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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Reading companies’ annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsoft’s filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship yet avoid paying U.S. taxes.

According to the SEC documents, the company is sitting on almost $29.6 billion it would owe in U.S. taxes if it repatriated the $92.9 billion of earnings it is keeping offshore. That amount of money represents a significant spike from prior years.

To put this in perspective, the levies the company would owe amount to almost the entire two-year operating budget of the company’s home state of Washington.

The disclosure in Microsoft’s SEC filing lands amid an intensifying debate over the fairness of U.S.-based multinational corporations using offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying American taxes. Such maneuvers — although often legal — threaten to significantly reduce U.S. corporate tax receipts during an era marked by government budget deficits.

Microsoft has not formally declared itself a subsidiary of a foreign company, so the firm has not technically engaged in the so-called “inversion” scheme that President Obama and Democrats have lately been criticizing. However, according to a 2012 U.S. Senate investigation, the company has in recent years used its offshore subsidiaries to substantially reduce its tax bills.

That probe uncovered details of how those subsidiaries are used. In its report, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations noted that “despite the [company’s] research largely occurring in the United States and generating U.S. tax credits, profit rights to the intellectual property are largely located in foreign tax havens.” The report discovered that through those tax havens, “Microsoft was able to shift offshore nearly $21 billion (in a three-year period), or almost half of its U.S. retail sales net revenue, saving up to $4.5 billion in taxes on goods sold in the United States, or just over $4 million in U.S. taxes each day.”

Microsoft, of course, is not alone. According to a report by Citizens for Tax Justice, “American Fortune 500 corporations are likely saving about $550 billion by holding nearly $2 trillion of ‘permanently reinvested’ profits offshore.” The report also found that “28 corporations reveal that they have paid an income tax rate of 10 percent or less to the governments of the countries where these profits are officially held, indicating that most of these profits are likely in offshore tax havens.”

In the political debate over taxes, conservatives often cite inversions and other games with offshore subsidiaries as proof that the U.S. corporate tax rate is too high in comparison to other industrialized countries. Yet, when all the existing tax deductions, writeoffs and credits are factored in, America’s effective corporate tax rate is actually one of the industrialized world’s lowest.

With the U.S. tax code now permitting companies to use brazen tax avoidance schemes in true tax havens, the real question is more fundamental than what the proper corporate tax rate should be. Instead, the question is now whether corporations should have to pay any taxes on their profits at all?

The answer should be obvious. Companies enjoy huge benefits from operating in the United States — benefits like (among other things) intellectual property protection, government provided security (police, firefighting, etc.) and publicly financed infrastructure. Those services and assets cost money.

If the tax tricks employed by companies like Microsoft become the rationale to eliminate corporate taxes entirely, then America would allow companies to be exempt from paying their fair share of those costs. That would be a truly endless and unacceptable bailout — one given to executives and shareholders and paid for by the rest of us.

David Sirota is a senior writer at the International Business Times and the bestselling author of the books Hostile Takeover, The Uprising and Back to Our Future. Email him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at

AFP Photo/Markku Ruottinen

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  • Dominick Vila

    If U.S. laws on taxation were as strict on corporations as it is on individuals, particularly the middle class, our deficits would evaporate overnight. Investing overseas, and benefiting from tax exemptions at home and abroad has been one of the most profitable corporate schemes for decades, and something that should be changed ASAP.
    In the pursuit of huge profits and new markets, U.S. corporations are exempt from paying taxes to the IRS on overseas investments, and they often don’t have to pay taxes to the foreign governments where they invested by claiming U.S. ownership. In other words, they benefit by playing both sides of the fence.
    The worst part of this issue is that some among us insist on giving tax breaks to the same companies that are ripping our Treasury off by giving tax breaks when they invest at home to encourage them to keep some of their operations in the USA. Considering the fact that in addition to huge investments abroad, most of our corporations are owned by both domestic and foreign investors and are, in fact, multinationals, why do we give them tax breaks? Why don’t we tax them the way we tax foreign companies operating in the USA, and the same way we tax the average Joe?

    • ericlipps

      At the very least, such companies should have to pay taxes to their supposed “host” countries. But since they buy politicians there as well as here with the money they’re not paying in taxes now, don’t hold your breath waiting for that.

      Alternatively, if a company claims to be foreign, its products and services–even if they physically originate in the U.S.–should be subject to high tariffs. Back in conservatives’ good old days, before the federal income tax and corporate taxes, tariffs were largely how the U.S. government financed itself while protecting still-developing American industries from competition from mature foreign rivals. But don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose on that happening, either.

      • Dominick Vila

        The economic policies that transformed what was originally an agricultural nation into the economic power house we became a century ago, went out the window during the Reagan revolution, when government, and what it represents, went out the window and was replaced by an institution that caters only to the wealthiest members of our society and their interests, under the false pretense that some crumbs may trickle down to the rest of us.

        • moderationpreferred

          A yes good old trickledown economics, only the
          fact is that the pyramid is flipped on its top and everything is
          trickling down from the wide and what should be stable base to the pointy and
          very unstable point on top. Eventually the whole thing will collapse and 2008
          will be remembered as a picnic in comparison. The US economy needs a stable
          middle class and that is going the way of the dodo.

      • ps0rjl

        I agree and if they do an inversion, then they should be treated as a foreign company. Also since all government contracts are paid for by US taxpayers, they should not be allowed to participate in any government contracts. No pay, no play!

        • ericlipps

          Right. Let’s see how some of these companies like it when suddenly the fat cost-plus contracts they’re used to dry up.

          Not going to happen, of course, but one can dream.

          • joe schmo

            Ahhh, but in some instances it is. Both Canada and New Zealand are having trouble keeping up with the heavy subsidy burden of keeping the film industry afloat. Specifically, if the returns don’t out weigh the money payed out. Their economies are suffering with the rest of us.

            One thing is for certain. Companies always seem to find a loop hole, and, even if the laws would change to include overseas holdings, Corps would still find a way to swindle their way out of paying taxes. They have the money, smarts and lawyers to do their dirty work for them.

        • Allan Richardson

          Back in the 1980s, a French company named Schlumberger bought some US defense contractors, and for SECURITY reasons, not to make them pay more taxes, they had to set up a US subsidiary to do the defense work. No information from US operations flowed to the parent company except financial results.

      • Allan Richardson

        In most cases, companies using tax inversion purely for tax purposes, choose a host country that ALREADY has a low or zero tax rate because it has a low-overhead government or a non-tax high revenue attraction (e.g. Monaco, financed by the casino and partially by sales of stamps to collectors; Liberia, with a third world budget financed by registration and “inspection” fees from merchant ships, etc.).

        Good point about tariffs being one of two mainstays of the federal budget before income tax. The other was the tax on liquor. There’s a REASON why Prohibition happened when it did: government no longer needed to tax booze after the income tax was passed, and office holders could see women’s suffrage coming along soon after, and feared the WCTU.

        16th, income tax, 1913
        17th, popular vote for Senate, 1913
        18th, Prohibition, 1919
        19th, women voting, 1920 (intro 1919 soon after 18th)

        20th, January inaugurations, 1933
        21st, repeal of Prohibition, 1933

        • ericlipps

          Good point that companies choose to “invert” to foreign countries which already have low tax rates–but I’m sure that once established there, they will press for even lower taxes, or, if taxes are already zero, for other sorts of privileges.

          I appreciate the list of constitutional amendments, but I already have a complete text of the Constitution including all amendments to date.

