Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Work Harder! Hundreds of Corporations on Welfare Depend on You!

What follows is a guest post written by my friend Sean Gill, with blockquotes and pictures added by me. It covers much more than what is suggested by the title (in lieu of something better, we opted for a wry take on a bumper sticker we recently saw), such as balanced budgets, deficits, and spending -- recent hot-topics -- as well as things like the Wisconsin protests (which are showing up elsewhere), and recently formed groups like US Uncut.

The post is not as long as it might seem; a good bit of the length is due to footnotes and photos.

* * *

"So strongly are the Erewhonians impressed with this, that if a man has made a fortune of over £20,000 a year they exempt him from all taxation, considering him as a work of art, and too precious to be meddled with; they say, "How very much he must have done for society before society could have been prevailed upon to give him so much money"; so magnificent an organization overawes them; they regard it as a thing dropped from heaven." —Samuel Butler, Erewhon (1872)

In 2005, the 5th leading philanthropist was T. Boone Pickens. This was, in part, due to his $165 million gift to Oklahoma State University’s golf program. Within an hour, OSU invested the money in a hedge fund that was controlled by Pickens, and thanks to a Katrina relief provision, his "gift" was also 100% deductible. [X]

We have a problem in this country.

A lot of people can agree with that statement, even if they can’t pinpoint why. Their difficulty isn’t really so hard to understand, because we don’t have just a problem in this country. We have lots. Some problems only affect a portion of the population, some affect us all, but most people are affected in one way or another, in varying degrees.

Here are some of the problems we face:

23.4% of Americans live in poverty.1 Another way to say this is that nearly one out of every four Americans lives in poverty. If this number seems high, consider that in 2011 a single individual living alone and working full time at a minimum wage job would not technically be in poverty2, despite the fact that 60% of her GROSS income would go to rent alone.3 In fact, working 28 hours a week at a minimum wage job is enough to keep you out of poverty, even though 89% of your gross income would then go to rent. Therefore, for any real understanding of poverty, the number must be even higher. Things were made worse for those Americans living in poverty when President Obama’s Making Work Pay tax credit was cancelled in December. In a recent article, investigative journalist and former tax reporter David Johnston explains that some poverty stricken Americans, making as low as $6k annually, saw a 4% increase in their taxes as a result. "Looked at another way, some workers will labor for 23 days this year and next just to pay increased taxes."4

Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage has fallen 27.5% since its peak in 1968. [X]

Officially 1 in 10 of us is unemployed - which is the 108th worst unemployment rate in the world.5 This, of course, means that many people are employed and still in poverty. As with the poverty figure this number is deceptive, because it does not take into account people who are underemployed or who have otherwise stopped looking for work - so again, the real number may be higher still. As a result of this massive unemployment, some states have been forced to borrow money from the federal government simply to pay for unemployment benefits. This money comes in the form of a loan, which must be paid back to the federal government with interest.6 To pay back these loans the state has three options: increase tax revenue, decrease spending, or incur a deficit. All of these options would incur further problems on someone, somewhere down the line.

16.7% of all Americans are uninsured.7 America ranks #37 in the World Health Organization’s schema, despite the fact that Americans spend more money than anyone in the world on healthcare.8 Uninsured Americans, of course, still get sick - and caring for them represented a loss of $125bn in 2004 alone. The government pays for a large part of this in subsidies to hospitals and the uninsured pay for it with untreated illnesses, missed time at work, and, presumably, shortened life spans.9 Franklin Roosevelt felt that healthcare was a basic human right, and while this is debatable it is still problematic that Americans should suffer from lack of access to healthcare in the most medically advanced nation on Earth.

Only the wealthiest 20% of Americans spend more on entertainment than on health care. [X]

On the subject of life span, our infant mortality rate is 6.14 to every 1,000 live births: here America is ranked #177 in the world. By way of comparison, your baby has a better chance in Cuba.10 Bringing perspective to this data in terms of the problems it creates is especially hard, except in that it is a problem for a country as advanced as the United States of America to have a higher infant mortality rate than Cuba. On the same note, our average life expectancy is 78.37 years which ranks #49 in the world. People in Bosnia live longer. And just a few miles north, the Canadians live even longer than that.11 These are issues that can and should be addressed - metrics which America can and should lead.

