[Note from the editor: Last Friday, the author (Linda Boyd), Robert Sargent, and I had a meeting with 8th CD US Congressman Dave Reichert (R), at his Mercer Island office. My report is here. — Don Smith]
It was a pleasure to meet with you on Friday and to express my views about the debilitating cost of war to the 8th CD, Washington State and our nation. I urge you to work vigorously to lower military expenses, in order to responsibly invest our tax dollars in infrastructure, higher education, alternative energy and low cost loans to entrepreneurs and students.
Regarding taxes and the debt ceiling: The articles below express surprise and outrage that large corporations such as Boeing and G.E. pay NO Federal income taxes. You said on Friday that corporations were anxious to have “tax certainty.” I think that paying nothing in Federal income tax year after year is more than enough certainty, and shows that there is no “shared sacrifice” coming from the richest sector of our nation.
I urge you to reconsider your stance on “no new taxes,” and to replace it with “FAIR TAXES FOR ALL.” Your constituents understand that income disparity in the U.S. is at an all-time high. In fact, the U.S. is one of only a few developed countries where income inequality has increased since 1980. So, you see, “trickle down economics” is a cruel fantasy. Wealth is more concentrated in the hands of a few tnow than in the roaring twenties.
The individuals and corporations with the highest incomes must be required to pay taxes at the same rates as the rest of us. Anything less is criminally parasitic.
I met Robert Sargent for the first time in your office on Friday. The facts about disparate and unfair tax rates support his politely delivered comments. I hope next time, that you won’t threaten to leave the room when your constituent points out that there is currently “no shared sacrifice,” when it comes to balancing the budget. Can we count on you to support fair taxation for the people of the 8th C.D. and throughout the U.S.?
Thank you in advance for you response,
Boeing was in this group. The company made $9.7 billion in profits in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It paid nothing in federal taxes, booking $178 million back from the government in various credits, for a total federal tax rate of -1.8 percent.
These figures are from the company’s financial reports. Still, I was expecting when Boeing executives went to Congress recently to ask for even lower taxes that they would deny this report. But they didn’t. “Over the last three years, we have not paid,” confirmed James Zrust, Boeing’s vice president for tax.
The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.
Wealth And Inequality In America
The gap between the top 1% and everyone else hasn’t been this bad since the Roaring Twenties
Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power
Some additional facts about exorbitant pay and tax avoidance by corporations
- Executive Pay at Big Companies Rose 23% Last Year. (source)
- America’s largest global corporations are holding $1.5 trillion dollars in profits overseas in order to avoid US taxes. (source)
- Goldman Sachs, which received a $10 billion taxpayer bailout, got their effective tax rate down to 1%. (source) They are outsourcing 1000 jobs. (here)
- GE paid no US taxes on worldwide income of $14.2 billion. (source)
- In the 10 years ending in 2010, Boeing had $29 billion in profits, and paid minus-$948 million in federal taxes. (source)
- Twelve major U.S. businesses, with $171 billion in profits, combined to pay negative $2.5 billion in federal taxes the past three years. (source)
- The IRS estimates that individuals and corporations currently hold $5 trillion in tax haven countries. (source)
- One year loss in unpaid payroll taxes from businesses: $58 billion (source)
- Annual cost in oil & gas subsidies: $2.7 billion (source) First quarter 2011 profits of the six largest oil companies: $38 billion (source)
- Last fall, Senate Republicans voted unanimously against a bill that would have ended tax breaks for companies that shift American jobs overseas. (source)
5 Replies to “Letter to Rep. Dave Reichert, as a follow-up to our meeting”
People get testy when they are forced to defend unsupportable positions. All cuts. Not one penny more from GE, or the oil companies, or the hedge fund managers that pay only 15% no matter how many billions they make. All cuts. Nothing from those that have profited so spectacularly from the tax cuts and policies that caused our huge deficits and cumulative debt. Nothing. No new revenue from anyone no matter how modest, reasonable, or fair. All cuts. The position is indefensible and immoral. Yet that is the position Reichert, and every other Republican is required to take. I almost feel sorry for the guy.
Frankly, I have given up on this country. In my lifetime, I have seen the political winds go from hope to despair, and with the toxic attitude that the Republicans have toward government, I’m afraid they will not rest until our government has collapsed, and they will then seize power and arbitrarily abolish any and all regulations that they find offensive, and that will include any laws that were written for the common good.
I believe that within 10 years, we will see the active overthrow of the American system of government and the imposition of a fascist oligarchy. It is no longer an issue of whether, but when.
The situation does seem grim. Republicans and their rich allies are completely unreasonable and intransigent. And there’s no effective force in the country to counter their influence. President Obama barely seems to have tried, and even if he had, it’s likely that he wouldn’t have been able to succeed. The scariest thing is that the public is largely unaware of what’s going on — at least if you believe the election results, which I don’t.
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