Who isn’t paying taxes?
So, April 15 has come and gone. You’ve paid your taxes. Some of you got returns, some of you paid some additional moneys into the public coffers.
My guess is that most everyone reading this column paid some taxes in one form or the other.
Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, no matter what your race, color or creed, everyone has to deal with the taxman. Some see paying taxes as necessary for the public good, other see it as the government robbing them of their hard earned money.
For some paying taxes is simply evil, for others it is a practical necessity.
My guess is that very, very few people enjoy paying taxes, but we all do.
Or do we?
It was widely publicized recently that General Electric, after having a fiscal year in which the company racked up incredible profits, paid no taxes for 2010. In fact, they were given a HUGE tax return.
Still, as bad as that may sound most of you don’t know the half of it.
The fact is, General Electric hasn’t paid one penny in taxes since 2006, but in that same period of time the company generated $26 billion in profit.
GE has, however, collected $4.1 billion in tax returns or tax credits.
It’s not all that strange though, the watchdog organization Public Campaign reports that a dozen huge corporations in the U.S. have banked tremendous profits this year, while not paying one red cent in taxes.
In a report entitled “Artful Dodgers” the group notes that loopholes and tax havens created by federal legislation promoted by BOTH parties has allowed the biggest of the big to get away with paying zero taxes, while you, Dear Reader, get shafted for as many bucks as they can squeeze out of you.
PC notes that in information provided by the Government Accountability Office (GOA) 83 of the 100 biggest U.S. corporations have used various congressionally supplied tricks and loopholes to substantially “... reduce their U.S. tax liability.
“Ironically, these accounting tricks aren’t available for companies that only do business in the United States, so Congress in effect is providing tax incentives to ship jobs overseas and dismantle the middle class.”
So who, for example, isn’t paying taxes? Verizon isn’t.
After paying out $12 million in political campaign donations, (to both parties), and after spending over $130 million on lobbyists fighting against taxation and regulation, the company paid, (drum roll please, Maestro), zero in federal taxes.
And then we have the oil companies who are making your life so miserable — folks like Chevron, ConocoPhilips, and ExxonMobile — they paid next to nothing, or nothing at all.
And there are lots of others — Boeing, FedEx, and many, many more.
Fact is, Jim and Dina Crees paid more in taxes in 2010 than did General Electric, Carnival Cruise Lines, and a couple automakers.
What really gets me fired up are the guys like Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Citi who after bringing this nation to the brink of ruin got bailed out by the American taxpayer, and then haven’t paid a dime in taxes.
For example, after a year in which it logged almost $4.4 billion in profit, Bank of America was sent a $1.9 billion, (yes, billion) tax refund.
Yessir. And when questions are raised, these guys in Washington and on Wall Street lift their eyebrows, shrug in surprise, and ask “What? What’s the problem?”
Look. Here’s the deal.
We are talking about people and corporate entities that make money in numbers normal folks can’t even conceptualize.
That may be why too many people just don’t get too upset.
Folks I know are devastated when they have to pay $300 or $400 in additional taxes at the end of the year. Folks I know get absolutely giggly when they get a federal tax refund in the hundreds of dollars.
These companies and the people at the top of the ladder make billions and pay nothing.
In a report recently released on AlterNet it was noted that the dude at the top of the U.S. earnings list, John Paulson, a hedge fund manager, made $4.9 billion dollars last year.
It would take the average American family 47 years to earn what this guy makes in one hour.
There are 25 top business men in the U.S. who collectively made over $22 billion in personal earnings, and “officially” paid only 15 percent in federal taxes.
If these guys were simply taxed more fairly it would raise almost $4.5 billion in tax revenue — from only these few fellas.
But God forbid we raise taxes on anyone.
And yet ... I still pay mine. You still pay yours.
Why aren’t these corporations and corporate robber barons paying at all ...or at least paying their fair share?