The Gini index provides another interesting look into the problems that we face. The Gini index is a way of mathematically observing the distribution of wealth in a nation and is represented as a number between 0 and 100. In a nation with complete inequality, where one person holds all the wealth and everyone else owns nothing, the Gini coefficient would be 100. Conversely, if everyone possessed an equal share of wealth, the coefficient would be 0. Our GINI index is 45.0 and globally we are ranked #43. This is a truly damning figure, because it means that in India - which has the largest concentration of poor people in the world - wealth is more evenly distributed than in the United States.12 13 This number has risen steadily since 1967. If the trend continues, the United States will reach the extreme levels of Mexico by 2043.14 This fact, it almost goes without saying, is a death knell for our middle class.

income inequality in america graph
The richest 10% controls 2/3 of Americans' net worth. The top 1%: 34.6%; the top 1-10%: 38.5%; the bottom 90%: 26.9%. [2007 data, includes home equity. Sources: Federal Reserve, Edward Wolff, Bard College]

Yet America is not made up wholly of its people - it also consists of its government buildings, its complex and once extremely modern interstate system, its dams and waterways, its water filtration plants and public schools. These, too, have problems.

In 2009 the American Society of Civil Engineers completed a "report card" on America’s infrastructure. It’s not the sort of thing you’d want your child to bring home:

Aviation: D.
Bridges: C
Dams: D
Drinking Water: D-
Energy: D+
Hazardous Waste: D
Inland Waterways: D-
Levees: D-
Public Parks and Recreation: C-
Rail: C-
Roads: D-
Schools: D
Solid Waste: C+
Transit: D
Wastewater: D-

Overall GPA: D15

Assuming that our infrastructure has adopted the same "no D" policy that the majority of our school systems have, our infrastructure is failing. Even if it isn’t, another way of conceiving "D" is "about to fail." Thus, our infrastructure - and so our very ties to the civilized, modern world - is about to fail us. The problems created by the failure of these elements would be immense and disastrous, shuttling almost all of us very quickly into the third world. Imagine a world in which there is inconsistent, or completely absent, power. A world where the water from your tap cannot be consumed. A world where the roads connecting you to your family, to your work, to the grocery store where you buy your food are impassable. For some Americans these may already be problems; seemingly, for the rest of us, they will become problems soon.

The solution to all this is, ostensibly, spending. If everyday people (who aren’t impoverished or unemployed) spend more money then more jobs will be created. If more jobs are created then unemployment will of course lower, and people will be raised from poverty and be able to afford insurance. They will live longer and get better prenatal care. If the government spends more money it can fix those infrastructure issues and return America to its place as a world leader. The drinking water will be safe and the roads a pleasure to drive.

But the problem with spending more as a solution to our problem is yet another problem that America faces: As John Boehner recently said to reporters at the RNC: "We're broke! It's time for us to get serious about how we're spending the nation's money."16

And so, faced with a seemingly undeniable dilemma, we find we have no ways to deal with it. Leaving the previous list aside and looking at the idea of spending only makes things worse.

The projected deficit of the United States Federal Budget is $1.01 trillion.17

A deficit is incurred when you spend more than you take in - there are, in its simplest form, two parts to the equation: The amount of money you spend in government programs and the amount of money you make in tax revenue.18 With the February 14th unveiling of the proposed 2012 budget there has been ample discussion about the amount of money the federal government spends, and in truth the number is quite high, an estimated $3.729 trillion dollars. The projected income that the United States will take into its coffers from taxes in 2012 is $2.627 trillion.19 Thus the aforementioned deficit. The US budget deficit went from $239bn to $1.4tn in 2009 due to the TARP signed into law by George W. Bush at the end of 2008, making it the largest federal deficit in the history of the country, giving some idea as to what the deficit has generally been.20

Faced with an essentially bankrupt system, politicians are forced to see what areas of government spending they can curb. In some cases this is not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly some spending areas do need to be addressed - black holes like that notorious $640 toilet seat and the Bridge to Nowhere of Palin fame, or the billions spent on unfilled defense contracts.21 Obviously no institution is perfect and many who have had interactions with government institutions will tell you as much. However, there are times when government programs can help to alleviate some of the problems that Americans face - but only when they can be funded.

