.

So that average family is paying about $15,000 in taxes working that go right into Betsy and Dick's welfare pockets.

in other words, yes, it is a big potatoes to most americans, and yes it is repeated. Is it worth pointing out- you betcha.

I raised this, especially, because they are at the same time trying to take at least $2 billion out of federal coffers by excusing teh DeVos boys from paying their Paris Hilton income tax. I'm sure they're getting a whole lot of other welfare. But that they're getting ANY, and refusing to pay their taxes, is particularly galling.

Besides, I'm sure it would gall DeVos (and more importantly, Betsy) to be called welfare queens. Betsy is a BIG booster for lowering MI laborer's jobs, and she's normally a big fan of Ronnie's rhetoric on welfare and unions.

Money = Power = Position = Good = Pleasure = Heaven

In the DeVoss System, Money is used to buy the rest - it's the answer to every problem in Life.

Receiving a US Government subsidy check just provides an ironic, but confirmingly cynical laugh along the way.

Now THAT incenses me.

My point was clumsily made. Bmaz, your point wasn't offensive in the least-Devos milking of the system is. Granted there are many matters of much greater import to be concerned about at this time in history.

Having just been somewhat involved in one of the gravytrain estate tax returns I found it interesting that, typical of a Bushfriendly policy, we found that Bush's policies had dictated that the crew of the IRS that is tasked with reviewing these larger/st estates has been culled down to bare bones. There's just a few guys hanging on for review purposes and no matter how hard they try, there's precious few of them available to process. Just seemed they were perilously close to lacking clout to enforce the process.

6000 bucks = one year's child care for one child for a single working parent here in Michigan (and that may/may not include food).

6000 bucks = A 6 or 7-year-old car for a person who cannot afford a new car to get to a job from a rural area where there is no busing (does not include insurance or gas)

6000 bucks = a year's worth of food for a family of four at 100/week, plus a little extra for paper goods

Yeah, I can see how that could be chickenfeed, even if doubled to account for Besty's cut.

You know what really frosts my chaps? I'll bet that since the property in question is undeveloped, the property taxes are likely less than 12 grand a year. They own a chunk of Michigan property for which state property taxes are paid by federal monies.


I spend more than $100.00 a week to feed me and my hubby.

It's amazing, the venal greed of the wealthy.

from the article:
The DeVoses are joined on the farm subsidy list by other big names, including David Rockefeller, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and talk-show host David Letterman.

That's an interesting list of farmers.

I don't agree with the wealth getting farm subsidies, but there is this argument to be made:
Dick and Betsy DeVos' agricultural ground is 722 acres east of the Grand River in Ada Township, near Pettis and Egypt Valley avenues NE and south of Two Mile Road.


From 2001 to 2005, Ada Holdings raked in $30,413 in farm subsidies for corn, wheat and soybeans, according to USDA records released to the Environmental Working Group.

Dick and Betsy DeVos' share was $6,530 each.

But spokesman John Truscott said the DeVoses were not aware they were getting subsidies.

They bought the land to protect it from housing development and leased it to Ben Thomet, who operates a neighboring horse ranch.

"It's mainly a farm now," Truscott said. "They are committed to keeping this in agricultural use at least for the foreseeable future."

It does go against his anti-welfare stance, but that area is undergoing development and it is nice to see some of it being reserved. However, he could do that without his accountant asking for the subsidy. It reminds me of all the people that advocate tax increases and then take every last deduction when they file their own taxes.

MayBee -- He could have turned that land over to a conservancy, might even have taken a tax deduction for a charitable contribution for doing so if the land conservancy was a 501c3.

Keeping the land in his own control is the real issue here, not preservation.

I'll also object to the example used in re: tax deductions taken by a tax advocate. It's the other way around: DeVos is one of a group of uber-wealthy people, including Howard Rich, who bad mouth and denigrate taxes, spend tons of money every year on anti-tax initiatives while complaining loudly about how badly what taxes they pay are used by government. But in turn, they milk other taxpayers and use the money for their own personal benefit and against the average middle-class American who can't afford to buy a chunk of property that'll pay for itself.

