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April 15, 2011

Happy Tax Day!!

As Washington worries about the United States' growing deficit problem, there's mounting evidence the government is failing to collect taxes from wealthy individuals and corporations.  In honor of the day that individual income tax returns are due to the U.S. Federal government, Michael Moore (through MoveOn.org) sent out an email, which, in part, states:

Do you wonder (like I do) what the tax accountants and executives are doing over at GE this weekend? Frantically rushing to fill out their IRS returns like the rest of us?
Hardly. They're taking the weekend off to throw themselves a big party and have a hearty laugh at all of us. It must really crack them up to see us like suckers scurrying around to make sure we report everything to Uncle Sam—and even send him a check, if necessary.

The joke's on us, folks. GE and tons of other corporations will have a tax bill for 2010 of ZERO. GE had $14.2 billion in profits in 2010. Yet they will contribute NOTHING to the federal government while every last dime is soaked from us.1

In the latest budget deal, our politicians could have tackled the deficit by stopping the flow of these ill-gotten billions to corporations. Instead they cut billions from "wasteful" programs that do "wasteful" things, like create new jobs, drive economic growth, and help the needy and our nation's children. It's Democracy in reverse and it sickens me.

GE spends $20 million a year to lobby Congress to throw themselves this party.2 But do you know what speaks louder than $20 million? 20 million votes! 20 million people, and more, standing together and taking to the streets. That starts now, with you.

Jeffrey Immelt and President Obama
There has been a lot of talk about how General Electric not only failed to pay taxes on $5.1 billion in profits in 2010, but also, they received $3.2 billion tax credit.  According to journalist Tom Ashbrook, in the 1950s, almost a third of federal tax receipts came from corporations. Today, the percentage has been whittled down to approximately 6.6%.  While GE's "innovative" accounting methods allowed it to accrue a $3.2 billion tax benefit in 2010, $833 million in 2009 and $651 million in 2008, they are not the only corporation that escapes U.S. taxes.  Good thing in 2009 GE's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt was appointed as a member to the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board to provide the President and his administration with advice and counsel in fixing America's economic downturn (Having these huge corporations pay their taxes surely would help).  Immelt was also made chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, a newly named panel that President Obama created by executive order in 2011. 

The Citizen's United decision will surely result in an increased lobbying power for corporations, and the trend of global companies avoiding U.S. federal taxes will continue to flourish.  While you're filling out the check to send to Uncle Sam, remember that you are paying for these corporations to profit.  Take a stand and let your voice be heard.