Where are the Pitchforks & Torches?
In a stroke of financial kismet… I found this post and it relates exactly to what I wrote about yesterday… beware it will MAKE YOU ANGRY!
In an interview with In These Times, Carl Gibson, the founder of US UNcut, explains that while ordinary Americans are being asked to sacrifice, major corporations continue to use the rigged tax code to avoid paying any federal taxes at all. As he says, if you have “one dollar” in your wallet, you’re paying more than the “combined income tax liability of GE, ExxonMobil, Citibank, and The Bank of America.
[Gibson] explains, “I have one dollar in my wallet. That’s more than the combined income tax liability of GE, ExxonMobil, Citibank, and the Bank of America. That means somebody is gaming the system.”
Indeed, as politicians are asking ordinary Americans to sacrifice their education, their health, their labor rights, and their wellbeing to tackle budget deficits, some of the world’s richest multinational corporations are getting away with shirking their responsibility and paying nothing. ThinkProgress has assembled a short but far from comprehensive list of these tax dodgers — corporations which have rigged the tax system to their advantage so they can reap huge profits and avoid paying taxes:
– BANK OF AMERICA: In 2009, Bank of America didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes, exploiting the tax code so as to avoid paying its fair share. “Oh, yeah, this happens all the time,” said Robert Willens, a tax accounting expert interviewed by McClatchy. “If you go out and try to make money and you don’t do it, why should the government pay you for your losses?” asked Bob McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice. The same year, the mega-bank’s top executives received pay “ranging from $6 million to nearly $30 million.”
– BOEING: Despite receiving billions of dollars from the federal government every single year in taxpayer subsidies from the U.S. government, Boeing didn’t “pay a dime of U.S. federal corporate income taxes” between 2008 and 2010.
– CITIGROUP: Citigroup’s deferred income taxes for the third quarter of 2010 amounted to a grand total of $0.00. At the same time, Citigroup has continued to pay its staff lavishly. “John Havens, the head of Citigroup’s investment bank, is expected to be the bank’s highest paid executive for the second year in a row, with a compensation package worth $9.5 million.”
– EXXON-MOBIL: The oil giant uses offshore subsidiaries in the Caribbean to avoid paying taxes in the United States. Although Exxon-Mobil paid $15 billion in taxes in 2009, not a penny of those taxes went to the American Treasury. This was the same year that the company overtook Wal-Mart in the Fortune 500. Meanwhile the total compensation of Exxon-Mobil’s CEO the same year was OVER $29,000,000.
– GENERAL ELECTRIC: In 2009, General Electric — the world’s largest corporation — filed more than 7,000 tax returns and still paid nothing to U.S. government. They managed to do this by a tax code that essentially subsidizes companies for losing profits and allows them to set up tax havens overseas. That same year GE CEO Jeffery Immelt — who recently scored a spot on a White House economic advisory board — “earned total compensation of almost $10,000,000.” In 2002, Immelt displayed his lack of economic patriotism, saying, “When I am talking to GE managers, I talk China, China, China, China… I am a nut on China. Outsourcing from China is going to grow to 5 billion.”
– WELLS FARGO: Despite being the fourth largest bank in the country, Wells Fargo was able to escape paying federal taxes by writing all of its losses off after its acquisition of Wachovia. Yet in 2009 the chief executive of Wells Fargo also saw his compensation “more than double” as he earned “a salary of $5.6 million paid in CASH and stock and stock awards of more than $13 million.”
It is simply unfair for Main Street Americans who’ve already been battered by one of the worst economic crises in our history to have to continue to sacrifice while the rich and well-connected continue to rip off taxpayers and avoid paying their fair share.
I told you it would make you mad, and if it didn’t it should, yes the article was on the states but you better believe it’s happening here as well… I don’t understand why there aren’t people out in the streets with pitchforks and torches… hunting these people down…. why do we all sit back shake our heads and then move on?
Have a Great Day.
Although I don’t have a pitchfork or a torch, I am actively looking for a US UNCUT group to join. I hope this movement grows and swells beyond all containment, beyond the ability of the mainstream media to ignore it. I have written about this passionately on my own blog, and I’m glad to see the idea getting around.
Helen… you are so right. I read your post, wasn’t aware of the UK connection.I’m still baffled why people shrug it all off as simply the way things are, and will always be….
Eventually they’ll go too far and we’ll have some pseudo-french revolution type uprising – as people can no longer take the boots planted firm on their necks…