The right loves to talk about the half of this country not paying income taxes yet they ignore the large corporations who don’t pay taxes despite massive profits. The bottom half of this country earns less than $50,000 in a household. A family of four living in poverty earns less than $23,000 – there are 43 million people living in poverty. So they try to redefine poverty as so luxury lifestyle full of microwaves, coffee makers and cable television.
These are the people who wash your dishes at restaurants. Who clean the offices at night. The one’s who labor all day long just to come home to a family they hope to provide for. Fox News tries to demonize them while making the rich seem like they are life-givers. They call them job creators as though we are supposed to be thankful to them. Yet they refuse to create these jobs “only they have the power to do.”
Basic logic is forgotten. Consumer demand creates jobs. Not tax cuts, breaks or holidays can create the number of jobs we need. The rich can hire people all they want but there is no point when consumers do not have the money to spend.
D.C. is missing that basic logic right now as well. Just take a look at a release from Senator Bernie Sander’s office. From a nice diary over at Daily Kos.
1) Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.
2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.
3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.
4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.
5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.
6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.
7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.
8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.
9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.
10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.
Sanders has called for closing corporate tax loopholes and eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies. He also introduced legislation to impose a 5.4 percent surtax on millionaires that would yield up to $50 billion a year. The senator has said that spending cuts must be paired with new revenue so the federal budget is not balanced solely on the backs of working families.
“We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed,” Sanders said, “but it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, the most vulnerable in this country. The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute. We’ve got to talk about shared sacrifice.”
Are these companies who pay little to no taxes creating jobs? No. They do employ thousands of people but they are hardly hiring. Instead they are sitting on their wealth because there is so little demand out there. It is maddening to see the spin pervade the beltway narrative.
Instead we argue about the deficit from the standpoint of too much spending. That is the easy route because we have to speak in terms of billions and trillions of dollars. The hard way is to realize the federal government has too be that large if we want to provide for our country’s general welfare and national defense. Ugh.
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