          Prohibition happened amidst one of this country’s recurrent moral and political panics, concurrently with a huge Red scare in the wake of Russia’s Bolshevik revolution (and the failed left-wing revolution in Germany after the war) and a decade after marijuana was declared illegal. Tobacco, of course, remained untouchable–too many Southern states depended on it for their economic livelihood.

    • Blueberry Hill

      Absolutely, they should pay taxes. They used our labor force and our infrastructure to get wealthy, now they should pay their taxes just like the rest of us do. They got wealthy off the backs of the workers, now want to abandon us to avoid paying their share? Boycott any company that does that to us. We can spend our money where they do pay their taxes. Who needs these freeloaders?


      • charleo1

        Excellent idea. Their names should be made public.
        Walgreens Drug is one the latest to, “invert.” Even today,
        the U.S. is the largest, most profitable consumer market in
        the world. And they treat us as if we were third world beggars. Our Country, good enough to serve as a toxic waste dump for their global ambitions. Our governments, and liberty, to be sold to the highest bidder. Their corruptive lucre, protected like a sacred Right. Can the glorious freedom, gained by the ignominious circumstances of having nothing more to lose, be far behind?

        • Blueberry Hill
          • Allan Richardson

            The author’s first point would seem to be in favor of abortion on demand. After all, if this other person in the woman’s uterus is feeding off her, she would have the right, under libertarian philosophy, to refrain from feeding that person, EVEN IF THAT IMPLIES MURDER by abortion. The generally accepted view, of course, outside of RTL religious circles, is that the fetus BECOMES a separate person, legally, when it has a body and brain capable of living separately (except, of course, for feeding and other parental care), and thus very early abortions should not be regulated, midterm abortions should be for serious medical reasons, and late abortions should be ONLY to save the woman’s life. But this libertarian view, expressed in the link above, would allow NINTH month abortion simply because she changed her mind, and even infanticide. Not to mention Biblical discipline of one’s children extending to capital punishment.

            As for the duty of one spouse to support the other who chooses to care for the home and children, are they implying DIVORCE on demand, no legal papers required?

          • Blueberry Hill

            They have some really screwed up ideas, and this is only a partial list. I know I wouldn’t want them running the country I live in. I’m a right to choose person, and under present law it would have to happen before 3 months. Cannot fathom anyone even wanting to consider abortion after 3 months, unless, of course, something drastic happened that makes it medically necessary. Now Divorce, that is a curious thing isn’t it? Anyway, they are just too anti the rest of us for my blood.


        • 788eddie

          Good idea Charlieo, but according to MSNBC, many companies benefiting from tax inversion are companies we usually don’t hear much of; companies that make medical equipment, or parts for other industries. Publicizing these probably would not have much of an effect on their decisions.

          • charleo1

            True. So Congress should pass a law. No they really
            should. The truth be told, it’s their world right now, and they allow us to live in it.

          • Independent1

            Charle, I’m not a tax expert on how foreign-owned multi-nationals that do business in America are taxed, but it seems to me that they should have to pay income taxes to our government for the portion of their annual income that is the result of sales in America. These companies should get a credit within their own foreign jurisdictions for whatever income taxes they pay here. It would seem to me that if we required that level of taxation, that it really shouldn’t matter whether they remained an American company or not. America should get the taxes it deserves for the revenue that it’s generating for each of these foreign-owned corporations.

            Interestingly, I came across an article from the NY Times that’s dated back in 1992; which couldn’t have sounded the greatest even back then; my guess is that the situation probably isn’t any better today. What’s your guess?

            Study on Foreign Companies’ U.S. Taxes

            Published: April 10, 1992

            Foreign-owned businesses operating in the United States may be illegally dodging up to $30 billion in income tax, and many pay no tax at all on billions of dollars of sales, a House Ways and Means subcommittee was told today.

            The Internal Revenue Service acknowledged that there is a compliance problem among many foreign companies, but Commissioner Shirley D. Peterson said there was not nearly enough information available to estimate the loss. She suggested the maximum loss would be about $3 billion a year.

            Seventeen foreign companies that distribute cars in this country paid the United States an average $4 in tax for each $1,000 of sales over several years, according to an investigation by the staff of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. One company sold $3.4 billion worth of cars over two years and paid zero tax. Untaxed Electronics Concerns

            The panel checked a sample of tax returns filed by foreign-based electronics companies and found that 40 percent paid no United States income tax.

          • charleo1

            The U.S. for years has been the corporate chump
            of the World. It goes directly to our now Supreme Court enshrined, pay to play system of gov. Where the slightest wish of corporate, becomes the next command of our fund raising politicians. A bevy of lawyers now write the tax laws, that are then handed to our beloved leaders in gov. Not as a wish list, but as marching orders. And things like the good of the Country, or the Will of the people, that have no lobbies anywhere, are mostly relegated to the short end of the pecking order. And talked about a lot, in election cycles. The reality is, that we have been living on our past prosperity. On the afterglow of past economic glories. Where people were paid a living wage, that bought homes, educated our kids, and the government didn’t need to be ask to please do something about the healthcare that employers no longer provide, and the hospital bills that will wipe us out, if one of us gets sick. And it has not yet dawned on many people. That, unless we make getting the corruptive influence of billionaires, and corporate CEOs, out of the political process a top priority, nothing is going to change for the better. I said, Congress should fix it. And know full well, there’s not a chance in Hell, of that ever happening. When we have people in control of the government, who’s only thought, and only sense of responsibility, is to increase next quarter’s profits, and dividend checks to stockholders. And then, go about using the same efforts to make sure no taxes are ever levied on any of it. We the people, and U.S. the Country, will continue to decline. And decline in very real, and very fundamental ways for the vast majority of us. And, as long as they are able to convince enough people, it’s the other guy’s doing, so vote for us. With billions going into that whole process, things will never change for the better.

          • dpaano

            Fortunately, the company that I work for, a German-owned company, doesn’t do this…..they pay their fair American taxes. I’ve looked at their years report….it’s phenomenal that they do this. One of the few, I guess, that appreciates the monies they make in America.

          • Independent1

            Being a European company, or maybe being privately owned, the management of the company you work for apparently wasn’t bain-washed by Reagan to believe that it was their charge to work in every way they can to ensure that they provide the shareholders (which may be themselves) with as high a return on equity as is possible.

            I think most American companies paid their fair share of taxes until Reagan constantly harped (for 8 years) on the notions that the government was inherently evil and therefore should be starved (pay as little taxes as possible); that unions were destroying businesses (therefore it’s more important to cater to shareholders than the people who work for you) and that the wealthy are benevolent keepers of the poor and you should therefore feed the wealthy as much money as possible so they can trickle it down to the poor peons.

          • dpaano

            Definitely, and the company made a profit….which is what our yearly bonus is based on. We have no unions, and everyone that works here seems happy. What a concept, huh?

          • Independent1

            Glad to hear there are still some good companies out there!!

          • dpaano

            And we are paying for their world!!!

          • dpaano

            I work for a medical equipment company; however, our company is totally family owned by a family in Germany, but they have built MANY plants here in the U.S. as well as other countries, and they pay their rightful U.S. taxes for these companies. The best part is that this is one of the few companies that still has an employer-paid pension, matches your 401K plan, and gives raises and bonuses each year! It’s amazing what a corporation from another country can do in the U.S. but the U.S. companies can’t do the same while opertating in other countries!!

        • dpaano

          I believe Walgreen’s decided against the inversion after all the bad publicity. Maybe we need MORE bad publicity for some of these companies!!! Maybe we can “shame” them into doing the right thing (LOL)!

