"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

How the present tax code doesn’t work

General Electric is one of the biggest corporations in the U.S., possible the biggest. They made news by reporting a profit of 14 billion dollars for last year . . . and paying zero income taxes.

Say what!?

That’s right, G.E. paid zero income taxes. Here are some highlights:

1. G.E. made 5.1 billon dollars in the U.S. The rest of the 14 billion was made overseas, in countries that have much lower corporate tax rates.

2. G.E. hires 900 people to scour the laws to take advantage of all the loopholes. Small companies have a very hard time just handling all the government regulations and tax code.

3. G.E. has the biggest lobbying group in Washington, D.C. (Government regulations slow down small companies and inhibits job growth, but big companies can afford to hire people in their accounting/legal departments. See 2, above.)

4. G.E. plays the “green” game and gets tax credits for putting up wind generators.

5. The U.S. government subsidized (welfare) G.E. to move a refrigerator factory from Indiana to Mexico.

6. G.E. is shutting down an incandescent light bulb factory in the U.S. and has financed factories in China to make those new, longer lasting, compact florescent light bulbs . . . you know, the ones with mercury in them. (Do an internet search on what you should do if you break one of those bulbs in your house or place of business. It ain’t pretty.)

7. G.E. has moved 20,000 U.S. jobs overseas.

Now, to be fair, it’s not just G.E. Other large multinational corporations, like Exxon-Mobile, don’t pay any taxes either. And there is an argument to be made that corporations shouldn’t be taxed at all, just the individual people who receive income from them whether from salary, hourly wages, benefits, or dividend payments.

Still, the present tax code is the tax code we all have to go by. And it seems more than a bit unfair that a giant like G.E., who can make billions of dollars can then use that complicated, arcane, complex tax code to end up paying nothing at the end of the year.

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