These cuts were made in President Obama’s proposed budget:

In fiscal year 2012 $157 million was cut that would have gone to water infrastructure upgrades.22 Remember that D- we got in that category? On top of that, another $950 million was removed that would’ve gone to state clean water and drinking funds.23 This money could help the people of Pensacola, Fl, whose water tests positive for cyanide and was recently ranked the worst water in America.24 Or perhaps to certain citizens of Pennsylvania whose water is radioactive.25

gasland fracturing fracking pullted water pennsylvania
Toxic Contamination From Natural Gas Wells (click here for a more detailed map). See also THIS recent New York Times
article, as well as the documentary Gasland, now out on DVD (essential viewing for all Americans).

On the subject of water, another $125 million was taken from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program designed to combat the rampant industrial pollution there (part of the Hazardous Waste grade).26 The Great Lakes are home to some of America’s busiest ports and some of its largest cities - as well as 22% of the world’s fresh water and 4.2% of the US drinking water supply.27

And one last thing: $59 million was cut from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement.28 This is the agency that ought to have presided over the Gulf oil spill disaster, and while it seems it was horribly inept toward that end, that truth only lends credence to the idea that we need to spend more money and time overseeing what’s happening in our waters - not less.

$172 million was cut from new housing construction for seniors and people with disabilities.29 There are 38.9 million seniors in the US today - 13.9 million of them are veterans. On average they make less than $30,000 a year and 20% do not own a home.30 This says nothing for the nation’s disabled: In 2008 3.2mn workers were disabled on the job.31 According to the Social Security Administration, "almost 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67."32 This means that you are as likely to become disabled as you are to end up in poverty, and of course there’s no reason you can’t do both - so there is certainly some incentive for everyone to protest spending cuts here.

63% of federal housing subsidies go to households earning more than $77,000. 18% go to households earning less than $16,500. [X]

On the subject of poverty, and the fact that 1 in 10 Americans is unemployed, the department of labor received an overall budget cut of 5%.33 One of the primary missions of the department of labor is to "advance opportunities for profitable employment."34

Finally, $2.43 billion was cut from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a program designed to help the poor pay their energy bills, generally in relation to heating their homes for the winter.35 This cut touches on several problems discussed earlier: poverty, life expectancy, infant mortality - the ties to our humanity failing. If we are unable to find in our budgets the money needed to keep our neighbors from freezing to death then we have fallen very far indeed.

These cuts are enormous and only a portion of the spending cuts sought by both the president and congress. The real cuts may go much deeper, and may even attack non-discretionary spending like Social Security. Noam Chomsky recently said, in a video series for The Nation magazine, that you have to ask yourself what you’re entitled to as a citizen of the richest country in the world.36 The answer, apparently, is not much: and less next year.

We have problems.

Some of us, however, are doing rather well.

wall street profits chart graph wall street screwing us

Corporations are turning in record profits.37 CEO pay is at least 475 times average worker pay.38 They seem to be doing quite nicely. And there are a few reasons.

ceo worker pay chart

If the hourly minimum wage had risen at the same rate as CEO compensation since 1990, it would now stand at $23.03. [X]

The first is that they are often very good at what they do, and that shouldn’t be taken away from them. But there’s more. Recently a handful of representatives offered up a bill to cut $40 billion in subsidies to the oil industry. "A subsidy (also known as a subvention) is a form of financial assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry."39 Thus, the American citizenry was paying $40 billion to "prevent the decline" of one of the most profitable industries in the world.40 Not surprisingly, the motion was soundly denied. The oil industry isn’t alone. Subsidies to American businesses play a huge role in their survival:

"Currently, it takes between fourteen and twenty-five kilowatt hours to smelt one kilogram of aluminum. Consequently, governments all over the world have subsidized electricity to huge aluminum companies, tying the price of electricity to the worldwide price of aluminum. Right now it takes about two to five dollars’ worth of electricity to produce a single pound of aluminum, which then sells for about $0.70. In the Pacific Northwest, aluminum smelters consume one-third of the region’s cheap electricity - cheap because the hydroelectric dams were built at taxpayer expense decades ago. Of course you could argue that these smelters create jobs [...] but if you divide the number of jobs in the aluminum industry in the United States by the size of the subsidy, you discover the tax payers pay $135,000-$150,000 per employee..."41