          • charleo1

            That would be good news in a number of ways.
            First, it would indicate people are paying attention.
            And the preference of Americans is to do business
            with businesses that create jobs for our fellow citizens, and contribute to the overall prosperity
            of the Country, is very strong. As for myself, speaking in purely general terms. As money that stays in our economy=jobs=prosperity=security. And those corporations that outsource jobs, chasing cheap labor, hold their profits offshore, or, change their P.O. Boxes, to avoid taxes. While benefiting from our infrastructure, our educational, and court systems, are deadbeats, and freeloaders. And should be shown the door. If Walmart were gone tomorrow, and the free markets were actually given the opportunity to be truly free. Thousands of businesses, large, and small, would replace them in a year. And, I think the Country, and every working person in it, would be better off.

      • DurdyDawg

        What people don’t realize is that a b’ness invests in their company once then with a successful year (which they wouldn’t continue if that weren’t true) they make their investment back (first 100%), have the same amount to re-invest (second 100%) AND have the same amount as profit (third 100%).. Now (usually after the first year) they are investing and profiting with YOUR money. Mean while they do not contribute to the people and the nation that offered them this wind fall. They’re vultures who fleece then hide their slyness by attributing it to ‘only b’ness’.. Nothing personal my big butt..!!

        • Blueberry Hill

          Absolutely! We get fleeced over and over by these businesses, who are making such huge profits that they don’t want to have to pay their share of these taxes which they think are too high. Well, if the TAXES are THAT high, then they are making humongous profits and can certainly afford to pay taxes and should be ashamed of fleecing the rest of us. But then, they have no conscience or the brains to figure out that they did not get so wealthy by themselves. The workers and the rest of the citizens helped them to become wealthy, including this country herself. Using our infrastructure, etc. If they now want to move their businesses to other countries, their citizenships should be cancelled and let them move along with the businesses. We can begin new businesses and create the products they made and employ people who are in need of jobs. Otherwise, they should not be allowed to even sell any of their goods in this country without paying 100% taxes on the goods to make up for what they are using up and not paying for. Meanwhile, we should boycott any company who takes their business out of this country. We can make better use of our money with people who have some honor and patriotism about them.


    • DurdyDawg

      I can’t visualize that corporations alone could balance the budget by paying taxes BUT couple that by taking away the tax breaks that they are paid NOT to pay, the countries that we support who literally hate our guts and all religious entitlements and THAT would be the key to a balanced Nation. We’ve given religion a pass for so long that they now feel it’s every citizens obligation to continue the trend of milking us as well as forking over our tithes of 10%+ .. They no longer own the world, they should join the human race and contribute to it’s prosperity. Cut back on international welfare to the point where we supply ONLY emergency food and medical supplies.. NO CASH VALUE! And for those nations with one hand holding out for money while the other is holding a bullet for the godless American.. I say, they’re on their own. We should also close down unnecessary military bases that we pay an outrageous rent for then charge countries who want our help to pay US for this privilege instead of us paying them.. The age of easy money for all these ‘moochers’ while their citizens suffer should come to an abrupt halt.. We don’t need to play ‘Big Brother’.. let non-profit charities who we contribute to do their duty with our generosity instead. We get rid/reduce all these things and in no time we will be back in the black. Oh sure, the neo’s will still hate Obama or any Dem who takes his place but they’ll have to conjure up some other obscure lie to convince even his distractors once these laws that everybody should embrace are put into effect.

      • Dominick Vila

        Raising corporate tax rates and forcing U.S. companies that invest abroad pay U.S. taxes on the huge profits they make abroad would not balance the Federal government, but coupled with the elimination of subsidies to companies that are doing extremely well without out help, it would help us to further reduce the deficits.
        I agree on foreign aid. Even though the amount is relatively small compared to the size of our budgets and the benefits derived from the BRIBES we pay, I would definitely limit foreign aid to that intended to fight famine, the spread of contagious diseases, and other humanitarian causes. There is something very wrong when we give Egypt almost $1B a year in exchange for them helping protect the security of Israel, and giving Pakistan another $1B when we know that they harbored OBL and have given safe haven to thousands of Jihadists.
        Merging some government agencies would also save money, and it is likely to improve their efficiency. There is no real reason for the CIA and FBI, or NASA and NOAA to be autonomous agencies.
        Tax exemptions to religious and political institutions should come to a screeching halt immediately.
        Along the same lines, all tax loopholes should be re-evaluated, and Americans that cheat Uncle Sam by depositing part of their fortunes in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Panama, or Switzerland should be put in jail for tax evasion.

    • joe schmo

      Dominick, this makes total sense especially since I know the VFX industry has been taking advantage of foreign subsidies for years. I am not a big fan of Unions, however; working in the film industry is like working in a sweatshop. Many thankless hours and over time. Sony and many others threaten to move more of their work out of the country should their contractors not finish the job in time, and they do it in a very nasty manner. My only concern is the fact that many companies from the U.S. already pay the highest taxes and have the most stringent regulations of any in the modern world. So there has to be some concession….

      • Dominick Vila

        An example of the different approaches taken by other industrialized nations to benefit from organized labor involves a recent spat between a German car maker and the government of South Carolina, when the car maker insisted on “Labor Councils” and the state opposed such as “outrageous” concept. The German car maker make it clear that if labor councils are not allowed they will, as a minimum, build additional assembly plants in other states or outside the USA.
        Why can corporations with unionized shops in other countries profit, and ours see organized labor as an evil concept that must be eliminated? The answers to that question are, in part, greed and class warfare.

  • isis

    Great. So WE support them, but they do NOT support us. Pay your fair share or leave.

    • charleo1

      I agree. But isis? Really? Sincerely, Idi Amin.

      • isis

        I know, but I have had this nickname forever. They just suck. I have to change it though.

        • charleo1

          Understood. It’s not fair. The NSA will probably read your posts, and look for code words, or something.
          It’s a screwed up world. Keep posting.

          • isis

            Lol true. They will find I am pretty boring. Still, I need to change it. Happy posting!

          • moderationpreferred

            It is kind of amusing though that these so-called true Muslims are willing to use a name that forms the acronym of a pagan goddess. Sorry you have to change your name.

          • isis

            I think so too! Maybe they are unaware? Lmao. Thanks, I guess change can be a good thing.

        • Allan Richardson

          I assume it originally referred to the Egyptian goddess? Some people are going to have to scrape off their neo-pagan parody bumper stickers reading
          “ISIS! ISIS! RA! RA! RA!” but fortunately not too many.

          • bellablue

            Yes you are right. I picked it because it was different and I kept it because I have had it forever. Oh well.

    • ericlipps

      We’re back to Grover Cleveland (a Democrat, but a nineteenth-century one), who infamously said, “The people should support the government; the government should not support the people.” Only instead of government it’s business. (Assuming there’s a difference.)

      • Allan Richardson

        When the wealthy manipulate the “free” market to make the labor of millions incapable of progressing beyond poverty, THEN the “Robin Hood” transfer is justified. Even those who “lose” the economic “game” should not lose their right to life because they are not financial “winners.”

  • Grannysmovin

    “In 1952, corporate America paid 32% of all federal taxes. Today, despite record-breaking profits, they pay less than 10% and 1 out of 4 large profitable corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes.” Bernie Sanders

  • AlfredSonny

    If they are excused from paying taxes, they should also be excused from collecting payroll and sales taxes from employees and customers!

