Monday, August 22, 2011

Paying your fair share? These companies don't understand the concept.


I wish Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were my senator.  It would be nice, at least once in my lifetime, to be represented by someone with whom I am mostly in agreement and of whom I could actually be proud.  Instead, I get people like Kaye Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, defenders of oil companies and friend to all millionaires and billionaires.


Senator Sanders never hesitates to speak his mind and to call out those who are taking advantage of the system and failing to live up to their civic responsibilities.  In that spirit, he has issued a press release which details what the richest corporations in our country are paying in taxes.  The bottom line is: Not much.    


1)      Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009.  Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.
2)      Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.
3)      Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.
4)      Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.
5)      Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.
6)      Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.
7)      Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.
8)      Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.
9)      ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.
10)  Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.


Why are we, the average struggling taxpayers of America, giving rebates and subsidies to some of the richest corporations in the world?  Why am I paying more income tax than Exxon Mobil?  Who will protect my interests against these corporations, even though I can't pay millions of dollars to lobbyists or to political campaigns to buy that protection?  One thing is for dead certain: It won't be Hutchison and Cornyn!


I'm glad that Bernie Sanders and a few others, like Al Franken (D-MN), are on the job. I may not be able to vote for them, but I still consider them "my" senators and I appreciate the work that they do in an environment that is hostile to the commonsense values which they represent. 

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