I live in the Alabama part of Pennsylvania, to make reference to James Carville’s famous quote about the state, and the conservative nature of the region means that many residents are reflexively critical of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests and its derivatives.
The protest is considered a “liberal” movement or “anti-capitalist,” and the protesters are labeled as “lazy and disgruntled people who should get a job” or slackers “looking for another handout.”
The critics seems to believe that if you have a job, pay your bills (or at least most of them), want lower taxes, and work hard, then you’re part of the elite 1%, not one of those whiners who protest because things aren’t going their way.
The average, hard-working American is anything but part of the 1%. The Fortune 500 companies who pay no taxes, on the other hand, are clearly in the 1%.
A ThinkProgress article highlights the inconceivable amount of corporate greed that is driving the country toward a direction of cutting life-changing benefits like Social Security and Medicare while the ultra-rich pay no taxes, or even get tax rebates after not paying taxes:
Seventy-eight of the 280 companies paid zero or less in federal income taxes in at least one year from 2008 to 2010…In the years they paid no income tax, these companies earned $156 billion in pretax U.S. profits. But instead of paying $55 billion in income taxes as the 35 percent corporate tax rate seems to require, these companies generated so many excess tax breaks that they reported negative taxes (often receiving outright tax rebate checks from the U.S. Treasury), totaling $21.8 billion. These companies’ “negative tax rates” mean that they made more after taxes than before taxes in those no-tax years.
The article also points out that 30 of the 280 companies examined paid no cumulative taxes during the three-year stretch. It wasn’t a one-year aberration; not paying taxes is standard operating procedure.
In other words, these large corporations think that it’s fair for you to pay for police services, infrastructure, social programs, and everything else that the government does for all of us (including the rich) as long as they don’t have to.
The typical Republican talking point of taxing corporations being a job-killer cannot possibly apply to the large and hugely successful corporations. These 30 companies had profits of $160,000,000,000 (160 billion) dollars during the three years. Jobs will not be lost if rightful taxes are paid.
It’s a sad statement about the country that Americans run to the side of these unpatriotic corporations simply because they don’t like those protesting the unfair tax system, whether it’s because of perceived political affiliation of the protesters or because of the social, religious, or gun-control views of the protesters.
We should all support what makes sense to all of us, such as fighting corporate welfare, and debate the other topics at another time. It could mean the difference between social security and poverty in the decades to come, even for those who think that the OWS protesters are worthless.
(Image from Janesville Gazette)