    • Faraday_Cat

      And they can be “excused” from using public roads to get goods from ports and factories to market…I bet they would pay taxes if given that option, pay or else build your own private roads across the country…

  • charleo1

    During the Republican Presidential debates, there was one overriding meme. And that was to lower corporate taxes, and eliminate capital gains taxes. Corporate first to 15%, then eventually to zero. Same with capital gains. The second overriding meme was to cut the debt, and balance the budget by privatizing Medicare/Medicaid, and the Social Security Program. And, eliminating Federal oversight of education, development, along with the EPA. Plus the earned income credit for the working poor with families. Because as Congress Woman Bachmann opined, “Everyone should have to pay at least something in Federal taxes, if it’s nothing but one dollar!” To thunderous applause, I might add. Since the stuff they said about corporate, and capital gains taxes only five minutes before saying everyone should pay something. There was some question in my mind a least, about the attention span of their adoring fans. And of course, the trillion dollars being spent on the military, plus the supplements to fund the day to day prosecution of the two wars, was roundly criticized, and characterized as, “Obama’s, and the Democratic Party’s desire to, “GUT,” the military, and expand the welfare state, with a hugely expensive, and financially ruinous, healthcare plan.The thing is, even though these same clowns over a period of a decade, installed, and enacted their economic, and tax policies. And the results were unprecedented public debt, and an extremely deep recession. They proceed undaunted, because it’s their jobs. It’s what they do. It was only the results that should have been an education. But it wasn’t, because things simply failed to get bad enough. It’s a long way down in the largest economy, and the richest Country in the World. Their financial collapse, and the reckless economic policies of the Bush Administration are receding out of the collective memories of the adherents to the Republican brand. The economy is on the mend, and many think they are going back to work in the same economy, they left. They are not. Another decade of GOP policy? Sure, why not? Because, like I said, things are simply not bad enough yet.

    • whodatbob

      An excellent explanation of GOP philosophy. I got mine, I want yours, intended to get yours because I deserve it, and I am not the reason our economy is bad you are.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    If as the SC ruled, corporations are people, corporations are part of the taxpayer base. Period. End of statement.

    The idea that US corporations provide jobs in the US is now a fallacy we all know isn’t true and likely has only been fact prior to the Reagan Era.

    What US corporations are doing is propping up foreign economies by stuffing banks offshore with profits earned here in the US. That ought to be illegal.

    Taxes have always been the method used by a government of the people, for the people, by the people to pay for things “the people” need.

    The idea that a structural formation called “corporation” can be remotely considered a person is an abomination fabricated solely for the rich, by the rich and of the rich.

    Business is no longer business? On which planet? The act of conducting business is a process replete with procedures with the sole goal of earning profits. The people who contribute to those profits have every right to the reciprocity of the payment of taxes in exchange for use of government services and infrastructure.

    So now the Big Babies of the Corporate world are realizing their almighty goals for business in the US have seen better days. How much of these relic businesses never gave a second thought to the fact of business life that eventually ALL businesses become obsolete or a minnow in a vast ocean of competition?

    For the past 4 decades these corporations thought nothing of jacking prices year after year to earn higher and higher profits, never once considering that downsizing, outsourcing and offshoring’s impact would be a consumer base no longer capable of mass consumerism.

    The tax rate for any corporation must be based on the revenue it costs taxpayers to keep these businesses in existence, as well as the damage to infrastructure by their fleets of shippers.

    Stupid is as stupid does. Let these business move offshore. When they are boycotted by consumers, one after the other, maybe they will recognize their greed faster.

  • Robert Blankenship

    Give ’em hell Bernie!!!!

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Corporate hypocrisy is a joke. If as an employee you live in NJ but work in NY, you are taxed for the privilege of working out of state. How is that not the same as a US corporation earning profits in the US and having to pay “exit” and “offshore taxes” for the privilege of being able to conduct business in the US while headquartered offshore?

    This is another of the corporate BS promoted by the GOP. Tax hell out of individuals if they dare find jobs out of state but don’t dare do the same to multi-billion dollar corporations who headquarter offshore?

    • highpckts

      They do it on the local level also. If you work in one town and work in another, you pay both ways!!

    • Terry Allen

      You know, I think there’s another way. If Burger King moves to Canada, we could (if, you know, we had some spine) make them divest themselves of all their U.S. holdings. Now we have two Burger Kings: a ‘tiny’ little Canadian Burger King (bearing, I assume, the name Tim Horton’s), and a 100% American Burger King. If our government were willing to do that, there’d soon be no more talk of inversions.

      I mean, that’s what an anti-trust action is: we actually have a say in whether they get to merge with Tim Horton’s. And if we don’t like it, well, the merger doesn’t happen. Sure, they’ll argue that these are two distinct markets (America and Canada), so there’s no possibility of changing the competitive climate. But allowing Burger King to avoid paying taxes while requiring Wendy’s and McDonald’s to continue paying those taxes clearly changes the competitive climate here in America. So I would argue, yes, we have every right to stop the merger.

      Or force them to spin off their American holdings as a separate corporate entity.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Terry, yours is a wonderfully well-constructed post that should be mass mailed to every GOP money hungry fool in the House. Anti-trust is demolished by the Freest of Free Traders who believe government can and should operate on taxpayer dollars and contribute zero in return for the profits that keep them in existence.

        Unfortunately, the end run around this misguided interpretation of “free trade” is perpetrated by money minds. Unless Main Street Americans fight to keep government and Big Business separate, something the richest American men loathe the idea of, money is the rock bottom, rock solid line between Main Street and Wall Street. You can see that crash coming already.

        Even the most public of public advocates are hard put to stop these greedy maniacs from infiltrating every branch of government, education and life in the US. Till money runs out, it’s an uphill battle to preserve government of the people, FOR the people, by the people. You can see why it was so important for the CONs on the SC to rule that corporations are people.

    • Allan Richardson

      Some of the most multiply-taxed PEOPLE in America (and Canada) are show business “road” performers and professional athletes. The major league sports associations (MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA) have to keep “house CPAs” on staff to work out taxes for athletes who may have to pay income tax on money earned in every state and province (and in some cases city) in which they PLAY, as well as on their entire income to the country, and possibly the state (and city) in which they LIVE.

      The corporate bodies of the teams and leagues, meanwhile, are

      only expected to pay federal taxes and taxes to the states where they are incorporated, in most cases.

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Since most taxes are tied to wages, the reality is that wages are set by corporations with million dollar CPAS who know how to set wages to accommodate their corporate tax breaks. Example: In NJ, an employer gets a $5,000 tax cut for signing on new hires he keeps on payroll for 18 months. What would make any employee think their salary isn’t directly tied to how much an employer can cut their business taxes?

        • Allan Richardson

          And how many are let go for no reason in their 19th month of employment?

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            That “At will” that allows any employer to fire an employee without explanation is a NJ law. However, it runs interference with EEO/AAF laws and gender bias laws.

            Most employers get a “tax incentive” ala Walmart, to “locate” in a state and another “tax incentive” in the locality. Two tax incentives. These are not cash subsidies, but in many cases, contracts to remain in business for a period of two or more decades. In return, these businesses get to pay no taxes for a decade, get their utilities virtually free and guess who makes up for this tax revenue loss?

            Sorry, but whenever I hear corporations whining about how much they pay in taxes, I want to rofl. They get every conceivable form of tax exemptions not given in foreign countries.

            In other countries, businesses are not allowed to live off tax dollars as in the US. And, they ARE required as in Canada to show reciprocity in 24 months or their business licensing is yanked.

            The only country of the world that molly coddles business owners in such an extreme is the US.

            Big Oil is the prime example of a corporate moocher. This year, $14 billion was handed to them in cash tax subsidies. That $14 billion hasn’t increased jobs in any state but Texas and won’t since it’s already losing huge market share in the energy industry to solar and wind power which in the northeast is doing just fine with several million customers.

