Corporate Tax Rates Take Center Stage

In a response to the recent New York Times April 28, 2012 article about Apple’s ability to avoid national and state taxes, Citizens for Tax Justice noted they now have $74 Billion in untaxed earnings sitting offshore, of which nearly 90% has never been taxed by any governing institution. And, of course, Apple is not the only one.

There are so many things wrong with public policies that allow this to happen:

  • The inequity it creates for the many domestic companies that do not have big offshore accounts in which to ‘park’ their earnings creates a very unlevel playing field
  •  It contributes greatly to our underfunded governments that can no longer provide for the needs of the people and the planet to live healthy, sustainable lives.

As Chuck Collins and Scott Klinger point out in their recent article, Shortchanging America:

When the U.S. economy was healthier, corporations had multiple responsibilities. They provided their employees with good jobs, paid taxes that sustained their communities, and offered valued services to customers. Then, as now, they delivered dividends and profits to shareholders. Corporate leaders and managers understood that meeting these obligations were necessary for long-term success. They built their companies to last.

So much of what needs to be done to create a 21st Century nation can only be done as a community–at the local, state and federal level. Who doesn’t want a water system that provides clean drinking water, an electric grid that doesn’t fail constantly and schools with 21st Century technology, green energy and non-toxic environments where our children can learn and become 21st Century citizens of the world? We can only do that together.

Many corporations are finding angry protesters at their shareholders meeting and there are many reasons for this. Verizon is another recent example coming to light of a low/no tax corporation. Collins and Klinger point out that hopefully citizens will continue to protest until we all face the truth of what we need to do to turn things around:

The angry citizens who are raising their voices at annual shareholder meetings this spring understand that shifting the American business model back to “built-to-last” mode will require new rules that promote dignified work, fair taxes, and a smaller gap between CEO compensation and workers’ paychecks. Unless we change these rules, built-to-loot companies will be a national wrecking ball.

The public is far ahead of politicians in knowing we must end these distortions in our tax code. Let’s hope more of our political leaders begin to heed our voices.