Sunday, March 27, 2011

General Electric (GE), Freeloaders, and the Bush Tax Cuts

Let call a Spade, a Spade...if an individual or a corporation doesn't pay taxes on income or earnings, then they are a "freeloader", because they're getting the benefits of government without paying their fair share.

If I get a $20 donation on this blog through PayPal while getting food stamps from the government, but I don't pay taxes to the IRS on that income, then I'm a freeloader.

If a corporation earns $5 billion and their CEO earns $21 million, and neither the company nor the individual pays any taxes, then they are freeloaders. If that same company lays off 21,000 employees and they all collect unemployment benefits, then they are NOT freeloaders, because THEY paid income taxes on their unemployment insurance benefits.

If a corporation uses a team of expensive lawyers to avoid paying ANY taxes, then the tax laws themselves must be illegal if a large company like GE can "legally" evade and dodge paying any taxes at all. But GE would still be a tax-dodger (a freeloader) because they're getting the benefits of government without paying their fair share.

The big differences between the CEO of GE and the employees who lost their jobs are:
  • The employees suffered financially, whereas the CEO did not.
  • The employees are ashamed, whereas the CEO is not.
  • The employees were vilified as freeloaders, whereas the CEO got a pat on the back.
  • The employees weren't freeloaders, the CEO was.
John Stossel did a piece the other night on Fox News called "Freeloaders". He complained that panhandlers could make up to $100 a day doing absolutely nothing. I once panhandled for spare change, and I can tell you, there's nothing "easy" about standing or sitting outside on the street in the cold begging for money - or being exposed to the hot sun and humidity during the summertime.

Why should Mister Stossel even care if these freeloaders could take in a hundred dollars a day when, even if they did this EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR A WHOLE YEAR, that's only $35,500 a year. I wouldn't say the beggars were getting very rich off of charity - and they would have "earned" every dime they made while braving the elements. They don't receive any company-paid healthcare insurance or free meals, and I doubt that nothing they earn ever goes towards a retirement plan when they get too old to beg. So what's the big deal John?

Let's look at a major U.S. corporation like GE and see who the REAL beggars are.

Last year in 2010 Obama's JOB CZAR (Jeff Immelt) was paid about $1,000 for every job he eliminated at GE as its CEO. He earned $21 million to lay off 21,000 of GE's workers. What did he have to do, besides just sign a company memo?

And he's our JOB CZAR?

And on top of that, his company (GE) made $5 billion in U.S. profits last year, but paid ZERO in federal taxes to our government's treasury. Where is the outrage? Do we need any more proof as to what's been going on in this country? And GE is just the tip of the iceberg; there are many other large corporations that pay little to no corporate taxes - and many actually get money from us in taxpayer-paid subsidies.

New York Times: "Companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less [in corporate taxes]."

And the income tax rate on Jeff Immelt's $21 million personal income is lower than that of a regular worker earning $40,000 a year (only 15% is paid in capital gains taxes on stock-options held for at least one year).

But in all fairness to John Stossel, in his segment he also mentioned corporate welfare as well...I just didn't think he needed to insult us panhandlers to make his story, because that's not the real story at all, and it only draws attention away from the real corporate crimes that have been committed in America.

By contrast, compared to GE's obscene avoidance of corporate duty to the community, I earned less that $10,000 in unemployment benefits last year (just slightly below the government's official definition of the poverty line); but because I had no taxes taken out, I will still owe the IRS money this year. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture? Maybe I should have just panhandled, if anything, just to piss off Mister "Pretty Boy" John Stossel.

All my working life I've worked in union houses with collective bargaining, annual COLAS, and comprehensive healthcare coverage. The companies I worked for, all throughout those years, all grew and expanded (even GE)...BEFORE the Bush Tax Cuts.

So then, why did last December when there was the debate about returning the tax rates back to the pre-Bush era did the GOP use the argument of "uncertainty in the marketplace"? Was GE uncertain about something? Were they wimps and scared of the boogy-man? They wouldn't take a risk and invest unless they were SURE they'd make a huge profit?

After the Bush Tax Cuts, no more jobs were created...instead they were lost and outsourced - and hours were cut, more unions were eliminated, and employer-provided healthcare was dropped. We had record deficits, a housing crash, a stock market crash, and massive layoffs. We had record unemployment, forclousres, bankruptcies, homelessness, and suicides.

If there ever was (or still is) "uncertainty in the marketplace", then how did the value of GE stocks double in value over the last two years alone, while record profits were being made in the stock market - all while bonuses on Wall Street were being handed out like candy on Halloween?

And that was even BEFORE the Bush Tax Cuts were extended - and during the time when Obama's national healthcare bill had been debated and passed. (You need not be a Republican or Democrat to grasp that little tid bit of plain information; just look at a few stock charts on Google Finance and read the discussion forums.)

All throughout those years before the Bush Tax Cuts those corporations all grew and expanded, and they still are...only now many are also making HUGE profits overseas too. Now they're bigger and better than ever, with companies earning record profits and CEOs earning record salaries. That's the only difference BEFORE the Bush Tax Cuts and AFTER the Bush Tax Cuts...corporations and CEOs make more money now. We don't. We lose jobs and we make LESS money (depressed wages and higher cost-of-living).

