Our country is no longer controlled by, and for, We the People, but instead by, and on behalf of, international banking and multinational corporate interests. While the gradual, almost imperceptible takeover of our government by this corporate fascism has been evolving by design for many decades, it is a coup d'etat nonetheless and has been disastrous for the vast majority of Americans. This blog is an exploration and discussion of how this occurred, and the damage it has done to our democratic processes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Corporate America -- Causing Austerity Cuts by Evading Taxes

As protests by public employees, and their friends and supporters, enters its fourth week, newly-elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues his attempt to ramrod through his state's legislature a very controversial bill that limits collective bargaining for most state and local employees to only wage negotiations. It seems to me that Wisconsin, like other states facing real or anticipated budget shortfalls, is only looking at one side of the ledger sheet -- the "austerity side".

The same with the current budget battle going on in Washington. The Republican plan, passed by the Tea Party-influenced caucus, wants to cut spending about $61 billion below last year's level. A second vote on what's now sort of the Democratic alternative, would be about $10.5 billion less than was spent last year. Both of those budgets are expected to fail. That would essentially throw out the extremes and tell everyone, okay, it's time to get to the bargaining table and strike a compromise. But why are massive cuts in government spending even being considered, given the stimulus effect they provide in an economy that's barely limping along? Why is the complete focus on the right-hand side of the balance sheet, the expense side, and nobody is even looking at the left side -- the revenue side? There is a more sensible option, but don't count on your corporatist government to even give it a thought, or the mainstream corporate media to throw you a hint as to what it might be. Neither will, simply, because both are part of the problem.

But the solution is simple: Make the tax dodgers pay their fair share. More specifically, demand that the corporate tax dodgers pony-up their mandated tax obligations. Make these corporate "tax avoiders" accountable, and make their acts punishable -- instead of permissible and tolerable. Overseas tax havens enable companies, the vast majority being multinational corporations headquartered in this country, to pretend their profits are earned in other countries, like the Cayman Islands, for example, or in Switzerland, or in any of dozens of tax havens around the world. Simply making that gimmick illegal would add an estimated $100 billion a year to the U.S. Treasury. That's not small potatoes. Coincidently, similar to the tax breaks Scott Walker extended to his corporate benefactors and now wants to recoup from public employees in Wisconsin, that's also the amount our simple-minded brethren from the Tea Party initially wanted to cut from the federal budget.

Who are the guilty parties...exactly? Well, if they're a large corporation operating around the globe, with offices and manufacturing plants worldwide, it's a safe bet they're not paying their fair share. The list is as diverse as the industries they're in and the products and services they make and provide: Bank of America, Boeing, Cisco, Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil, FedEx, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Mattel, News Corp, Pfizer and Proctor and Gamble. Their accounting departments ferret out as many loopholes as their hired lobbyists planted in the tax code in the first place. "These corporations are heavy users of our taxpayer funded public infrastructure and property rights protection systems. They use our regulated marketplace, call upon our law enforcement system and judiciary to remedy disputes. They're protected by U.S. police forces and firefighters. They enjoy all the privileges and benefits of tax-paying citizens. They just don't pay their fair share for them."

An anti-corporate tax avoidance group that originated in the United Kingdom last October, called UK Uncut, is taking this discourse to the streets and demanding an explanation as to why their targeted companies are avoiding their fair share of the tax burden. Not unlike this country, corporatism has taken firm root in their governmental processes and has relegated the people to second-class citizenry. Last December, right before the busiest shopping day prior to Christmas, protesters against corporate tax avoidance carried out their biggest day of action to date by targeting businesses in fifty towns and cities across the UK. It was very successful in pointing out the criminal and overt tax avoidance of some of the largest retailers. Protesters were adamant in their demands in wanting to know why they had to suffer and pay for the austerity programs instituted by their government, while corporations continued reeling in profits while avoiding payment of taxes.

An American off-shoot, US Uncut, debuted as a serious, mobilized effort to fight corporate tax dodging. On February 26th, the group’s big national Day Of Action, commenced their first coordinated effort by the organization to educate the public and foster support for the movement. Their selected target: Bank of America. At the rally in New York City, around ninety people ultimately showed up, handing out flyers and shouting to passing pedestrians: “Do you pay your taxes? Bank of America doesn’t!” According to Alisa Harris, one of the New York rally organizers, “Bank of America is a corporation that got a $45 billion bailout from US taxpayers, and yet they paid absolutely no income tax [in 2009],” she said, “And so this is just a great example of the problem of taxpayers pouring resources into these corporations, and the corporations are using our infrastructure, and yet they’re not giving back to the community.”

And according to an article in The Huffington Post, "A rally in San Francisco drew scores of protesters to a branch of Bank of America at Union Square; dressed in ordinary street clothes, they filed into the bank one by one, getting in line to speak with the tellers. Each of them carried a fake check from Bank of America made out to "The United States c/o Tax Paying Citizens," for $1.5 billion. The sum would cover all the bank's unpaid taxes on its 2009 earned income of $4.4 billion, demonstrators said. Only a few people had presented their fake checks to the tellers before the bank temporarily closed for business; protesters were peacefully escorted out of the building by the police. Once on the street, however, they stayed put and kept handing out fake checks, which had facts about corporate tax avoidance written in fine print on the back, as fliers. 'Two-thirds of all U.S. corporations do not pay federal income tax,' the fliers said. 'BofA is the largest bank and the 5th largest corporation in America.' "

The solution is obvious and apparent, although the Koch whores and other puppets of the corporatocracy would never remind you of this. Why is this? Because they'd have to step on the toes of their wealthy, and even more powerful, benefactors -- the ones who fund their sleazy campaigns and prop them into office. The ones who really call the shots and write the laws, delegating our elected officials as nothing more than their chosen and personal scribes. Let's call a spade a spade; our government has been overtaken by corporatists, from both major parties, and our Constitution was nullified and voided a long time ago. Check into US Uncut and support what they're doing. And don't forget, they're doing it for you -- an American taxpayer. See whether there's a rally you can participate in, or send them a check. Unlike the corporations they're exposing as tax frauds, they're suffering through the same economic inequities as you. Give 'em a hand.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jefferson's Guardian,

no doubt about it, you must be a mediocre teacher in the public school system who could not cut it in the private sector!

my real wages have been constantly going up and i recently got more stock options within the last few days because i PRODUCE FOR MY COMPANY!

keep up your marxist rants, i find them extremely funny!

Mary Mayhem said...

...the Tea Party is on their way to serfdom along with the rest of us if they don't start to wise up...working class republicans do not benefit from this scheme, but we've been screaming this forever to deaf ears...Maybe this series of Great Lakes Region catastrophic legislation will open their eyes a little bit...I'm always optimistic...but then again, my experience of working in the legal community in one of the larger corporations out there, not to name any names, but it rhymes with pest, isn't spelled correctly and is based in Denver, reading the case files, most of these "bigwigs" are narcissistic, histrionic, or just plain psychopathic...people were lucky that it didn't spread from fiscal onslaught to physical violence with these guys...They will do anything to silence rational voices, and pass their agenda...

Anonymous said...

Mary,

get another tattoo!

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Usually I don't respond to guests visiting my blog who refuse to identify themselves as more than just "Anonymous", but I'll make an exception this one time. Next time, if you choose to visit again, please identify yourself. It's the polite thing to do.

To give you an idea of the extent to which multinational corporations cheated you, an American taxpayer, for the tax years 2009 and 2010, these six banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP MorganChase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley, only paid a net of $6.1 billion in federal income taxes out of $54.8 billion of reported U.S. earnings, or 11.2%. If these six banks, and only these six banks, had paid the 35% during these years, the federal government (meaning you, the taxpayer) would have received an additional $13 billion in tax revenues. And just think, this is only six banks! This is just the tip of the iceberg!

If believing corporations should pay their fair share and shouldn't be allowed to avoid (i.e. "cheat") their tax responsibilities, makes me a "Marxist", then so be it. Call me a Marxist.

(NOTE: Based on review of current payable income tax and earnings disclosures in the annual reports of each bank for 2009 and 2010, and available at SEC EDGAR.)

Oh, and by the way, no I'm not a teacher, unless you count teaching people about the abuses that corporations inflict on Americans while hiding behind the legal fiction of corporate personhood. Then, yes, I guess I am a teacher.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Mary, I agree, most of those chiefs running corporations are sociopaths at the very least. They have no conscience, and they have no morals or ethics. They don't feel compassion and they have no empathy. Ice water runs through their veins.

These are the types who really govern our nation. They have essentially been delegated to make our laws and define our culture. They run our nation behind the scenes, analogous to how MS-DOS operated behind the early versions of Windows.

It's time to eliminate "MS-DOS" and allow We the People back in as the true "operating system".

Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

Mary Mayhem said...

Have you seen that movie War, Inc. with John and Joan Cusack, Marissa Tomei, and Hillary Duff (who plays a Central Asian Pop Star, and is great) ? It was supposedly inspired by Naomi Klein's "Bagdad Year 0" article in Harper's. The movie kind of sucked as a political satire, but it made its point well enough. Maybe you should watch it if you haven't already. It was funny.

Anonymous said...

Mary Mayhem,

Do you have a job that pays enough to cover your housing, food, etc. or are you another government teet sucker whose life depends on others paying taxes to support your existence?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

No, Mary, I haven't seen War, Inc. I'll check into it and make it a point. I actually like dark comedies, so it should be interesting!

What a great signature line on their promotional ad: When it comes to war...America means business.

Could there be any greater truth?

Mary Mayhem said...

Anonymous,

My job is my business, you don't even choose to identify yourself, so what makes you think I would share with you. If you don't like paying your taxes like the rest of us, then please, be my guest, move to another country where you don't have to. Good luck. You can go to Andorra, but you'd have to be independently wealthy. Brunei, but I think the Islamic faith scares you. Monaco, but something tells me you would find something ethnically wrong with the ancestral French living their and their "socialist" way of living. The UAE, looks like a beautiful place, I know, but I've been there several times, and it's not. It's all glam and glitter with oil money, covering up a Sharia Law infused caste system a la Saudi Arabia. You would last a few months before you ran your overly nationalist mouth about something and pissed the wrong person off or offended the wrong person. I think you should just go for it, take the plunge and move to the British Virgin Islands. They speak English, so you won't have to wrap your simplistic mind around another language. They use the US dollar as currency, so you can keep all of your money to yourself there...all of it. There is no income tax, and you have an old, rich white lady and an old rich, white-haired man (whom you may call gov-nuh, and they both drink tea, so there's your tea-party) in charge of your country instead of a super scary black man with an even scarier Muslim sounding name. Please move if you do not want to pay taxes. We all pay taxes; it's patriotic, we do not want to live in a shithole, and we help our fellow American out, because we would want and expect them to do the same when and if we were ever to be in the same crummy situation. Didn't your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather or teacher ever TEACH you anything? Oh. Sorry. You probably went to a PRIVATE school where the teachers don't even have to have a degree to teach and get paid even LESS than the public sector, so WHO knows what you could have learned? They can teach revenge as a virtue and call it the "Golden Rule" for all we know.

Anonymous said...

Mary Mayhem:

"I will be in school forever getting my MS/MBA, and I plan on spending my post collegiate years using said MS/MBA to work and repay the government for said MS/MBA; it's a viscous cycle. I like to read, study, journal, and research everything. I have a 4.0 GPA."

Sounds like you don't like to work much which is why I said you are probably a government teet sucker. Since you have a child (most likely illegitimate), this allows handouts from the government for your existence. Ain't this the truth Mary?

Nice rant earlier at 10:40 PM. Are you bipolar or were you high on drugs/booze?

Mary Mayhem said...

@ anonymous....way to try and turn a 4.0 GPA and working toward a Masters degree into a negative thing. You should feel proud of yourself. FYI, I'm married, and I served my country for 6 years to go to college, and I'm on scholarships, so there's you patriotism...oh and I'm married, and get this....I'm a product of a chain of several non-broken, liberal homes...so there's your family values...oh yeah and I was up all night studying, as I am most nights...a 4.0 GPA doesn't come easily when you have a small child and you are one of the few students in the Masters concurrent with Bachelors program....so not much boozing or drug abuse for me...I got done with partying over a decade ago...live off the government, I do not, but I will be borrowing money from them soon enough to finish school...and there is not a damn thing wrong with that...and I know plenty of people who have lost everything and have had to live off of them until they got back on their feet and there's not a damn thing wrong with that either...and if you think there is, then get the hell out of America...

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anonymous, please keep your comments focused on the topic of the post. This isn't going to be a forum for you to attack other guest commenters when you disagree with the posted topic, or disagree with their enlightened thought and ideas, or the discourse in general.

If there's one more personal attack from you, against another on this blog, your message(s) will be deleted.

Oh, and please don't retort with something wacky like "free speech rights", or something equally maniacal. When you comment on this blog, consider yourself a guest here. just as I'd have every right to kick a rude and uncooperative guest out of my home, I also have the "right" to delete a comment that I consider a personal attack against another visiting my blog. Just consider this a "house rule" and we'll all get along just fine.

If you can't "play nice" and discuss the topic without attacking others, start your own blog.

Anna Van Z said...

JG, these repug trolls aren't capable of sticking to issues. They have no facts on which to base their parroting points, and lack the intelligence to frame cogent arguments. Hence, the almost instantaneous resort to personal attacks.
They're also too dim to grasp the fact that the so-called "government programs" they're always spouting off about utterly shrivel in comparison to the gigantic welfare packages provided to corporations, entire industries, and the financial/banking grifters who crashed the economy with their criminal con games.
But they never let facts get in their way, no sirree bob!