30 Major U.S. Corporations Paid More to Lobby Congress Than Income Taxes, 2008-2010
It’s wrong. Our tax code is flawed. Too many loopholes for big corporations who can hire a battery of legal eagles to avoid paying taxes. Not to pick on GE - but it has approx. 1,000 tax experts to comb through complicated tax codes looking for loopholes. As a result, GE paid $0 in taxes last year. In fact the Government actually owed GE money as it managed to get substantial tax relief while earning billions in profits. This puts the burden on everyone else including those of us who cannot and should not be paying even a dime more than what is our due. That’s unfair to most of us. Laws are meant to be fair to all. That’s what is wrong with current taxation policy.
Nobody likes to pay taxes but we all need to. Taxes are bills for the services we receive and while we may debate what services we should keep or eliminate, the tax system should ensure each one of us - including the big corporations - pay the bills. Anything less should not be acceptable.
Though it’s easy to blame the corporations but that’s missing the point. What they do is transparent and quite expected of them given their goal of maximizing shareholder value. So let’s not look for scapegoats and blame the corporations for evading taxes when the laws allow them to. I too work with my tax accountant to reduce my taxes - though I might add - not with much success.
We can complain about the size of government and the high taxes but let’s face it - trimming the government is not going to happen until we as a nation get fiscally conservative for the elected leaders to take tough decisions and reduce wasteful programs - programs that don’t pass the sniff test (I would include Defense budget among spending programs needing a shave). Until then both Democrats and Republicans will continue to run bloated governments with inefficient and ineffective bureaucracies. Bureaucracies that are not doing even the basic minimum.
At the minimum, we need below two fixes:
Scrap current tax code and replace with something simple. So simple that everyone who pays can understand the code without needing a translator (9-9-9 anyone?). I don’t care if it is progressive rate or flat rate - experts can decide what is best.
Send a tax bill that shows a breakdown of all the services we’re currently paying for - similar to an invoice you get when you buy something. As an unintended consequence, that’ll trigger greater public scrutiny of our current spending resulting in better utilization of tax dollars. More on that some other time.
Put these two fixes in place and watch the tax allocation become more proportionate, tax receipts increase and wasteful spending reduce. Until then continue to be shocked by such headlines.
Of the 30 companies analyzed in the report, which include corporate giants such as General Electric, Verizon Communications, Wells Fargo (WFC), Mattel (MAT) and Boeing (BA), 29 of them managed to pay no federal taxes from 2008 to 2010. Only FedEx, which raked in about $4.2 billion in profits during that period, paid a three-year tax rate of 1 percent — totaling $37 million — far less than the statutory federal corporate tax rate of 35 percent.