          • Allan Richardson

            Not just New Jersey; since there is no clear federal law to the contrary, “at will” is the default based upon Old English Common Law (BTW, in the South you used to hear lower-income people refer to their mates as “my common law” before just living together became acceptable, since before judicial reform in the 1970s, living together for seven years constituted a legal marriage under common law). Anti-discrimination laws help some, but companies can always say they fired someone for cause, and companies that want an excuse for firing often make up several biased disciplinary incidents over time.

            In Florida in the 1970s there was a large defense contractor who acquired a reputation for keeping a large inventory of technical workers on probation, so they would have enough people to start a new project contract quickly. If there was no contract for six months, they would let go the probationers and avoid paying unemployment taxes; if one turned up, they were kept on to work on that contract.

            As for that contract to stay X years for getting a local or state tax break, I have never heard of a company which left early being prosecuted or sued by any state for the back taxes.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            You never heard of a company which left early being prosecuted or sued by any state for back taxes? Really? That must be because you don’t read those legal sections of newspapers.

            NJ had to sue 4 companies for back taxes when they left NJ for NC. They also left behind a deadly polluted property which taxpayers ended up paying for. The law that allows a $5,000 tax exemption is relatively new.

            However, Governor Christie just granted one company relocated in NJ a 67 year contract for reduction in property taxes and tax free for the first ten years. Smell that BS? If they pay NO taxes for the first 10 years, they can take off, owe no taxes and taxpayers will be holding the bag. This was published in two NJ newspapers recently.

            I’m sorry.But it is NOT the job of taxpayers to keep businesses in existence. And that BS about how they create jobs is just that. When 2 Walmarts opened in my town, they hired less than 50 people in both stores. Why? Because they brought in employees from North Jersey stores.

            Please stop playing the know it all card. I was born and bred in the Pay to Play Inventor state of NJ. Nothing you can tell me to the contrary isn’t already something the NJ business skanks haven’t already concocted.

          • Allan Richardson

            I can well understand your outrage at New Jersey crooked politics. Although I have never lived there (one time in the 1970s I went for a job interview at Pan Am’s datacenter just on the NJ side of the NY border, and flew into Newark for the trip), I have heard of the stories of New Jersey crooks for many years, and in the last couple of years, the news on MSNBC, the only network that will cover it, about Chris Christie’s legal and political battles.

            I never claimed to know it all, and you are right, I have had no reason to read the legal notice papers, certainly not those from New Jersey, having spent most of my life in Florida and currently in Georgia. The point I made is that one should not NEED to scour the legal notices to find out about states suing crooked tax-lured companies over breaches of contract; one would EXPECT the general news media to cover such stories, since they affect the ENTIRE taxpaying population of a city, county or state. And in the states in which I have lived, there is silence, which (perhaps naively) I have interpreted as deliberate failure to prosecute.

            Here’s a local story you probably do not know about, since it probably has not been covered by the Jersey media, to show that the same things go on in other states as well. This one has two or three different parts: The Atlanta Falcons of the NFL, and the Atlanta Braves major league baseball team, are both growing tired of their “only” 20 year old stadiums, both of which were financed by Atlanta taxpayers. While the Falcons case was covered in the local paper, resulting in the taxpayers of Atlanta eventually agreeing to build a new stadium, even strong-arming a historic black church into selling its property and moving, and accepting the fact that geography and demographics will make the old stadium a white elephant for years to come, the BRAVES, on the other hand …

            Before making any complaints AT ALL in public, SECRETLY AND ILLEGALLY negotiated with the County Commission Chairman, Tim Lee, of COBB County (including Marietta), and other members of the Commission, only two at a time in order to evade the need for a public meeting, with an attorney never officially hired to negotiate, and last November (during the super snowstorm, from Atlanta’s viewpoint), they announced a COMPLETED AND BINDING agreement to move the Braves to a location ALREADY designated, using some technical subterfuge to AVOID putting the 30 year debt up to a vote of Cobb’s taxpayers. A group of good government activists are currently appealing it to the state Supreme Court, but we may be stuck with it anyway based on what they have let go through in the past.

            If they made a movie about this, it would be titled “TIM LEE’S FIELD OF SCHEMES; IF HE BUILDS IT, YOU WILL PAY.” The good news is that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a moderately liberal paper, has begun (belatedly) to dig up their mistakes in covering up their tracks. And by the way, The chairman and four of the five members of the Commission, all Republicans, voted FOR the contract at an official public meeting after being pressured; the lone Democrat voted NO, and in this years election, another Democratic newcomer is challenging a different seat on the Commission, so hopefully there will be another anti-corruption Commissioner for the next time they try this. And it started out on partisan lines, but many Republican leaning voters, including the Tea Party activists (fighting alongside us liberals in court!), are outraged about this also.

            So I’m sorry if you have corruption in New Jersey but unfortunately you are not alone. I wish you luck in fighting it in your state.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            At the moment, NJ taxpayers are incensed with Chris Christie. He hired a legal firm to “handle” BridgeGate who 4 months ago “found him innocent.” Gee big surprise. Now, a federal investigator is on the case all while the Dunn Lawyers one week before their so-called Christie absolution paid $10,000 to the RNC Governor’s Association, sent taxpayers a bill for nearly $9.2 million.

            I so agree with you that since these corporations are so hot to grab for tax subsidies, that makes them accountable to taxpayers …publicly and broadly publicly accountable.

            You won’t see any media titan agreeing to this any time too soon. The US government has become so intertwined with Big business, the line between the two is barely visible.

            Government isn’t business. Business can never be government. Period. End of statement.

  • rzinny1

    They want to charge big money for their products and servises .If they want to make profits , have big management salaries, pay low wages and benifits for their employees, then they pay taxes. If they do not want to pay taxes then they don’t charge anything for what they provide to the public. They want all the good thngs about American economy and freedoms then they pay taxes. Infact between the wealthy and business they should pay 75% of what it takes to run this country. That includes entitlemets, pork belly projects, military, high costing politicians, education, and the things the tea part wants to eIiminate. It is time that the do nothing congress and the president stop playing “opposite day” and kill and bury stupid ideas like this.

  • idamag

    Since the “supreme” court declared them persons, they absolutely should pay taxes. Tax breaks should be given using the number of US employees they have.

  • whodatbob

    Corporations pay tax on profit. Dividends are paid to stockholders from after tax profits. In effect reported corporate profits are taxed twice. That said, all loopholes need to be closed so profit is properly recorded and taxed. In fairness pass the tax liability to stockholders. Also, eliminate stockholder loopholes. Corporations as non taxpaying entities again become nonpersons again.

    • John Hayes

      And will increase the prices to their goods and services to offset their increase costs of doing business.

      • Faraday_Cat

        Maybe…unless the company takes that hit to their already record profit margin (which they probably should after being so greedy for so long) to keep prices where they are, spurring other companies to do the same in order to remain price competitive…

  • Bud Friend

    If corporations are people, they have to pay taxes. I pay taxes on my income, dividends, and capital gains. I’m a person and so are they.

  • Todd Nelson

    It’s too bad this author doesn’t understand economics. Corporations don’t PAY taxes, the just collect them. Their customers, shareholders, and employees actually pay the taxes. Customers in the form of higher prices for the goods they buy. Shareholders in the form of lower returns on the money they invested. Employees in the form of lower pay and lower benefits. GE, under Barack Obama’s favorite corporate head, Jeffrey Immelt, paid no corporate taxes in 2012, due to the tax code. Every tax paying entity on earth tries to pay the lowest amount of taxes they can. That includes individuals too. What is needed is a change in the tax code and a major reduction in the amount of regulations companies have to deal with. This means a reduction in the corporate tax rate to compete with other countries and cut out the loopholes. This would give American companies a chance to compete on the world market while staying in America, creating new jobs and more revenue for the treasury.