There's a word for this. No, two words for this: fascist leech.

I know I keep harping on this. But I have to agree with Rayne on this--we are living in a fascist state, in which the line between corporations (i.e. rich people) and government is blurred to insignificance by the machinations of the present administration. And we would be best to heed the warnings of Naomi Wolff, because inevitably totalitarianism goes along with fascism, to keep those who'd rock the boat from becoming too popular with the (increasingly) poor and disenfranchised.
Wish us luck.

Rayne- last year, Dick and Betsy DeVos contributed another $12.5 million dollars toward the children's hospital at Spectrum Health, which as I'm sure you know is a non-profit (and excellent) health care center. So they took their $12,000 and returned it 100 times. They do a fair share of charitable giving and yes, I'm sure, charitable deductions from their taxes.

Though I am no fan of Amway as a business nor of the politics of DeVos, Grand Rapids has benefited greatly from having gobzillionaires like the DeVoses, VanAndles, Cooks, and Meijers that have chosen to reinvest in the community.

There is nothing wrong with them owning land and leasing it out to farmers. It is ridiculous, however, that the likes of Dick DeVos, Peter Allen, and David Letterman would receive farm subsidies.

MayBee -- the DeVos family also uses the clout they bought through their donations to Spectrum Health to force their agenda about stem cell research on the rest of the state. They also do not like to donate to areas outside of their own backyard where they can enjoy the view.

Great for Grand Rapids, and lucky you -- as long as you do not mind being owned by dominionists. They really do jack for the rest of the state.


As to the philanthropy in the larger context, is that really how you want our nation's resources to be distributed?

Let the cake-eaters get richer and allow them to decide which of us are deserving of their "philanthropy"?

I am just tired of hearing that argument for the uber-rich: It's ok that they use a rigged system to take far more than their share of what all of us should have a fair shot at, because they give a little bit of it away to institutions controlled by their cronies-which is then used to further their ideology and original goal of rigging the system. For which they certainly receive yet more tax benefits.

Nothing personal, Maybee, you hit a sore spot for me.


Another way to think about that is to compare it with the greebelt initiative in Washtenaw County. The County spends some money to help buy out the development rights for farmers. But when the farm passes out of use as a farm, it reverts to public land. DeVos, using equal kinds of subsidies from the taxpayers, is preserving land but keeping the development rights for that land himself.

See, it's not subsidized greenbelts that he's opposed to--both greenspace is subsidized by taxpayers. It's just that DeVos thinks he should be able to profit off the taxpayer investment.

Yup, the greenbelt initiative is another alternative method for greenspace preservation, based on a public effort versus a private non-profit effort. And DeVos could have advocated either of those, or even established his own conservancy -- but that would have required forfeiting complete control and taxpayers' subsidies.

Odd how the following were missed:

Marion Berry,D-Ark (no, not that Marion Barry), got almost $2.5 million.
Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark: Records show Lincoln and her family members collected $715,000 from 1995-2005, the most recent year complete data are available.
Chuck Grassley,R-IAcollected about $225,000 for his corn and soybean farm from 1995-2005. His son took in about $654,000, records show.
Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, whose family farm received $126,555 from 1995-2005.
Jon Tester, D-Mont, $232,311
Max Baucus, D-Mont, $230,237
Stephanie Sandlin, D-SD, $789,575
John Salazar, D-CO, $161,085
Gordon Smith, R-OR, $45,400
Dennis Hastert, R-IL, $25,000

Seems like the Dmeocrats like their pork, too.

a95b50 -- want to clarify the 'farm' part? which of the folks you listed don't actually farm or have family on their farm?

DeVos is not a farmer; DeVos also bad-mouths taxes and entitlement programs, which means he's quite the hypocrite. That was the point of the diary.

Herald forever!

It is the best what i saw, 4ever !!!

Thank you for this amazing information from your site.

The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad