Thursday, April 07, 2011

The US is Not Broke

Chuck Collins is the director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies. He's long been an outspoken advocate for tax equality. He's also an heir to the Oscar Mayer meatpacking fortune. In other words, he's a wealthy man who thinks that corporations and wealthy individuals should pay their fair share of taxes.

A recent opinion piece by Mr. Collins, in Alternet:

Since 2006, General Electric has reported over $26 billion in profits, yet paid not one penny in U.S. taxes. It gets worse. They’ve actually received more than $4 billion in subsidies and corporate welfare.

GE isn’t alone. Other huge global companies such as Verizon, Boeing, ExxonMobil, and Bank of America also pay no taxes. These artful dodgers aggressively solicit government subsidies and use accounting tricks to move money to overseas tax havens like the Cayman Islands. They pretend to earn their profits offshore and then report their paper losses here in the United States–so they don’t have to pay the IRS a dime.

Wealthy individuals have also benefited from a half-century of tax reductions. If U.S. millionaires and billionaires paid taxes based on 1961 tax rules, we would have raised an additional $231 billion in federal revenue this year.

By reversing years of tax giveaways to America’s rich and the corporations that enrich them, Congress could raise trillions in revenue. We could fund the public structures that safeguard our families and our future.

Please read the whole piece. Mr. Collins goes on to list 4 things that could be done immediately that would bring in $400 billion a year.

We've been hearing a lot about cuts. We have to cut this, we have to cut that - because we're broke. What we don't ever hear about is increasing revenue. When folks cut everything they can out of their family budget, and still don't have enough to get by, they get second jobs. Our Congressional leaders seem to think that when you can't pay the bills, you quit your job. We hear a lot about "balancing" the budget, but what is proposed isn't balanced. Balance means cutting costs AND increasing revenue.

Right now we have people in Congress who would rather fire teachers and firefighters than tax the wealthiest corporations in the world. As Collins points out, our priorities are deeply skewed.

cross-posted at MainSt/

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