Friday, April 5, 2013

The Real March Madness: Part Deux

The Real March Madness: Where does all our money go?

I have chosen to look at 15 of the largest U.S. Corporations that have effectively stopped paying taxes. These Corporations are, at the same time, cutting jobs across the board using the current “sequestration” and the Depression as an excuse. It's time for the corporate sector to report their first-quarter earnings.  windfall profits. So, why don't our biggest corporations pay more taxes?
Because they don’t have to: thanks to our wonderful Corporate Tax Structure. The real March madness is here, and my personal bracket for the “f-you fifteen” is as follows.
1.      General Electric: The worst tax record  with $81 billion in profits and a $3 billion refund.
2.      Boeing: $21.5 billion in profits in addition to receiving a refund.
3.      Exxon Mobil: Made $??? , by far the largest profits in the group, but paid less than 1% in U.S. taxes.
4.      Verizon: Second worst tax record, with a refund despite $48 billion in profits.
5.      Kraft Foods: Received a refund (bailout) from the public despite $13.5 billion in profits.
6.      Citigroup: One of the five big banks who are estimated to get a bailout/refund from the American public amounting to three cents from every tax dollar.
7.      Dow Chemical: Received a refund despite almost $10 billion in profits.
8.      IBM: Paid less than 3% in taxes.
9.      Chevron: A meager 4.3% tax rate and a share of oil subsidies.
10.  FedEx: The company paid less than 5% in federal taxes while relying on the publicly-funded Post Office to deliver thirty percent of its ground packages.
11.  Honeywell: Less than 6% in taxes.
12.  Apple: Where to begin? They are among the leaders in using what is termed  "Double Irish" to transfer profits from  around the World to Europe then, to Bermuda,
13.  Pfizer: Cash rich and one of the leaders in stockpiling untaxed profits overseas.
14.  Google: Along with Apple, a  master at the "Double Irish" revenue shift to Bermuda tax havens. Recognized as one of the world's biggest tax avoiders.
15.  Microsoft: Named as one of the biggest offshore hoarders. [1]

Since 2008, these Corporations have, for practical purposes, stopped paying their taxes. But, as business got better and their stock values went through the roof, they never even tried to restore their tax obligations. (Dow Jones Industrial Average in January, 2009 = 8,000.86: Dow Jones Industrial Average in January, 2013 = 13,860.58) The shareholders were getting richer. Corporate upper management was getting a lot richer. And, the stock brokers were getting filthy rich. Is there any thought given to Social, Moral, or Ethical standards? Apparently not!
Who wins at this game? No one wins this game in the long run. Financially they do (in the short term), but the gains are outweighed by the greed and irresponsibility of tax avoidance. All these companies use our infrastructure, technology, research facilities, higher education and national defense to build incomparably successful businesses. They do everything in their power to avoid paying anything back, using write-offs, exemptions, and loopholes to cut their tax bills to almost nothing. On top of all that, some of them get whopping Tax Refunds and juicy Government Subsidies to line their greedy little pockets.

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