13 Mindblowing Facts About America's Tax-Dodging Corporations
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A judicious writer avoids adjectives like "mindblowing," especially when covering political or economic issues. But no other word seems to describe the stunning reality of corporate taxation in modern America, which cries out for the italics-heavy, exclamation-point-driven format made famous by Ripley's Believe It or Not.
Stylistic overkill? Read these thirteen facts and you may change your mind.
1. We're told we can't "afford" full Social Security benefits, even though closing corporate tax-haven loopholes would pay for Obama's "chained CPI" benefit cut more than ten times over!
Abusive offshore tax havens cost the US $150 billion in lost tax revenue every year (via FACT Coalition). That's $1.5 trillion over the next ten years.
The "chained CPI" cut, proposed by President Obama and supported by Republicans, is projected to "save" a total of $122 billion to $130 billion over the same time period by denying benefits to seniors and disabled people.
It's true. "Serious" politicians and pundits are demanding that ordinary people sacrifice earned benefits, while at the same time allowing corporations to avoid more than ten times as much in taxes.
2. Corporate tax rates are near their 60-year low, even though profits are at a 60-year high!
Need we say more?
(Source: Americans for Tax Fairness.)
3. Wells Fargo got $8 billion in tax breaks, even as executives at its subsidiary Wachovia avoided indictment for laundering money for the Mexican drug cartels!
That's right. Wells Fargo paid a negative tax rate of -1.4 percent between 2008 and 2010 while Wachovia, a Wells Fargo subsidiary, admitted to laundering more than $378 billion for Mexican drug gangs.
We're talking about crazed killers like "El Loco" and gangs like "Los Zetas" - gangs who cut people's heads off and toss them out onto disco dance floors or display them in the town square.
Wachovia bankers ignored repeated warnings from law enforcement officials, and continued to launder money for cartels that have murdered tens of thousands.
And yet no criminal indictments were handed down because, as a Senate investigator told Bloomberg News, ""There's no capacity to regulate or punish them because they're too big to be threatened with failure."
4. Some other huge corporations paid less than nothing, too.
Pepco Holdings (-57.6 percent tax rate)
General Electric (-45.3 percent)
DuPont (-3.4 percent)
Verizon (-2.9 percent)
Boeing (-1.8 percent)
Honeywell (-0.7 percent)
(Source: Citizens for Tax Justice)
5. The amount of money US corporations are holding offshore is an estimated 1.6 trillion dollars!
Rather than tax these profits the way other countries do, corporate politicians are promoting a tax "repatriation" break that would let corporations "bring this money home" while paying even less than their currently low rates.
They tried that in 2004 and it didn't create any jobs. In fact, corporations took the tax break and then fired thousands of people. What "repatriation" did do is line a lot of wealthy investors' pockets.
So, naturally, they want to do it again.
6. One building in the Cayman Islands is the official location of 18,857 corporations!
According to the Government Accountability Office, a five-story building called "Ugland House" is home to nearly twenty thousand corporations. That's impressive, especially for such a small edifice. (Perhaps it has supernatural half-floors and space-time defying "mind tunnels" like the office in Being John Malkovich. )
While impressive, Ugland House's distinction pales next to that of 1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington, Delaware. According to one investigation, that address is home to 217,000 corporations .