News & Politics

Protesters Demand Tax Relief for Billionaires


Members of the Southampton Alliance for Monied Estates (SHAME) and Billionaires for Bush protest in front of the house of buyout king Henry Kravis on Wednesday. The canvassers demanded that billionaires like Kravis get even more tax breaks.

An interesting piece of street theater came to the East End on Wednesday as members of the Southampton Alliance for Monied Estates (SHAME) and Billionaires for Bush took to the streets to demand more tax breaks for the likes of Henry R. Kravis, who founded Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, a firm that practically invented the leveraged buyout.

“Hardworking buyout billionaires like Henry Kravis need our continued help to expand their fortunes and buy bigger and better mansions,” said Southampton activist Rob N. Steel in a press release. “The market is slumping, and we have to act now if we are going to protect those like Kravis who pioneered the revolutionary concept of buying companies, and making billions by laying off workers and cutting pension and health benefits. Even the magnificent, giant tax loopholes that buyout firms have been enjoying could be at risk! We have to save the billionaires from paying as much tax as everybody else!”

The Southhampton protest was part of larger campaign by the Service Employees International Union to draw more attention to the shadowy world of leveraged buyouts.

According to the SEIU press release:

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) along with other leveraged buyout giants such as the Carlyle Group, have made billions of dollars by buying big companies, squeezing out profits (often accomplished with layoffs and cuts in pension and health benefits), and by taking advantage of tax loopholes that allowed them to pay less than half the tax rate of their chauffeurs.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 30, 2007

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