Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you probably have been hearing a great deal about the “fiscal cliff” our Congress devised to force budget balancing measures. Like many, I have been a big proponent of raising taxes back to pre-Reagan era levels for people with incomes over $250,000. And that’s what I thought we re-elected Obama to do.
But Green Party leader Jill Stein echoes my disillusionment when she says in her latest blog on the Green Party website, “As Obama’s second term begins, he’s again undermining the progressive base, paving the way for more austerity, disparities, war and corporate power.”
Now that I’ve seen the US Uncut organization’s film, We’re Not Broke, I am angrier than ever about our national debt situation, but seeing a new strategy for correcting the problem. To heck with trying to extract enough taxes out of the people, even people who individually earn a lot of money. To heck with spending cuts. If only we collected what major corporations should rightfully be paying, we would have a budget surplus and no need to cut spending.
I urge you to watch this well-researched film and see for yourself how, since the 1960′s and particularly in the last 25 years, major corporations have gamed the system to move their profits to offshore tax shelters. Then they lobby Congress for a special “holiday” every few years so they can bring their profits home without paying the full tax rate.
The result is most major corporations pay a much lower effective tax rate than you and I do. Lower than people earning poverty level wages. The average is 5 – 10%, but sometimes their tax rate is even a negative amount, i.e., the IRS paid a refund.
GE is only one of the monster companies you may have heard about in the news, because in 2010 they paid no taxes AT ALL. Their well-oiled PR machine told the public, “We follow the rules and do our taxes just like you do. Sometimes, we’re owed a refund, too. Would you want someone to deny your refund?” (my paraphrase of the message I heard). Apparently, we bought that line, because the story died.
The money involved here is mind-staggeringly huge. Enough to balance the budget. Enough to keep all programs funded. All we need is the political will to say to our President and Congress, “We’re not broke! Now go and make these companies pay their fair share.”
Whether liberal, conservative, or somewhere in the middle, we all need to be concerned about what is happening to our country. Unless we can break the cycle of big money influence on Congress, we are perpetuating a dangerous downward spiral of national decline. Under this system, the rich will continue to get richer and the poor will continue to get poorer.
I will be writing to the President and my elected officials in Washington, urging them to double down on their efforts to close loopholes that allow corporations to rob us of our future. Even better still would be a full-scale tax reform.
I think the American public should insist, “No spending cuts until the corporations are paying their fare share.” Won’t you join me in making that a rallying cry for our citizens?
You can watch We’re Not Broke free on Hulu now through April 15 by following this link: http://www.hulu.com/watch/442931
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