Was there any surprise on Tuesday when the results of a new Bloomberg analysis were announced and it stated that the largest United States based companies increased their amount of offshore cash by a whopping $183 billion dollars last year.
In plain English some of the biggest and most recognizable brands in the world, let alone this country continued to go out of their way to avoid paying corporate taxes.
Microsoft, Apple, and Google alone are deciding to take $135 billion and stash it in Monaco or The Cayman Islands or who the hell knows, rather than have that money go to public schools or the restoration of America’s roads and bridges.
General Electric is the biggest ingrate by far however, the company once run by Jack Welch, the man who epitomizes the term “greedy bastard” says it’s going keep $108 billion in profits away from American veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and children who barely get enough to eat in their school lunches. What are the odds MSNBC, which is owned by GE will make any kind of mention of this.
Millionaires and Corporations fleeing their home country to avoid paying taxes is nothing new, but is something that has increased over time.
In 2007 the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimated that global capital held in offshore accounts totaled somewhere between $5 trillion and $7 trillion US dollars. As mind boggling as that figure sounds, A 2012 report by Tax Justice Network estimated those same figures to now be somewhere between $21 trillion and $32 trillion US dollars.
By using tax shelters GE is basically acknowledging that they don’t understand how good they have it. Despite earning billions in profit between 2002 and 2011 the “We bring good things to life” people paid an average tax rate of just 1.8% while simultaneously having CEO Jeff Immelt take to the public airwaves and complain about the American Tax Code.
“The system is old, complex, and uncompetitive, and has had a huge negative impact on the economy.” Because as we all know Immelt and his colleagues have been forced to stand in breadlines and haven’t been able to live out their own real time episodes of “Lifestyles of The Rich and Famous.”
If you were still hopeful that there were some members of Congress who were not bought by big business well unfortunately there aren’t enough Bernie Sanderses to go around. Members of both parties and chambers are wooed on a daily basis by lobbyists and representatives of big corporations and ninety percent of the time they succumb to the overtures.
Democrats like Sanders are few and far between, in part because some talk a good game about reeling in Wall Street and Corporations and yet when the time comes they suddenly disappear (talking to you Chuck Schumer).
In 2009 the Democratic Governor’s Association raked in $12 million alone from corporate donations. Nowhere on planet earth does anyone giveaway that kind of money without expecting something in return. So with that money comes ridiculous talk and possible legislation regarding tax holidays for corporations, while working class people struggle from week to week.
Until there is a Presidential Administration that is serious about taking Corporate America to task for it’s greed and not a group of people whose biographies are littered with ties to big business. The United States will continue to live the groundhog days of “Too Big To Fail” and corporate bailouts.
So Congrats GE, Google, and all of the rest, Paul Ryan’s budget doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but tax shelters make it so that it doesn’t matter to you guys.