Before the Bush Tax Cuts we didn't have records deficits, now we do. Before the Bush Tax Cuts we didn't need to slash much needed government services, now we do. Before the Bush Tax Cuts the CEOs were only earning 100 times more than their employees, not 400 times more. Before the Bush Tax Cuts we had a budget surplus, now we don't.

Before the Bush Tax Cuts Americans had the necessary jobs skills, now suddenly we don't. Before the Bush Tax Cuts, we didn't need to be more "mobile", now we do. Before the Bush Tax Cuts we only had 5% unemployment, now we have a real unemployment rate near 14%. Before the Bush Tax Cuts we had a much lower poverty rate too.

Before the Bush Tax Cuts we had a lot less people as a population, but now we have to cut the budget to accommodate the millions more who were born AFTER the Bush Tax Cuts. By the nature of population growth, we have "bigger government", but after the Bush Tax Cuts we're suppose to run a much larger government with much less tax revenues - to have a "smaller government".

Before the Bush Tax Cuts we didn't have the problems we have now, but the Republicans not only insisted that we continue the Bush Tax Cuts, but they also want to make them permanent - and now they even want to cut corporate, estate, and capital gains taxes even more...maybe eliminate them completely!

So then, just exactly what does the GOP want to cut from the budget, besides just what ordinary Americans pay for with payroll taxes, not as the uber-rich (sometimes) pay in corporate, estate, and capital gains taxes? And with permanent tax cuts for the rich, does the GOP also want permanent poverty, permanently declining tax revenues, and to have America be a permanent third world country?

The richest 2% (with their Bush Tax Cuts) are no better than the despots in the Middle East and North Africa, hoarding the wealth and reducing the majority of their populations to poor beggars..."freeloaders"...panhandlers.

It's being reported in the news that the U.S. government froze billions of dollars in assets of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi because it wasn't HIS money, but that of the Libyan people - money that Gaddafi acquired through the sale of the nation's oil reserves.

But if Americans rose up in rebellion, and an outside military force and government came in to support them, would the assets of Exxon-Mobile be frozen and returned to "the people" of this country as well?

If that were the case, why don't Americans also share in our own country's natural resources (such as oil), but instead pay oil companies to explore and drill it - and then sell it back to us for enormous and continuing record profits? Why are a few corporate oil executives (and commodity speculators) allowed to enrich themselves with taxpayer-paid oil subsidies like Muammar Gaddafi? Why not nationalize the oil companies, and sell the energy to American citizens (and companies) at COST? That would be great for the economy - even for GE too!

And wouldn't it also be better to eliminate the oil speculators altogether unless they can actually prove that they can - and will - take a future delivery of oil, instead of just driving up the prices to enrich Wall Street mobsters? And maybe we should drill instead of buying Gaddafi's oil, then maybe we wouldn't need to spend billions of dollars in another war over there today.

And with the present taxpayer-paid oil subsidies, aren't the oil companies by de facto already nationalized? Don't we really already own them...and doesn't the nation's oil belong to us, just like the mountains, lakes, and rivers? Then why have a few corporate oil executives been profiteering and flying around the globe in their private jets and buying mansions while we have to apply for food stamps?

Before the Bush Tax Cuts (and before Ronald Reagan's elimination of the oil companies Windfall Profits Tax), America was a much more fiscally sound country when the U.S. Dollar was once worth something. Now it's a junk bond because we are in debt and create money out of thin air - and the uber-rich no longer have to pay their fair share of taxes...thanks all to the GOP.

We need both: More taxes AND more budget cuts. But just tax the rich, who only hoard the wealth, not share it. Middle-class Americans use their tax cuts...they spend their money to stimulate the economy. Many times they are forced to spend more, just to keep up with the cost-of-living. Does the CEO of GE ever have to worry about the cost of HIS elecricity going higher?

Read - Plutocracy: GE Doesn't Pay Taxes -- Taxpayers Pay GE

Cut the budget, but not from where the most needy Americans would benefit, but cut the waste fraud, abuse, and corruption in such places as the $700 billion annual military budget...something we should have done LONG BEFORE the Bush Tax Cuts, but something we can still do now.

And cut out ALL the damn corporate welfare from ALL those sleazy corporate freeloaders too!

Before the Bush Tax Cuts we could afford to buy gold.

Since the Bush Tax Cuts, between April 2001 and April 2010, gold has surged more than threefold in value against the U.S. dollar. Today the price of gold is at an all-time high, but only the uber-rich (and Glenn Beck) can buy gold as an investment. OUR money is spent on rent, heat, and bread. We put OUR money back into the economy. When was the last time an ounce gold (that was just collecting dust at Fort Knox) ever created a real job? Do we even have any gold left in Fort Knox? Or was that looted too?

But if you're the CEO of a company like GE, you won't need gold...because like most other big corporations, you can grow money on trees...or on the backs of everyone else. But as the best freeloader of the year, GE need not worry about "certainty in the market place".

1 comment:

  1. And yet he defends their zero tax bill...