    • charleo1

      See, here’s the deal. With corporate profits at record levels. And the amount of cash reserves of the top 500 at setting at 2.5 trillion. As the richest 400 control more capital, and own more wealth, that the bottom 50% of Americans. And according to the World Economic Conference, in Zurich, Switzerland. It was determined that only 72 individuals can be credited with owning, or controlling more wealth, than the other approx. 350 billion people on Earth combined. This with the true rates of taxes being paid by the largest corporations in the U.S. at the lowest levels in more than 80 years. With the spending in the tax code, (subsidies,) by the Federal, State, and Local Governments, to corporations, at record levels With, increasingly a disappearing, Middle Class, with serious problems of it’s own, being relegated to the last remnants of what could rightly be called tax payers. But this group cannot by itself, sustain the necessary functions, and obligations, of the World’s Super Power, and largest economy So, at the end of the day, where does that leave the U.S.? Furthermore, where does this business model leave the World? As we prop up, and largely pay for the security of the free World. In an environment that gets more dangerous, and more unstable by the day? As corporations here, and in other industrialized countries, foist more, and more of the true costs of their poverty, and sub standard wages on the public institutions, already buckling under debt obligations, and looming defaults. How then is public investments of any kind to be underwritten? And upon who’s backs should this burden be rightly placed? The assumption that granting corporations tax advantage lessens the burden on taxpayers through lower costs for products and services, has not proven to be true. The fact that corporations have record surpluses of stored profits, yet the wage of the average worker in America has declined. As has the opportunities of average workers to move up from one income class to the next. And finally, if we shelter corporations from fair taxation, everything, and everyone, that can possibly do so, will become a corporation.

      • Todd Nelson

        Even a good tin foil hat wearing communist like you Charleo1, makes my point for necessary tax and regulatory reform. Whether you like it, or not, business is now on a worldwide scale. In order to get businesses to come to your country, you must make it more attractive for that business to be in your country. Intel figured out that Costa Rica, with its’ O% corporate tax rate, low regulations, and well educated work force was the place to manufacture. While 0% tax is too low for most, Costa Rica gets 15,000 of its’ citizens directly employed and many more employed in the shipping and distribution of those products produced at their factories.
        What the treasury found when tax rates for individuals were reduced under Reagan was a major increase in the amount of money received by the treasury. Reducing corporate taxes and relieving many of the business crushing regulations will not only bring jobs back to America, but facilitate the creation of many more

        • Faraday_Cat

          crushing regulations…yer funny

        • Independent1

          Oh really!! What nonsense!!

          “What the treasury found when tax rates for individuals were reduced under Reagan was a major increase in the amount of money received by the treasury.”

          Increase in the amount of money received by the treasury! What a joke!! As America racked up massive deficits for the 1st time in it’s history – with Reagan running up deficits that exceeded all the debt racked up in previous 70 years!! Almost tripling the slightly less than 1 trillion in total debt he inherited from Carter to just under 3 trillion!!

          And I’m just waiting for the 1st news item about all these low regulation businesses run in Costa Rica – how long do you think it’s going to be before something like the disasters that have occurred in Bangladesh are going to happen?? Or there’s something akin to the fertilizer plant explosion that almost wiped out a Texas town because Rick Perry cut his budgets so far that there weren’t enough inspectors to get around to that factory in years upon years.

          • charleo1

            It’s what happens when Right Wing Utopia plays with
            real money, and not fairy dust. Overheated markets
            implode. Artificial bubbles burst. The government
            relaxes oversight, and oil rigs explode, from corporate
            recklessness, chasing even higher profits. People lose
            jobs, homes, and savings. And suffer through years of
            economic stagnation, as sub-par wages suffocate demand. Wealth accumulates in a few hands at the top, and is idled from productive circulation. Fine,
            give me the foil hat. But tax cuts always pay for themselves? Give me two foil hats, in case one falls off!

          • Independent1

            Nelson is obviously living in la la land. If tax revenues increased when Reagan cut taxes, it’s because at the same time he started spending like a drunken sailor on every fantasy he could dream up like “star wars”. He clearly was trying to see how much taxpayer money he could pump into the pockets of his rich buddies and campaign donors.

            Tax revenues may have increased because he was pumping so much money into the economy, but they obviously didn’t increase enough to offset the enormous increase in spending or otherwise the deficits wouldn’t have skyrocketed.

          • charleo1

            Well, our friend Nelson here, read my comment, determined it to have a Keynesian slant, and he’s kind of been pre-programed to have rebuttals to all that. The facts are, the Friedman camp, and the early advocates of that kind of top down economics, was debunked by it’s colossal failure of the Depression, in the 1930s. And it’s revival with Reagan was mostly due to the passage of time, and much of the political crowd, and armchair economists, simply failed to recognize it. G.H.W. (Papa Bush,) was not one of them. He called it, “voodoo economics.” Probably because it depends on so many unprovable, and very mystic theories, to support it’s claims to being a successful template. Personally, I think more than likely, a group of very wealthy individuals got together, and started listing all the ways in which they would like to see this old system brought back, to put the most amount of profit in their pockets, and allow them to keep it. And then build their influence, and control over the general economy. So they simply made a lot claims as to how this is the way to go. And why we should adopt it. Then, took the project on as a long term goal. Funded a lot campaigns to elect politicians to help them to tear down the programs of the post Depression era system, and put in place, under Roosevelt, who was a Keynesian. And replace it with what is actually a post WWI system, adopted by a pre-Hitler, Germany to make sure what little wealth was left after war reparations went first to the wealthy elite. It is by design, a very Darwinian, predatory system. Where the strongest, members of society divide the spoils, and everyone else is on their own. It created Hitler’s platform, in which he was able to rise to power. Now Nelson don’t know this, because he only listens to the people working for the people, interested in tearing down a working system, and inserting this top down, monstrosity. One that would gladly starve him and his family, as a matter of course. He, like all labor, would have no representation, and few Rights. So in order to live, Old Nelson would be just another cog, being ground up, and spat out, to create enormous amounts of wealth for the top dogs, and their cronies, in and out of gov. who enforce the system. Ironically, the supposedly fiscally conservative Reagan, jolted the economy back to life, by doing the very things a cautious, and conservative minded Carter, avoided for fear of setting off another round of inflation. Reagan had no such qualms. Because he intended to devalue the dollar. By first printing more of them, lowering interests rates, and then replacing the value of those dollars by drastically lowering the tax rates for the top 1%. He went after organized labor every chance he got. While injecting huge amounts of borrowed cash into the economy. There was no concern for the record amounts of debt. It was all going to be paid back in due time, by eliminating programs in the social safety net. Programs that not only the poor depended on, but others used by Middle income families. Which was absolutely the plan. He went after the weakest first. Like any good predator, he talked about fictitious Black, “welfare queens,” bilking the system, while driving new Cadillacs, and eating lobster on food stamps. An absolute puke of a human being. No wonder the callous elite treat Reagan’s legacy, as well as the man, like a Saint. He was the Trojan Horse for the supply side revisionists. And the economy, with the exception of a few contrived Wall Street scams, and tech bubbles, has never produced the kind of wide spread wealth, post Reagan, as before. In fact, throughout the Clinton, and Bush years, the, “fix,”is mostly in. The ignorant nihilists, and their backers, industrialists, and Wall Street Corporatists, see the hog, that is America, splayed out, ready for the butchering. And neophytes, and disgruntled misfits like Nelson, are carrying the gasoline for their own funeral pyre. And have no idea whatsoever. And, how could they? They have no basis of fact, no information, and no education with which to think for themselves. Which is why I really like your posts. I just blab at them. You give them the facts. Which they mostly throw back in your face. But still, they can’t say, if they win, and finally get their way. That no one ever told them. That they weren’t given the facts.

          • Allan Richardson

            That was debunked by Bill Press when he related his personal story of capital gains. The reduction is a SHORT TERM reduction, much of which is simple a shifting of taxes from one year to another. In his example, he related that he and his wife have owned a succession of small businesses which they started, operated until they felt like selling out, then sold and lived off the proceeds of the sale. They were in the process of deciding WHEN to sell their current business when the Reagan capital gains tax cuts came along. Because of the cuts, rather than hurrying to sell BEFORE the cuts, or holding on till later, they sold WHILE the cuts were in effect, thus taking that one-time windfall when the taxes were lowest. And statistics show that is what many other investors do: delay selling assets they would otherwise sell sooner, and accelerate selling assets they would otherwise sell later, in order to sell them during the first year of the new lower rates. The BUYERS of those assets will typically not sell for several more years. So the tax revenue goes DOWN for the year in which the cuts are announced, UP for the first year in which they are in effect, then DOWN again in subsequent years.

        • charleo1

          You know I’m not the one that needs a tin foil hat,
          you are. You’re the one buying the failed economic
          tripe, not me. Tell me this Einstein, if you’re so
          smart. When we followed what they’re pushing.
          Taxes were lowered to historic levels, especially for
          the very wealthy. And Wall street was deregulated,
          so then banks could be investment houses, and insurance co. could be banks. Just like they always
          said they wanted. Where the hell did the recession
          come from? Free money, free wall street, and taxes
          can be virtually nonexistent, with a nice offshore account. So what happened?

        • ericlipps

          Actually, what the Treasury found was that the deficit being run under President Jimmy Carter–the deficit presidential candidate Ronald Reagan said would destroy America, if not all of human civilization–quadrupled. Result? In the twelve years of Reagan and his stand-in Poppy Bush, the national debt tripled.

          • … but we continually overlook that President Carter ‘inherited’ a war-time economy – that INCLUDED a deficit, which he didn’t increase significantly, by comparison, to (as usual) his Republican predecessors. & as was the case w/every Liberal President since… EVER, he lost the support of his party b/c of THEIR – not HIS – lack of vision & loyalty, if we remember what Prez. Carter did, in leveling the corporate playing field in holding the line against monopolies & equitizing taxation across income demographics. Otherwise, I wholly agree w/you, in what we’re now attempting is to completely ERASE the curse of low/no rich/corporate taxation, due to the catastrophic impact their unpatriotic, tax-escapist obsessions – foisted on our legislator by bribery & threat, which INEVITABLY raises taxes for ALL OTHER & THE REST OF AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. Why not talk about that instead, for a change? Look around at the ragged state of the nation & imagine the upgrade w/just a LITTLE help from the rich & corporations?…

      • Paul Bass

        Current population of world is about 7.25 billion. So each of those 72 mega-rich make as much as 100,000,000 of us peons.

      • Independent1

        The solution to a lot of this is to raise the tax rates, and do away with a favored rate for capital gains – why should “do nothing” investors get a favored tax rate over people who end up paying a higher tax rate on income they work hard to earn? All a low capital tax rate succeeds in doing is allow corporations and the wealthy to horde money because it’s less risky to earn lots of money via their investments rather than investing in a new business or
        expanding an existing one.

        For several decades the American economy, including corporations, have done better economically when taxes were at higher levels than they are today.

        I don’t claim to be an expert on taxation, but here’s an excerpt from an article that explains it better than I can:

        We need a system to return that money to the bottom so it can rise again and again and again.

        Here are the options that have been tried across our lifetimes..

        1.Price and pay freezes.
        2.Government set and regulated prices.
        3.Lower tax rates.
        4.Cash incentives from taxpayers to reinvest.
        5.Pleas and entreaties from the Oval Office.
        6.Higher marginal tax rates.

        Only one of these has worked. Can you guess which one? If you guessed higher tax rates spur reinvestment you are absolutely correct.

        Notice the rates of reinvestment climbing in each of these presidencies: Eisenhower, Kennedy-Johnson, Carter, Clinton each time Congress legislated higher marginal tax rates.

        Also notice the drops under Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush as Republicans cut the taxes…

    • 788eddie

      I agree, Todd, that cutting out the loopholes would help produce a fairer system.

      On the one hand, we are told that American corporations have the highest corporate tax rate of the developed countries (35%), and yet with tax loopholes, the average corporation pays between 12% and 13% actual corporate tax.

      BTW, what’s with the comment that Jeffrey Immelt was Barack Obama’s favorite corporate head? Are you implying that President Obama helped to engineer the tax breaks for GE? Interesting.

      • charleo1

        Yes he is. He is telling you, Barack Obama gave the head of GE a tax pass. Wingers think the President can grant tax amnesty. They also think a lot of other things. Like one said to me last week, he don’t agree with, “Obama giving millions of dollars to terrorist Arabs.” So I said, he’s bombing them, and he’s giving millions to them? Not the same ones!, he insisted. But all Arabs are terrorists, in my book, he said. Oookay.

  • 788eddie

    When we give corporations tax breaks, some of the money saved (i.e. not paid as tax) becomes, therefor, profits. Some of these profits are used to pay bonuses to the corporate execs who helped to get these profits, and some of these profits are paid as stock dividends to those wealthyenough to own the stock in that company.

    The money therefor flows upward, but there are those who would like us to believe that that benefits the average taxpayer.

    I remain unconvinced.

    • Independent1

      Unconvinced? Rightly so!! George Bush jr. oversaw the biggest experiment on trickle-down economics tried thus far. Georgie boy clearly proved that trickle-down economics is a fantasy by giving the wealthy some of the biggest tax breaks the wealthy had seen in well over a decade and then presiding over the most lackluster economy in the past 7 decades from both economic and jobs creation standpoints; except of course for the slightly more dismal job creation results of another president also named Bush.

      And why is that? Because, when you lower taxes, especially the capital gains rate (down to 15%), you greatly reduce the incentive for corporations and the wealthy to invest on risky activities like expanding their businesses or starting new ones. When tax rates are low on investment income, corporations and the super wealthy would prefer to leave the bulk of their money in investments, where they often end up paying far less than the 15% capital gains rate – which is why there are so many trillions of American dollars parked in overseas investment accounts instead of being poured into starting new businesses or expanding existing ones.

  • charles king

    Should corporations have to pay taxes? Why? should they Not. Lets all do some Critical Thinking here, I think we all could come up with an honest answer to this question. When I was a kid back in the thirties just before WWII, everybody paid their taxes and I think from the monies that were brought in we builded Public Schools, Turnpikes from coast to coast here in America, we builded many Levi towns of housing developments cause back in those days we were a delapodated country and the country needs a new face lift today in which Monies from taxes could fix like we did for Europe after the war destroyed their countries. I am a Korean War Veteran, Who? pays my taxes so My answer to the question up-above are: YES they should pay their taxes and some more for all the space they take up on the roads and on the seas and in the air. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING P. S. Keep an eye out for Plutocracts(Commissioners) and find out What? happen to your Democracy….

  • Terry Allen

    Part of the problem I see with recent ‘debate’ on the issue of corporate taxes is that the Republicans have already set the terms of the debate to suit themselves. And when the Republicans argue for lower corporate taxes and the Democrats argue for taxes that aren’t quite as low as what the Republicans propose, well, we’re pretty sure to end up with lower corporate taxes. Whether that’s a good thing or not.

