If you want to know why we're facing vicious budget cuts across the country, look no further than General Electric, America's largest corporation.
According to a shocking exposé just published by the the New York Times, GE made over $26 billion in profit in the United States during the last five years, but paid nothing in federal income tax. Zero. In fact, it claimed a $4.1 billion net tax benefit from the IRS during that time.
Meanwhile, lack of revenue is causing brutal cutbacks of vital services at all levels of government.
We shouldn't be firing teachers and taking health care away from children because GE is shirking on its responsibility to pay income tax.
GE is the poster child for what's wrong with our corporate tax system. GE's tax schemes alone have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars.
In fact, it was GE's tax avoidance in the 1980's that prompted Ronald Reagan of all people to push to eliminate loopholes in the corporate tax code.
Of course the company line is that they're just following the law. But we cannot treat them as mere bystanders.
As the Times article reported, General Electric has 975 employees in its tax department who are charged with spending half their time complying with the law and half their time "looking to exploit opportunities to reduce tax."
And they are not only eager to exploit the loopholes that exist in the tax law (loopholes that might never have been contemplated by the lawmakers who created them), they also spend tens of millions of dollars a year to lobby Congress for more corporate welfare and more tax exemptions.
The end result is a corporate giant like GE extracting obscene profits from our country, while sticking the rest of us with the bill. Tell GE: Pay your taxes.
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