Archive for corporate tax rate

Bernie Sanders: You can't fix the economy simply by shredding the safety net

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GOP it's not about you

What oh what would we Progressives do without Bernie Sanders? In today's Los Angeles Times, he wrote an op-ed laying out in very clear detail how to make wise choices about how to fix the economy.

Sanders, thankfully, is a member of a budget panel composed of Democratic, Republican and independent Senate and House members doing what they can, supposedly, to avoid another GOP government shutdown.

Senator Sanders explains how to move forward (as opposed to the same old backward, destructive GOP ideas), and how we managed to go from healthy surpluses to (unnecessary) deficits.

He reminds us that by the end of President Clinton's presidency, we had a a $236-billion surplus, and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted a 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, meaning we could have erased the national debt by 2011.

Too bad Republicans screwed that up.

And of course, they're blaming President Obama for the horrible outcomes of their horrible policies and horrible obstruction. Here's how it really went down:

  • GW Bush's Afghanistan and Iraq wars were not paid for.
  • Those wars cost us up to $6 trillion.
  • Those wars were put on our national credit card.
  • Bush signed Congress's costly prescription drug bill.
  • That costly prescription drug program was not paid for either.
  • Bush and Congress gave big fat tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
  • As a result, revenue went down.
  • The 2008 recession, caused by the deregulation of Wall Street, also caused revenue to drop.
  • Big fat surpluses turned into big fat deficits.

tadaa3Now gather 'round kiddies, because it's Hypocrisy Time!

Yay

Interestingly, today's "deficit hawks" in Congress — Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and other conservative Republicans — voted for those measures that drove up deficits. Now that they're worried about deficits again, they want to dismantle virtually every social program designed to protect working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor.

In other words, it's OK to spend trillions on a war we should never have waged in Iraq and to provide huge tax breaks for billionaires and multinational corporations.

booo

Sanders goes on to say that austerity doesn't work, because it clearly hurts those who are already suffering.

Instead of talking about cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, we must end the absurdity of corporations not paying a nickel in federal income taxes. [...]

At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.

He also thinks it would be a swell idea if Congress members started, you know, listening to the American people, especially because so many polls show that we don't want cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

In fact, according to a recent National Journal poll, 81% do not want to cut Medicare at all, 76% do not want to cut Social Security at all, and 60% do not want to cut Medicaid at all. Other polls make it clear that Americans believe that the wealthiest among us and large corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.

So, Republicans (and even some Dems), how about paying more attention to us, the voters, instead of trying to grab it all for yourselves? It's not about you. It's about all of us. It's about We the People.

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ENTIRE VIDEO: Pres. Obama speaks in Chattanooga, Tenn., scoffs at #Keystone, at GOP for having no jobs plan

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Obama Chattanooga Tennesse middle class jobs speech

President Obama's speech starts at about 22:50.

He spoke at an Amazon distribution center in Chattanooga, Tennessee on his "grand bargain" proposal. Despite the GOP's pre-emptive rejection of his ideas, he's trying to break the gridlock over the deficit by cutting corporate tax rates in exchange for job investment to help the middle class.

He suggested boosting natural gas production (as well as solar and wind energy) as long as we "protect our air and our water." Elaborate, please, Mr. President, because fracking is already hurting our air and our water.

And then he came to my favorite part:

I am laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot in a 21st-century economy. Now it’s time for Republicans to lay out theirs. If they’ve got a better plan to bring back more manufacturing jobs, or create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure for the long run, or help workers earn the high-tech skills our businesses demand, let’s hear ‘em. But gutting protections for our air and water isn’t a jobs plan. Gutting investments in things like education and energy isn’t a jobs plan. Putting all your eggs in the basket of an oil pipeline that may only create about 50 permanent jobs, and wasting the country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal Obamacare isn’t a jobs plan.

Waitwhat? Did he just imply that he may very well reject the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline disaster-in-waiting project? Oh pleaseohplease make it so.

And the mockitude of the GOP was entertaining, too.

Here are a few more excerpts from the speech as written:

We’ve seen a faction of Republicans in Congress hurt a fragile recovery by suggesting they wouldn’t pay the very bills Congress rang up, and threaten to shut down the people’s government if they can’t shut down Obamacare. Then, rather reduce our deficits with a scalpel in a way that promotes growth – by cutting programs we don’t need, fixing ones we do, and making government more efficient – this same group has left in place a meat cleaver called “the sequester” that harms growth, hurts our military, and guts the investments in education, science, and medical research we need to make this country a magnet for good jobs.

So here’s the bottom line: I’m willing to work with Republicans on reforming our corporate tax code, as long as we use the money from transitioning to a simpler tax system for a significant investment in creating middle-class jobs. That’s the deal. [...]

[From the delivered speech, off script:] I get it, I'm not popular in Tennessee. But I've run my last campaign, so I don't need to spin. The truth is...  [and then he went back on script]...

The very last part of the speech got a lot of cheers. Check it out.

mitch mcconnell gridlock obstruction

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"I love the president, but I love my mama more."

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I love my mama

At Netroots Nation, I learned a lot by attending a number of panels and seminars, and I came away with some invaluable insights and information that I'd love to share with you. Specifically, I'd like to impart what I learned about the continuing battle over corporate tax breaks and loopholes. This is not so much about us vs. "the rich" as it is about the inequality resulting from the measly 9% of federal revenue that corporations pay in. Not 35%... but nine.

Now it's true that about a third do pay their share of taxes, but the other two-thirds? Not so much. So while, say, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tears up and swearstogod it "cares" about small businesses, they're actually catering to Big Biz at the expense of those they claim to care so much about.

And as Big Corporations whine and cry about having to cough up tax money on the billions they rake in (again, they pay next to no taxes, if any), well, let's compare that sob story to how Head Start, Social Security, and Medicare are doing. Let's compare that sob story to those who really do without: The poor, the elderly, the sick, the hungry. Aww, poor corporations... they get so angsty about parting with what they owe, but the rest of us, including those precious small businesses, can barely survive. Talk about hypocrisy. (Talkin' to you, too, GOP.)

What we need is campaign finance reform. What we need is to get this debate started in a big way. What we need is to stop shipping jobs overseas. What we need is to close corporate tax loopholes. What we need is to invest in jobs right here in the good old USA (crumbling infrastructure ring a bell?). What we need is to hire more American workers. What we need is for G.E., Verizon, Apple, et al to continue to make their huge profits but then pay what they actually owe, to contribute their fair share like the rest of us do. What we need is for Republican Congress members, and even some Dems, to pay attention to what voters want (see charts below).

Maybe if Big Corps would stop playing the role of Benedict Arnold and start acting like the Americans they purport to sustain, maybe if they started acting like authentically "real Americans," they could help turn this sluggish economy around.

Here's an idea: Want to do something patriotic, Big Biz? Bring the money home. Stop cutting jobs, and start creating them right here in the United States. How about starting to do that, oh I dunno, right around the Fourth of July? Wouldn't that be festive?

july 4th animated gif

And then there's that pesky chained CPI issue. Remember that? Via Strengthen Social Security:

Some politicians in Washington are preparing to cut your Social Security COLA [Cost Of Living Adjustment] for good–even after two years without getting a COLA. This COLA cut has an obscure name: chained-CPI. But it would do real damage by changing the formula used to calculate the COLA. Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • It’s a benefit cut. It’s not some minor technical change to the COLA. It’s a real cut to the benefits you have earned every year into the future.

  • It cuts benefits more with every passing year. After 10 years, your benefits would be cut by about $500 a year for the average retiree. After 20 years, your benefits would be cut by about $1,000 a year.

  • It hits today’s Social Security beneficiaries. Politicians like to say that their cuts to Social Security will not affect those getting benefits today. Wrong! Switching to the chained-CPI would hit all current beneficiaries.

  • We need a higher COLA, not a lower one. The current COLA is not large enough–it does not adequately account for large health care cost increases faced by seniors and people with disabilities.

And President Obama has indicated support for that. Seriously. To quote a public official who I greatly admire, "I love the president, but I love my mama more."

chart corporate taxes

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Facebook made $1.1 billion in profits in 2012, paid zero corporate income tax, will get over $425 million in refunds

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unfriended

I do not like Facebook. I do not like Facebook with a passion. I wish I could delete my account, but we use it for sharing our Political Carnival blog posts, and we get such positive feedback (meaning people thank us) that we continue to post there.

I could even give up FB access to my family and friends, although it wouldn't be easy, which is exactly what I plan to do if and when my association with TPC, or the site itself, ceases to exist.

Why? There are so many reasons, among them the constant frustration with glitches, privacy issues, and the increasingly user-unfriendliness. Facebook used to be fun and welcoming, but now it's, well, too big to bail.

Here's another reason now! One that just broke!

FB attacked

And just when I thought I couldn't get more exasperated, this new report from Citizens for Tax Justice made me seethe all over again:

Earlier this month, the Facebook Inc. released its first “10-K” annual financial report since going public last year. Hidden in the report’s footnotes is an amazing admission: despite $1.1 billion in U.S. profits in 2012, Facebook did not pay even a dime in federal and state income taxes.

Instead, Facebook says it will receive net tax refunds totaling $429 million.

Facebook’s income tax refunds stem from the company’s use of a single tax break, the tax deductibility of executive stock options. That tax break reduced Facebook’s federal and state income taxes by $1,033 million in 2012, including refunds of earlier years’ taxes of $451 million

Think Progress notes that "this tax preference for corporations costs the U.S. about $2 billion in revenue per year."

And the wealth gap widens...

As does my dis-"like" of Facebook.

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VIDEO- Robert Gibbs: President Obama is “100% committed” to doing away with Bush tax cuts

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Bush's tax cuts haven't worked, yet Willard Romney wants even more cuts, including to corporations many which don't pay any taxes and haven't for years:

Corporate taxes in the U.S., contrary to the constant protestations of conservatives, are at a 40 year low, with many of the most profitable companies paying nothing at all. CTJ noted that “had these 30 companies paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate over the 2008-11 period, they would have paid $78.3 billion more in federal income taxes.”

And now former Obama Press Secretary and current adviser Robert Gibbs is stating definitively that President Obama is “100% committed” to not extending, even temporarily, tax cuts to the wealthy "who quite frankly don’t need them."

As Think Progress notes, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also confirmed that a temporary extension is out of the question, and President Obama will not support one: The president "will not. Could I be more clear?

No, you couldn't. Thank you.

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Big No-Tax Corps Still Making Billions in Profits

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(click on image to enlarge)

Citizens for Tax Justice puts to rest all those GOP talking points about the big bad government forcing the poor wittle corporations to pay all those high taxes.

As Think Progress points out, "Corporate taxes in the U.S., contrary to the constant protestations of conservatives, are at a 40 year low, with many of the most profitable companies paying nothing at all."

In fact, all but four of the 30 companies remained in the no-federal-income-tax category over the 2008-11 period. Over the four years:

  • 26 of the 30 companies continued to enjoy negative federal income tax rates. That means they still made more money after tax than before tax over the four years!
  • Of the remaining four companies, three paid four year effective tax rates of less than 4 percent (specifically, 0.2%, 2.0% and 3.8%). One company paid a 2008-11 tax rate of 10.9 percent.
  • In total, 2008-11 federal income taxes for the 30 companies remained negative, despite $205 billion in pretax U.S. profits. Overall, they enjoyed an average effective federal income tax rate of –3.1 percent over the four years.

“These big, profitable corporations are continuing to shift their tax burden onto average Americans,” said Citizens for Tax Justice director Bob McIntyre. “

The entire report is here, including more charts.

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VIDEO: "It is a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it."

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...Our corporate tax rate last year, effectively, in terms of taxes paid for the United States, was around 12 percent, which is well below those existing in most of the industrialized countries around the world. So it is a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it...

The GOP panacea is to cut cut cut spending, and of course, cut corporate taxes to the bone. They're so presh, aren't they? It's almost as if they think they have solutions that would help this country's struggling economy.

They don't.

Nor do they care. This is about killing any constructive plan that the president offers up so that they can destroy any chance he has to win a second term. America first!

Think Progress adds:

During the interview, Buffett also responded to Gov. Chris Christie’s pronouncement that Buffett should just “write a check and shut up,” instead of calling for higher taxes on the rich. It’s sort of a touching response to a $1.2 trillion deficit isn’t it? That somehow the American people will just all send in checks and that’ll take care of it,” Buffett said.

Bingo.

And Chris? Write a check and shut up.

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