    So let me propose something a bit stronger as a starting position for the Democrats:

    the corporate tax rate should be 100%.

    Why? Well I’m glad you asked that 🙂 .

    As we all know, corporations don’t actually pay income taxes at all. Instead, they pay net income taxes, a hugely different thing.

    Imagine if you were only obliged to pay income taxes on the difference between your bank balance on Dec. 31 and your bank balance on the preceding Dec. 31. I’d be quite surprised if in that case I owed more than about $500 in taxes. And of course I could easily arrange my cash flow to bring that number down to almost nothing.

    So when I’m asked to compare a corporate tax rate of 35% with an average individual tax rate of, say, 28%, I actually don’t feel a lot of sympathy for the corporation.

    So a corporation gets to spend whatever money it wants on whatever it wants, but as soon as it runs out of ideas it turns whatever it has left over to the government.

    Well, or it can pay dividends to its shareholders.

    But wait, you say. The Bush tax cuts specifically forbade corporations from deducting dividends.

    Yes, that was the one element of the Bush tax code that flew in the face of all logic. It was so ridiculous that Bush even had to trot out some tame economists to produce some arguments to justify it (there was talk of ‘pull-through’, for example; I hadn’t laughed so hard since I heard an economist explain why people buy overpriced popcorn at the movies).

    So let me be clear: corporations should get a deduction for dividends. And bonuses. And (despite my rather tongue-in-cheek suggestion that corporate taxes be 100%) the corporate tax rate has to be at least 10 points less than the maximum tax on individuals (specifically, CEOs). You know, to encourage CEOs to leave as least some of the profits in the corporation. But of course I see that as a reason to raise the maximum tax rate on individuals, not a reason to lower the corporate income tax rate.

    Anyway, I’m only suggesting this as a starting point for negotiations. If we end up with a corporate tax rate of 50%, well, I’m fine with that. What I’m not fine with is Democrats that pretend to be negotiating on my behalf, and who surrender as soon as the negotiations start.

  • Are we going to just ignore the obvious, or take THIS subject as an imperative, into this years election? Did they, or did they not twist the arms of OUR elected legislators or NOT? The “THEY” in question being corporations (or the ‘people’ behind the ‘face’ of the corporation) & how their power is far & above, vastly more influential than some pathetic voter by an insignificant citizen, what do we do now? I already know, personally, but do U – pathetic & insignificant voter?! As a ‘conservative’ policy (non-taxation of corporations & the ultra-wealthy), isn’t time our Liberal/Progressive votes mean the difference between Democracy & plutocracy? Just curious…

  • Tony Torres

    Sadly absolutely nothing,nada,zippo will be done about it until WE the citizens unite and make something change. If we just bitch and complain it will fall on deaf ears (or should I say purchased ears) and all our politicians will shuffle words around until it dies down. Congress can’t even pass gas let alone something that would really help our old USA. As for all the fear that if we change our tax laws and make it difficult for corporations to usurp tax law that they will leave. i guarantee there might be a few of idiots that would but the great majority will admit that essentially they do very,very well being an American firm. Hey, if you don’t like it get the Hell out of Dodge, fucking greedy bastards. Grant you I admit that these corporations have stockholders and they want to make lots of money but hey, pay your taxes just like the rest of us. WE MUST UNITE AGAINST THESE PRACTICES!!

    • Wait, but whose fault is it that we’ve lost our orientation about the equality dictates of our Constitution & Bill of Rights? Is it the rich & corporations? In a way, if counting the propaganda scams put on US each election year. But no, it’s our fault, that we don’t understand what ‘Civic Culturural governance’ means to our interactive w/it. THAT’S our fault, each & EVERY AMERICAN that doesn’t respond to stuff like this, then walks away, wringing hands saying, ‘woe is we, can’t do nothing about this either…’ WRONG!!!!!! VOTE LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE & MAKE A DIFFERENCE YOURSELF!!!

  • howa4x

    Corporations thrive from US military expenditures so why shouldn’t they pay taxes on the profits? They also use our airports, roads, bridges and why should they pay for that? Also why shouldn’t they pay for every job they export? Corporations get away with polluting the water and air and then walk away and hide behind lawyers. We the people have to take back America. they the corporations are doing a terrible job

  • ExRadioGuy15

    Here in Oregon, while two of the bigger employers, Nike and Intel, do get tax breaks, the Oregon Legislature was smart enough to tie job creation into those tax breaks. Earlier this year, the state renewed the deal with Intel and Intel has to create 500 more in-state jobs in order to qualify for the tax breaks. That’s something that the Bush 43 tax policies SHOULD have done, but, because they didn’t….
    They’re simply upward wealth redistribution tools.
    If you’re going to give big corporations tax breaks of any kind, job creation requirements must be included. Remember that the point of giving tax breaks to big corporations is so that they hire people, people who PAY TAXES. So, if the corporation refuses to create jobs, they should lose the tax breaks.

    • ExRadioGuy15

      And, believe it or not, many of the GOP Progressives and Moderates in this country agree with me, which is why they should stop voting for Republicans. They should vote for the people who truly do represent them now: Democrats.

  • Beenie

    Hasn’t the Supreme Court ruled that CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE’? DIDN’T MITT ROMNEY SAY SO??? Well, PEOPLE PAY TAXES!!!!! So Exxon, Mobil, GE, Apple, etc, etc – get out your checkbooks and PAY UP!!!

  • James St John

    Corporations don’t pay taxes, their customers do. By lowering the amount of overhead, ie taxes, that they pay the less money they have to charge for get heir goods and services to stay in business.

  • paulyz

    The reason many companies left the U.S. in the FIRST place was because of the highest corporate taxes in the world. Add to that excessive regulations and the global economy where we have to keep up with low-wage & benefit countries, & it is becoming even harder to be competitive in today’s business climate.
    Indeed, even N.Y. understands that to provide employment to it’s Citizens, they need businesses to relocate there, so they have offered tax-breaks for 10 years to entice companies to re-locate there!

    • Allan Richardson

      I never heard a definition of “excessive” regulation, but from the behavior of the Congresscritters bought by the likes of Koch, it would seem that:
      (1) not being allowed to dump unlimited poisons in the air and water is “excessive”
      (2) having to pay women the same as men is “excessive”
      (3) inspecting meat carefully enough to actually CATCH signs of toxic infection is “excessive” (how well can YOU inspect a chicken carcass in 3 second?)
      (4) not being allowed to flood food animals with drugs, thus causing hormone changes in humans, and creating the drug resistant bacteria which cause more deaths every year WOULD be “excessive”

      (5) having to follow the labor laws and pay employees fairly for overtime, rather than call them “independent contractors” for no reason except evasion of labor laws, WOULD be “excessive”
      (6) filing information with the state fire marshal disclosing explosives handling procedures, and being inspected to make sure you don’t blow up your neighborhood, is so “excessive” that Texas doesn’t even HAVE those regulations, and we saw what happened to the town of West

      Which one of the above do YOU think is “excessive?” And we haven’t even discussed not allowing banks to deceive borrowers and set them up for foreclosure, while deceiving investors by selling falsely rated securities based upon those loans.

  • 1JohnMason

    Situation is such the intent and purpose of the government granting corporate shareholders limited financial immunity is an incentive for creating domestic jobs and tax revenues.

  • globalforce

    Cut taxes to 10% for all. pay for it by getting rid of congress and the senate.No politicians no lobbyists.

  • dpaano

    If you and I could ONLY have the use of the same high-level brains that corporations use to handle their taxes….we’d be able to do the same thing. However, we’re kinda stuck because we can’t afford that kind of service… we end up paying the price for their greed! Pretty sad state of affairs!