We all know by now that GE didn’t pay even a penny of taxes. We know other corporations are also guilty of defrauding the American people out of their hard-earned tax dollars. Apparently you can be a citizen, as the Supreme Court recently ruled corporations are, yet pay no taxes. The Tea Party cries about “class warfare” and “redistribution of wealth” but both of those are more than acceptable as long as they’re not aimed at the wealthy or at corporations. It is on our backs – average American citizens – that the weight must fall.
At the same time, we’re being told that immigrants are (warning: National Socialist comparison here) parasites, a danger to the health of the country. These people, we are assured – these brown people – are not only an infection we must fight off but they’re freeloaders, sucking the wealth out of our country, receiving our money as entitlements while they wile away the hours apparently relaxing and enjoying themselves.
So who are the real parasites?
Bernie Sanders has recently provided us with a list of “corporate freeloaders”:
- Exxon Mobil’s 2009 profits totaled $19 billion, yet according to its SEC filings, the company received a $156 million rebate from the IRS plus it didn’t pay any federal taxes.
- Bank of America made $4.4 billion in profits last year. This was after it received a $1 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, and a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS.
- General Electric has made $26 billion in profits in the United States over the past five years. It’s also received a $4.1 billion tax refund from the IRS. GE has cut a fifth of its American jobs in the past nine years, and is boosting jobs overseas – where tax rates are lower. And where it can continue evading U.S. taxes.
- Chevron’s IRS refund last year totaled $19 million but it’s 2009 profits came to a whopping $10 billion.
- Boeing received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers. It also received a $124 million refund from the IRS.
- Valero Energy made $68 billion in sales and received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS. Over the past three years, it has received a $134 million tax break thanks to the oil and gas manufacturing tax reduction.
- Goldman Sachs paid 1.1% of its 2009 income in taxes. Yet it made a profit of $2.3 billion. And guess how much it received from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department? $800 billion.
- Citigroup profits last year totaled more than $4 billion. But it paid zero dollars in federal income tax, and received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.
- ConocoPhillips profits from 2007 through 2009 totaled $16 billion. But it was still awarded $461 million in tax arrears because of the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.
- Carnival Cruise Lines is apparently getting pretty good business. Its profits over the past five years totaled more than $1.1 billion. It’s federal income tax rate, however, came to just 1.1%.
So who is it? Corporations or immigrants?
According to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (itepnet.org), undocumented workers paid billions in state and local taxes last year. GE, remember, paid NOTHING. Though conservatives will likely put ITEP alongside FactCheck and PolitiFact as liberal propaganda machines, ITEP is, as the NY Daily News reports, “a prestigious, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that works on federal, state and local tax policy issues.”
So just to recapitulate: GE, which earned $14.2 billion last year, paid ZERO taxes. These hardworking immigrants (and I do mean hardworking – some of them work 2 or 3 or more jobs) paid $11.2 billion in taxes. It’s a fair guess none of them enjoy the lifestyle of any of the heads of the above-named companies on Bernie Sanders’ list of shame.
And just to recapitulate: GE has laid off 21,000 American workers between 2007 and 2009. And that’s not all: it’s also closed 20 factories. Currently more than half its workforce is outside the United States.
All the while we are assured that the immigrants have to go. Sounds to me like perhaps it’s the corporations that should go. Their sins have been made manifest: They’ve already shipped millions of jobs overseas and are busy breaking up the unions that protect workers from abuse and are trying to steal our retirements from us. We’ve already seen that Koch Industries are even telling their employees how to vote.
Immigrants are suddenly not looking very much like a threat.
The average employee hopes for a tiny 2% increase in his wage each year as corporations struggle to lower wages, while the people running those corporations into the ground pull in mega-bonuses of sometimes over 100% of their yearly salary, not to mention huge salary increases in the tens of percent before laying off that worker before he can get that measly 2% raise. What is it that’s supposed to be trickling down again?
Looks warm, wet and yellow to me, rather than dry and green and sporting a picture of a president.
The states benefiting most from these immigrants are California, Texas, Florida, and New York. Maybe that’s why Governor Cuomo feels like he can peel back the taxes paid by the rich. The NY Daily News has reported that,
Gov. Cuomo has announced the so-called millionaires tax will not be renewed once it expires in December, although since it was established in 2009 it has brought in as much as $5 billion annually.
Let the undocumented workers carry the weight. That’s what those brown-skinned people are there for, isn’t it, when they’re not cleaning your house or weeding your garden for you rich folks?
I think you see which direction the class warfare is pointed, and it’s not at the wealthy.
This let them eat cake attitude of Republicans and Tea Partiers is aimed at the heart of America, at it’s very soul. ITEP says,
“[These] immigrants – and their family members – are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers and entrepreneurs as well.”
Are America’s rich, Wall Street tycoons and corporate industrialists doing anything remotely similar? They’re sure not paying taxes, and their only relationship with workers seems to be how best to screw them over. The only thing they’re consuming is our tax dollars in bailouts and subsidies (those same tax dollars they don’t pay but which we – and those immigrants – do).
President Obama said in February, “Simplify, eliminate loopholes, treat everybody fairly.” I think its past time we start actually doing that, but before we can, we have to come face to face with some brutal realities many Americans (conservatives in particular but also some liberals) would prefer to ignore, including the fact that corporations are not our benefactors; undocumented workers are not leaches; and that we need corporate tax reform every bit as much as we need immigration reform.
In the end, it is not brown-skinned immigrants who are leaching America’s life and soul but rich white men. The great and abiding irony is that as fast as the undocumented workers arrive those rich white men ship the jobs they’re looking for overseas, in the process turning themselves into a new class of feudal magnates and we – undocumented workers and citizens alike – into a new class of serfs supporting lifestyles that would put King Midas to shame.