David Johnston said this in a recent interview:

"Here in western New York, where I live, one of the counties gave Verizon, effectively, over $600 million to create 200 jobs that will pay, I expect, about $50,000 on average. That’s crazy! That’s just - that’s over $3 million per job. Yahoo! got a deal at over $2 million per job. Alcoa has a deal for cheap electricity from the public that’s way beyond the wages of the workers. These are massive transfers of money from you and me and the audience in this show to the already wealthy, because they’re not running their businesses well enough to make profits on their own. So why do we have massive subsidies and welfare for these very large corporations and attack well-funded government programs?"42

And he has a very good point, but subsidies are only one way in which corporations are managing to do well while so many of us are doing so poorly.

In 1985, THE FORBES 400 were worth $221 billion combined. Today, they’re worth $1.13 trillion—nearly the GDP of Canada.

Corporations in America are required by law to pay 35% of their profits to the government in tax.43 Most of them - nearly two thirds - do not.44 There are various ways that they get around this, with varying degrees of legality45, from clever deductions to tax havens to transfer pricing abuse46 to simply not paying, but get around it they do. The IRS estimates its annual tax gap (the amount of taxes that go unidentified and uncollected each year) to be nearly $300bn.47 The actual number may be much higher. A recent article from CNN, using Government Accountability Office figures, suggests that, in 2005, "28% of foreign companies and 25% of U.S. corporations with more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in sales paid no federal income taxes. Those companies totaled a combined $372 billion in sales for the largest foreign companies and $1.1 trillion in revenue for the biggest U.S. companies."48 If these figures are correct - and the government itself says they are - then the actual money from proper taxation of these corporations would be closer to $515bn.

The IRS also estimates that an additional $100bn a year is lost strictly to offshore tax havens - countries with exceptionally lax laws and standards regarding taxation where corporations or their subsidiaries can pretend to be headquartered without worrying about taxation at all. "Some of the characteristics [of tax havens] included no or nominal taxes; a lack of effective exchange of information with foreign tax authorities; and a lack of transparency in legislative, legal, or administrative provisions." "According to GAO, over 18,000 companies exist in one five-story building in the Cayman Islands. President Barack Obama, as a candidate in 2008, once remarked, ‘That's either the biggest building or the biggest tax scam on record.’"49 As an example, industry giant Morgan Stanley - the 21st largest corporation in the United States - has 273 subsidiaries in tax havens, 158 in the Cayman Islands alone.50 That’s 1.58 subsidiaries per lush, tropical square mile.51

Public companies spend 10% of their earnings compensating their top 5 executives.

The following is a selection of the largest US corporations, their revenue, and the number of subsidies they have in known tax havens:

Exxon Mobile - 2nd largest corporation, 372,824mn in revenue, 32 subsidiaries in tax havens
Chevron - 3rd largest corporation, 210,783mn in revenue, 23 subsidiaries in tax havens
GM - 4th largest corporation, 182,347mn in revenue, 11 subsidiaries in tax havens
Morgan Stanley - 21st largest corporation, 87,879mn in revenue, 273 subsidiaries in tax havens
Merrill Lynch - 30th largest corporation, 64,217mn in revenue, 21 subsidiaries in tax havens
Target - 31st largest corporation, 63,367mn in revenue, 8 subsidiaries in tax havens
Wachovia - 37th largest corporation, 55,528mn in revenue, 59 subsidiaries in tax havens
Wells Fargo - 40th largest corporation, 53,593mn in revenue, 18 subsidiaries in tax havens
Safeway - 54th largest corporation, 42,286mn in revenue, 4 subsidiaries in tax havens
Sunoco - 55th largest corporation, 42,101mn in revenue, 5 subsidiaries in tax havens
SuperValu - 61st largest corporation, 37,406mn in revenue, 5 subsidiaries in tax havens
Best Buy - 65th largest corporation, 35,934mn in revenue, 13 subsidiaries in tax havens
FedEx - 67th largest corporation, 35,214mn in revenue, 21 subsidiaries in tax havens
Hess - 76th largest corporation, 31,924mn in revenue, 5 subsidiaries in tax havens
McDonalds - 100th largest corporation, 23,231mn in revenue, 5 subsidiaries in tax havens52
Bank of America - 9th largest corporation, 119,190mn in revenue, 115 subsidiaries in tax havens

Those names should be highly familiar: they all have retail outlets very near your home.

National People's Action NPA protest bank of america shut downus uncut tax protest bank of america NPA
03/07/11 (above): "In Washington, D.C., 600 activists with National People’s Action shut down a branch of Bank of America Monday to protest the bank’s record of dodging taxes. National People’s Action recently issued a report about how Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have avoided paying billions of dollars in taxes. The study found that over the past two years, the six banks paid income tax at an approximate rate of 11 percent of their pre-tax earnings in the United States, far less than the 35 percent that they are legally mandated to pay. By avoiding the taxes, the banks saved $13 billion. National People’s Action reports this potential tax revenue could have been used to cover more than two years of salaries for some 132,000 teachers who lost their jobs since the economic crisis began in 2008." [X] [photo source]

Between tax evasion and tax havens the corporate shortfall is now $615bn. This number is enough to totally solve our school, drinking water, energy, rail, and dam infrastructure problems this year, with money to spare.

Yet it doesn‘t end there. The Government Accountability Office estimates that there are currently $58bn in outstanding corporate payroll taxes.53 These are taxes which the government is aware are owed, but has not collected. Often these are taxes which a corporation has collected from its employees and failed to remit to the government. So, in effect, the corporation has stolen both from its employees and the government.

Thus the number climbs to $673bn, just by holding corporations accountable for what the government, and therefore the American people, are owed. That amount of money would go a long way in solving many of the problems discussed earlier. And how many of those problems were actually caused by corporations in the first place?

The TARP funds which caused the deficit to balloon to its current state were distributed, all of them, to major corporations, to solve problems created by major corporations. Regardless of whether they had to be distributed or not, they were distributed to some of the wealthiest corporations in the world because they had failed to do their job. As a result, should you be one of the lucky 25% of Americans who will become disabled before retirement, possibly while doing your job, there may not be enough money for your government to help you.

wisconsin collective bargaining protests teachers
Above: Wisconsin.
(update: 3/12/11) "On Wednesday, weeks after its Democrats fled the state to defer voting, the Wisconsin state legislature called a meeting on 110 minutes notice to vote on a bill that strips public-sectors unions of many of their negotiating rights and raises their pension and health care premiums. On Thursday, a 13 year old on the Upper East Side knowing nothing of Wisconsin remarked to me that “the poor pay for the poor more than the rich do.” Amid insane collusions of government, business, capital, and populism over the past two administrations, Wisconsin has offered some relief of common sense and an easy foothold onto a more naked, almost mythic drama than the news usually allows: [...] the privileged few, conspiring in the halls of power for more power and working to crush the working class."
Below: Ohio.

wisconsin teachers budget cuts koch brothers

The water in Pensacola, Pittsburgh, and the Great Lakes is polluted because of major corporations - and, of course, the Gulf of Mexico is too. The public money that would be spent on providing those citizens with clean water would only be necessary because corporate production had sullied the water already there. The clean up efforts that were cut from the EPA’s budget were only necessary because corporations made them so. There are 350,000 Hazardous Waste cleanup projects primarily because of corporations.

kliban what's good for business is good for america water pollution cartoon comic gasland

The unemployment rate? Between 2005-2008, Exxon Mobile - the second largest corporation in America, heavily subsidized by American taxpayers - saw its profits go up an average of $2bn a year while the number of employees dropped by 950 yearly.54 While this does not mean that Exxon is responsible for all unemployment problems, it does give pause against the commonly held idea that increased profits for corporations will result in an increase in jobs. The truth, it seems, it quite the opposite.

Of course, every American corporation on the above list, built on American soil, got there using public roads, public water, and - to one degree or another - publicly educated employees. They depended on, and continue to depend on, police, firefighters, road crews, and sanitation workers to survive.

So it’s clear they owe the money - and possibly even more. But, it’s also clear that it will never be collected.

bank of america tax protest us uncut
(unless... perhaps...)

That $673bn will never be collected because it was used to fund political campaigns for politicians who, in turn, make sure it will never be collected.55 Between 1989-2005 the oil industry alone had donated $180mn to political candidates.56 With the passing of Citizens United in 2010 corporations may now make unlimited campaign donations, and so in 2010 Koch Industries contributed $2.13mn to the congressional and gubernatorial races alone.57 The amount spent on lobbyists is considerably higher.

tax rate graph chart inequality corporation exploitation

That $673bn will never be collected because when you owe $673bn in taxes it means that you have an awful lot of money already - and it’s a lot cheaper to buy a new law, or a new politician, than to actually ante up. These are, after all, government figures that we’re discussing, readily available to anyone and mostly reported at the behest of the US Senate. Obviously the government knows what money is owed it - it just doesn‘t seem to care all that much. Do you think it would be so lackadaisical in collecting from you if you forgot to pay your taxes?

That $673bn will never be collected. Because in America when a major corporation speaks we listen. And if a major corporation says that it wants to be rich while you’re poor, that’s the way it’s going to be. If a major corporation says you can pay for the roads that keep it alive because it shouldn‘t have to, then you‘re going to pick up the tab. And if a major corporation says it doesn’t give a damn if you want to retire before you die, then I’d suggest you start dying now - because it’s the only way you’ll ever get out of working. If you don’t believe me, then just look outside: the great United States of America - the richest, most powerful country in the world - is lagging behind the world in almost every major metric. Meanwhile, CEO pay is at least 475 times average worker pay.58 Meanwhile, corporations are turning in record profits.59 Meanwhile, our government is broke, and our citizenry is getting there.

How much income have you given up for the top 1 percent?

flow of wealth distribution inequality middle class paying for top rich

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the Country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed." —Abraham Lincoln

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." —Thomas Jefferson

corporate rule or democracy protest

1 United States. United States Department of Commerce. United States Census Bureau. American Community Survey. Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months. 2005-2009 American Community Survey. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. .

2 Wikipedia contributors. "Poverty in the United States." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 Feb. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.

3 "American Housing Survey - Frequently Asked Questions." Census Bureau Home Page. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. "In 2007, the median monthly housing cost (rent, utilities, and garbage and trash collection) for renter occupied homes was $755." Current minimum wage is $7.25/hr.

4 Johnston, David Cay. “Obama and the GOP: United Against the Working Poor.” - The Tax Daily for the Citizen Taxpayer., 6 Mar. 2011. Web. 6 Mar. 2011. .

5 United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .


7 Associated Press. "Census: 1 in 7 Americans Live in Poverty - CBS News." CBS News. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .

8 World Health Organization. "World Health Organization Assesses the World's Health Systems." World Health Organization. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .


10 United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .

11 United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .

12 United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. < countryname="United%20States&countryCode=" regioncode="na&rank=">.

13 Wikipedia contributors. "India." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 Feb. 2011. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.


15 American Society of Civil Engineers. “2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.” American Society of Civil Engineers. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.

16 Thai, Xuan, and Deirdre Walsh. "Boehner: If Some Federal Workers Lose Jobs Because of GOP Cuts, ‘so Be It’ – CNN Political Ticker - Blogs." CNN Political Ticker - Blogs. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .

17 Wikipedia contributors. "2012 United States federal budget." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. Information for FY 2012.

18 Wikipedia contributors. "Deficit." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

19 Wikipedia contributors. "2012 United States federal budget." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

20 Wikipedia contributors. "2009 United States federal budget." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 Mar. 2011. Web. 7 Mar. 2011.

21 Sanders, Bernie. "Defense Contractor Fraud - Newsroom: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont)." U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont). Web. 26 Feb. 2011.

22 United States. Executive Office of the President of the United States. Office of Management and Budget. By Barrack Obama. Fiscal Year 2012 Budget of the U.S. Government. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .

23 United States. Executive Office of the President of the United States. Office of Management and Budget. By Barrack Obama. Fiscal Year 2012 Budget of the U.S. Government. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .



26 United States. Executive Office of the President of the United States. Office of Management and Budget. By Barrack Obama. Fiscal Year 2012 Budget of the U.S. Government. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .


28 United States. Executive Office of the President of the United States. Office of Management and Budget. By Barrack Obama. Fiscal Year 2012 Budget of the U.S. Government. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .

29 ElBoghdady, Dina. "Budget 2012: Housing and Urban Development." Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .




33 United States. Executive Office of the President of the United States. Office of Management and Budget. By Barrack Obama. Fiscal Year 2012 Budget of the U.S. Government. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .


35 Goodman, Amy. "Obama's Budget: Freezing the Poor." Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. .

36 How Climate Change Became a Liberal Hoax. Dir. The Nation. Perf. Noam Chomsky. Peak Oil and a Changing Climate. On the Earth Productions. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. .

37 Rampell, Catherine. "Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter." The New York Times. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .

38 Zinn, Howard. The Twentieth Century. London: Harper Perenial, 2003. 457. Print.



41 Culture of Make Believe p573


43 Wikipedia contributors. "Corporate tax." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 1 Mar. 2011.

44 United States. Government Accountability Office. Tax Administration: Comparison of the Reported Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and U.S.-Controlled Corporations, 1998-2005. By James R. White. Government Accountability Office Strategic Issues Team. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. .

45 As with UK Uncut, the argument is obvious that if the law ALLOWS you to circumvent the law, it should be changed, simplified, and enforced. 35% is 35%.

46 United States. Government Accountability Office. Tax Administration: Comparison of the Reported Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and U.S.-Controlled Corporations, 1998-2005. By James R. White. Government Accountability Office Strategic Issues Team. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. “A foreign parent corporation with a subsidiary operating in the United States charges the subsidiary excessive prices for goods and services rendered (for example, $1,000 instead of the going rate of $600). This raises the subsidiary’s expenses (by $400), lowers its profits (by $400), and effectively shifts that income ($400) outside of the United States. At a 35-percent U.S. corporate income tax rate, the subsidiary will pay $140 less in U.S. taxes than it would if the $400 in profits were attributed to it.”

47 United States. Government Accountability Office. Tax Compliance: Businesses Owe Billions in Federal Payroll Taxes. By Steven J. Sebastian. Government Accountability Office Financial Management and Assurance. Web. 25 Feb. 2011. This polemic contains information specifically about corporate tax - but as the GAO shows in this report the way corporations handle their payroll tax responsibilities tends to be just as damning.

48 Goldman, David. "Majority of Corporations Avoid Federal Income Taxes - Study - Aug. 12, 2008." Business, Financial, Personal Finance News - 12 Aug. 2008. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .

49 Tichon, Nicole. "Tax Shell Game: What Do Tax Dodgers Cost You? - U.S. PIRG." Home - U.S. PIRG. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .

50 United States. Government Accountability Office. INTERNATIONAL TAXATION
Large U.S. Corporations and Federal Contractors with Subsidiaries in Jurisdictions Listed as Tax Havens or Financial Privacy Jurisdictions. By James R. White. Government Accountability Office Strategic Issues Team. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

51 Wikipedia contributors. "Cayman Islands." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 1 Mar. 2011. For size reference - the Cayman Islands are 100 square miles.

52 United States. Government Accountability Office. INTERNATIONAL TAXATION
Large U.S. Corporations and Federal Contractors with Subsidiaries in Jurisdictions Listed as Tax Havens or Financial Privacy Jurisdictions. By James R. White. Government Accountability Office Strategic Issues Team. Web. 25 Feb. 2011.

53 GAO Income Tax


55 Goodman, Amy. "Headlines." Democracy Now. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.



58 Zinn, Howard. The Twentieth Century. London: Harper Perenial, 2003. 457. Print.

59 Rampell, Catherine. "Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter." The New York Times. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .


Tyler said...

A related post (or a story of America told mostly through pictures): Jon Jost's American Pastoral #15: "In Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, governors and firm Statehouse Republican majorities are looking to wipe out what vestiges of union life remain in America, and are taking their cleavers to budgets for almost everything (except the military). In the US Congress they’re doing the same. [...] Meantime the CEO’s of the big banks and corporations will reward themselves with yet bigger bonuses. 400 individual Americans taken together hold the same wealth as 150 million other Americans share together."

Sean said...

See also:

Sean said...

For anyone wanting it, this blog is also now available in PDF format for easy printing/distribution.