The people are not going down without a fight. In fact, what started with Occupy Wall Street and protests in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan has ignited the American spirit. The latest proof of this was this morning in Detroit, Michigan as hundreds of protesters marched during a GE shareholders meeting, demanding that GE pay its fair share of taxes.
The Occupy Detroit protesters bought one share of GE stock in order to gain access to the meeting. Dozens were escorted out of the meeting, but the protests were peaceful.
The protesters carried signs and chanted “pay your fair share,” while GE executives defended the company as paying what the law says they need to pay. The rally was organized in part by the SEIU.
GE’s Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin said, “We absolutely are compliant with every law around the world in how we pay our taxes. Our U.S. tax expense last year was $2.6 billion. We are a large taxpayer, we pay our taxes and we very much support tax reform.”
However, Citizens for Tax Justice found that “Over the past decade, GE has paid virtually nothing in federal income taxes, paying a paltry 2.3% tax rate on its $83 billion in pretax U.S. profits.”
Talk about clueless corporate shills; lawful does not necessarily imply fairness. Think Progress reported that Citizens for Tax Justice found that “last year 30 major corporations had made billions of dollars in profits while paying no federal income tax between 2008 and 2010. Today, CTJ updated that report to reflect the 2011 tax bill of those 30 companies, and 26 of them have still managed to pay absolutely nothing over that four year period.”
If corporations thought Occupy went to sleep over the long winter, they were wrong. Occupy is not going away, and they’ve learned a lot from their successful protests. They know how to make their voices heard now. They want fairness. That’s all. Just a little fairness.
It’s ironic that on the same day as this protest was being held in Detroit, organizers who managed to defy the odds in order to get 203,238 signatures to put the Emergency Manager Law on the ballot were fighting in Lansing. Apparently, they were told that they used the wrong font size on the petitions. Tomorrow, the Michigan Board of Canvassers will determine if font size alone is enough to defy democracy.