Obama campaign manager Jim Messina noted that while Romney will only release two years of tax returns this year, he gave Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 23 years worth of returns when being considered for vice presidential spot in 2008. “Here’s the question: Why is okay for him to give John McCain 23 years, and the American public only two?” Messina asked. [ThinkProgress]
So far, Romney has released only his full 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 return, and Fehrnstrom said Romney would disclose the full 2011 return once it’s filed. But this is fairly meager compared to other presidential candidates, who often release multiple years of returns. Indeed, Romney’s own father released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president. As the Washington Post reported, Romney’s existing returns hide much of what Romney is actually invested in by listing only the funds he owns, not their underlying investments. [ThinkProgress]
Think Progress reports that not only are corporate taxes at a 40 year low, despite what the GOP and Fox News want you to believe, but that 26 highly profitable corporations paid NOTHING in taxes last year. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Last year, Citizens for Tax Justice found that 30 major corporations had made billions of dollars in profits while paying no federal income tax between 2008 and 2010. Today, CTJ updated that report to reflect the 2011 tax bill of those 30 companies, and 26 of them have still managed to pay absolutely nothing over that four year period:
– 26 of the 30 companies continued to enjoy negative federal income tax rates. That means they still made more money after tax than before tax over the four years! …
– In total, 2008-11 federal income taxes for the 30 companies remained negative, despite $205 billion in pretax U.S. profits. Overall, they enjoyed an average effective federal income tax rate of –3.1 percent over the four years.
Amongst the 30 are corporate titans such as General Electric, Boeing, Verizon, and Mattel…. Continue reading
And here are a couple of facts from the CTJ report:
Had these 30 companies paid the full 35 percent corporate tax rate over the 2008-11 period, they would have paid $78.3 billion more in federal income taxes. Or put another way, over the four years, the 30 companies received more than $78 billion in total tax subsidies. Wells Fargo alone garnered $21.6 billion in tax subsidies over the four years, followed by General Electric ($10.6 billion), Verizon ($7.7 billion), and Boeing ($6.0 billion).
In 2011 alone, 24 of the 30 companies paid effective tax rates of less than 4 percent, including 15 that paid zero or less in federal income taxes in that year. For all 30 companies, the average 2011 effective federal income tax rate was a paltry 7.1% — only a fifth of the statutory 35 percent federal corporate tax rate.
Imagine the potential programs and services our country could have (health care for all, single payer), or the many programs and services that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney might not even think about cutting, if corporations actually PAID a 35% corporate tax rate.
And with all this money they’re shoveling into their corporate bank accounts, from both profits and zero tax liability, where are the jobs? And why is the Republican Party trying to make the case that corporations need even more tax cuts and another tax loophole, like “repatriation holidays” for corporate stashes overseas?
A POLITICO review of annual reports and Securities and Exchange Commission filings shows that a dozen of the most vocal corporate critics of U.S. tax policy finished 2011 with more than $455 billion in cash, investments and other earnings held by foreign subsidiaries — up from $381 billion the year earlier.
The companies have avoided U.S. taxes on almost every penny of their international profits by keeping the money offshore. And nearly that entire haul has been designated by top executives of those firms as “permanently” or “indefinitely” reinvested abroad, partly because of the 35 percent U.S. tax rate companies must pay to bring home foreign money.
[...]U.S. multinationals have hired an army of lobbyists to sell the idea of a tax holiday to Congress, so they might repatriate a pot of overseas profits estimated at more than $1 trillion for as low as a 5.25 percent rate. The companies — along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — argue that repatriation would serve as an instant stimulus of sorts, allowing hundreds of billions of dollars to flow in to the economy.
Critics disagree. They say the proposal is bad tax policy.
As evidence, the critics point to a 2004-05 tax holiday that brought some $312 billion back into the U.S. Most of that was spent on dividends and stock repurchases — not building or hiring. Continue reading…
These corporations and rich CEOs need to remember that the rest of us don’t mind their success, we mind that they’re robbing us and the country blind for their profits. Or as Elizabeth Warren said, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.”
From CTJ — the companies who are shifting their tax burden onto the rest of us (some have done so for a decade or more):
headlikeanorange: An orphaned orangutan at a sanctuary in Borneo. (Born to be Wild)
Unfortunately, this would explain a lot. What it doesn’t explain is rightwing Christians who support this behavior with their politics and, particularly, Christian leaders who justify it. I’m sure we’re all familiar with those sections in the Gospels that celebrate gluttony and greed.
But why would wealth and status decrease our feelings of compassion for others? After all, it seems more likely that having few resources would lead to selfishness. Piff and his colleagues suspect that the answer may have something to do with how wealth and abundance give us a sense of freedom and independence from others. The less we have to rely on others, the less we may care about their feelings. This leads us towards being more self-focused. Another reason has to do with our attitudes towards greed. Like Gordon Gekko, upper-class people may be more likely to endorse the idea that “greed is good.” Piff and his colleagues found that wealthier people are more likely to agree with statements that greed is justified, beneficial, and morally defensible. These attitudes ended up predicting participants’ likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior.
Given the growing income inequality in the United States, the relationship between wealth and compassion has important implications. Those who hold most of the power in this country, political and otherwise, tend to come from privileged backgrounds. If social class influences how much we care about others, then the most powerful among us may be the least likely to make decisions that help the needy and the poor. They may also be the most likely to engage in unethical behavior. Keltner and Piff recently speculated in the New York Times about how their research helps explain why Goldman Sachs and other high-powered financial corporations are breeding grounds for greedy behavior. Although greed is a universal human emotion, it may have the strongest pull over those of us who already have the most.
So when we wonder, “When will the one percent feel they have enough money?” Now we know the answer: NEVER. When Romney says he’s not concerned about the very poor, he means it. We also know the one percent will continue to take more than their share as long as we allow it. Why wouldn’t they?
————————————-WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY
Robertson tells man ‘you are the boss’ in marriage — Televangelist Pat Robertson once again added to his list of controversial statements Monday, telling a man that he is “the boss” of the family when a conflict arises between him and his wife over money given to church. On the latest episode of The 700 Club, Robertson responded to a male viewer’s letter about his wife demanding the couple not give more in tithes to their church because of their difficult financial situation. Tithes are the money Christians give from their income to their church as a religious obligation. “You know big man, you are the boss,” he said. “I know people don’t want to hear that, but you are the high priest of your family and you are the man of the house.” [...] Robertson added: “You need to push forward and your wife will come along. But if you’re vacillating and she pulls you back, you’re not much of a leader. You’re supposed to be a leader, you supposed to be the high priest. You supposed to intercede for your family before the Lord. And, as they say, ‘Man up.’”
Joe Arpaio Wonders If GOP Candidates Are In On Conspiracy To Hide Obama’s Birth Certificate — Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is disturbed that the Republican presidential candidates haven’t supported his quixotic effort to get to the bottom of President Obama’s birth certificate, and is begining to wonder if they’re part of the cover up. [...] APRAIO: I’ve had presidential candidates visit me in my office. I’ve talked to every one of them. … I don’t see anybody talking about this. I don’t see any senators talking about it. But when they mention me, they seem to forget my name. So isn’t that interesting? On both sides of the fence, they don’t want to talk about it. … How come everybody’s hiding this? [...] But Arpaio’s political star may have fallen along with his legal one. Arpaio is now on the verge of losing his badge thanks to accusations from the Department of Justice that his department systemically profiles based on race and has mishandled hundreds of sex crimes cases.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) argued yesterday that the female members in his caucus agree with him that the GOP’s “war on women” is just “a manufactured issue.” [...] “There is no issue. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire and Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine I think would be the first to say — and Lisa Murkowski from Alaska — ‘we don’t see any evidence of this.'” The Senate is out this week, but McConnell may way want to pay a little closer attention to what members of his caucus are actually saying. In this case, McConnell specifically mentioned five Republican senators — all of whom are women, and three of whom have raised serious concerns about what their party is up to. [...] McConnell seems comfortable speaking for all of these women, and ascribing beliefs to them. But if McConnell stopped telling us what these senators think and started listening to what they actually think, he might learn something important. [MaddowBlog]
———————————————————–——PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS
Obama will talk about taxes in Florida on Tuesday when he delivers a speech in support of the “Buffett Rule,” a measure to insure a 30 percent tax on income over $1 million earned by wealthy Americans. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the battleground state of New Hampshire on Thursday also to discuss taxes. The Obama campaign sees the issue as a weak point for Romney, a former private equity executive and ex-governor of Massachusetts. “Middle class families are taking it on the chin right now and they don’t see others doing their fair share,” Wisconsin Democratic congresswoman Tammy Baldwin said in a conference call set up by the Obama campaign. On April 16, the Senate will take up the “Buffett Rule” although it is unlikely to be approved as Democrats lack the 60 votes needed to bring the issue to a full vote. [Reuters]
- Also: 26 major corporations paid no corporate income tax for the last 4 years, despite making billions in profits
Rep. Baldwin calls for House to vote on ‘Buffett Rule’ tax for millionaires — Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on Monday urged leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives to bring her legislation to the floor to enact the so-called Buffett Rule. [...] Republicans have condemned the proposed rule as class warfare and it is unlikely to pass in the GOP-led House of Representatives. Nearly all House Republicans have sworn to fight any and all tax increases. But Baldwin said the American people “deserve to know where their Representatives stand” on this “critical” issue. “Our current tax code has been influenced by powerful special interests and includes loopholes and special provisions that allow approximately a quarter of all millionaires to pay lower effective tax rates than millions of middle class families,” she explained. Approximately 94,500 millionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than millions of families earning less than $100,000, according to the Congressional Research Service (PDF). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will vote on the legislation on April 16, tax day.
NEA Wants $1.5 Trillion From Closed Corporate Tax Loopholes To Fund Popular Education Programs — The National Education Association is ramping up a public information campaign to build support for closing big corporate tax loopholes and directing the revenue toward key education initiatives. The push comes weeks after the Obama administration released a framework for corporate tax reforms that would be revenue neutral, suggesting a schism between the powerful union and the White House. But in a Monday interview, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel applauded Obama’s record on education and said his group’s push is meant to raise awareness of one of many ways to finance more federal investment in education. “One reason to look at corporate taxes is because it is so huge,” Van Roekel said, citing the Center for Tax Justice, which concludes (PDF) that closing seven specific corporate tax loopholes could raise nearly $1.5 trillion over 10 years. NEA proposes using the money to raise the maximum Pell grant award to cover half the average cost of public higher education, fund Title I spending on students from low-income families and other initiatives.
Obama announces opposition to Minnesota same sex marriage ban — “While the President does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples,” Kristin Sosanie, Obama’s Minnesota Communications Director, said in a statement. “That’s what the Minnesota ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.” The statement is nearly identical to another statement by the Obama campaign regarding efforts in the New Hampshire legislature to repeal the state’s same sex marriage law. That effort ended unsuccessfully in late March. [...] “The amendment does not represent the values Minnesotans hold dear – that marriage is about love and commitment, and that freedom means freedom for everyone,” Minnesotans United for All Families said in a statement. “We’re happy that President Obama and Minnesotans from all walks of life see this amendment for what it is – a government exclusion to a group of people simply because of who they are.”