Rob from the Poor, Give to the Rich

Politicians and critics who wonder why the Occupy movement hasn’t disappeared with cooler weather should read a study just released by Citizens for Tax Justice. “Corporate Taxpayers & Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010” makes uncomfortable but important reading.

The study looks at 280 of America’s largest companies, all of them on the Fortune 500 list. These are high-profit corporations so it would be reasonable to expect them to be fair contributors to the system that allows them to operate. After all, they benefit from roads, schools, hospitals, parks and other amenities and services tax dollars provide.

As it turns out, between 2008 and 2010, 78 of them avoided paying any taxes at all. That is only one way these corporations raided the futures of millions of their fellow Americans. Robert McIntyre, Director at Citizens for Tax Justice and lead author on the report, says, “These 280 corporations received a total of nearly $223 billion in tax subsidies. This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare, create jobs and cut the deficit.”

Some of the highlights, or low points, of the report:

  • 38 corporations had negative tax rates all three years. Pepco Holdings topped the list, at -57.6%, with General Electric second at -45.3%.
  • In 2009 49 companies paid zero or less federal taxes
  • In 2008, 22 of the 280 companies did not pay one dollar in federal taxes, but they received $3.3 billion in tax rebates. In 2010, those numbers jumped to 37 companies that paid no taxes but received $7.8 billion in rebates.

The list of tax avoiders and subsidy recipients includes a lot of familiar names, such as Boeing, Yahoo, Yum Brands, Marathon Oil, FedEx, Hewlett Packard, American Express, and Time Warner. Corporations point out they are doing nothing illegal paring their taxes to nothing and receiving rebates. They are merely abiding by tax laws. However, as the report points out, “The laws were not enacted in a vacuum; they were adopted in response to relentless corporate lobbying, threats and campaign support.”

Tax reform is desperately needed in a country where the growing gap between rich and poor is leaving the country at risk for social instability and continuing economic chaos. However, “GOP candidates for president are all promoting huge cuts in the corporate tax or, in several cases, even elimination of the corporate income tax entirely.”

The whole report is worth reading, especially as campaign rhetoric heats to the melting point in advance of the 2012 elections.  Should elected politicians be held accountable for this untenable situation?    Can voters make them change the system?  What do you think?

Related Care2 Stories

Top 10 US Corporate Tax Avoiders Named on Senate Floor

Top 25 Hedge Fund Managers Make Almost $1 Billion Each – And Pay Less Taxes Than You Do

Cantor Tells Republicans to Dig in on Tax Increases

Photo from imelenchon via


Dane Dahl
Dane Dahl4 years ago

Subject: Senator Bernie Sanders and Corporate Tax Avoiders??? Major American corporations PAY NO TAXES and some even receive rebates???
I am a lay historian living Asia and I enclose is an email I recently sent to some friends of mine inside and outside of the military. I hope it will help you understand what is really going on in the United States of America. As a life-long Republican (a moderate Republican) I have some food for thought about our current national debt crisis and the mental paralysis afflicting congress; there certainly are a liberal loonies in the Democratic party but there are even more right-wing crazies in the Republican party. I am ashamed to say it but over time the right-wing crazies have damaged America far more than most people realize. This is because the right wing crazies are funded by (and controlled by) the wealthiest people in America. While their opponents struggle to raise a few hundred thousand dollars to run for congress, these right ring toadies receive millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the ultra-rich portion of our society, and specifically from many of the 400 billionaires living inside the United States. (Forbes Magazine lists each of these billionaires and shows how many billions each of them control.)
These same greedy ultra-rich people meet in secrecy behind closed doors and decide what THEY want the United States government including its MILITARY and State Department and international Justice Department function

Eric Lees
Eric Lees6 years ago

We do still have slavery in this country, it is the prison system. We have a higher percentage of the population in prison than any other country. Some of those prisoners are used to manufacture weapons or other goods for private sector corporations profit to be sold to the military. The prisoners make way below minimum wage for their work.

We are also slaves to the FED as they steal wealth from the middle class by devaluing the dollar to pay the federal government's debt while taking a portion for the banking elite.

Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

Diane O.,

It is already coming to fruition in this country. A double dip recession is a depression properly named ten years later.

Corporations have over-powered our government which now believes that out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs is inevitable and necessary with expectations that the middle class should fall on their swords. It is the underlying cause of the financial collapse and borders on national security with the loss of our middle class tax base. Yet, this nation does nothing, not even demand it be restricted by whatever method. International businesses are doing the UN-AMERICAN activity of destroying U.S. salaries, U.S. businesses that hire in the U.S., and as an end result, destroying the U.S. marketplace while still demanding BUSINESS ENTITLEMENTS and protections for themselves.

Infrastructure spending and tax breaks will not replace enough jobs to keep up with the hemorrhaging loss of U.S. jobs from out-sourcing over seas. Neither party will do anything about it unless we begin grass roots efforts to protest out-sourcing and off-shoring of U.S. jobs. If nothing is done we will deserve what we get and it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Glenn M.
Glenn Meyer6 years ago

Nancy L.,

That's because you and Diane O. work for the same employer.

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

Diane O. is the only smart one here!!

Will Rogers
Will R6 years ago

All politicians are thieves and parasites, saying that though... If I could get away with not paying taxes I would. In fact I do it at every opportunity I can. And if I had a big company I would be lobbying to get my taxes down, I would find a tax broker (politician) and pay them generously for their services if I had to. And just like them I would get rich by hook, or by Crook. they say...

James C.
James Coke6 years ago

Francis C.: I'm shocked that I agree with most of your recent comment. But I'm sad to say that I totally disagree with your last sentence. Though I'm not involved in the Tea Party movement, I think they're more right than wrong. And I'd like to see a change in the Supreme Court too, but in the opposite direction as you would. Justices Scilia and Thomas are my favorites, but Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts are great, too. If all the Justices were like them, U.S. would be in fine shape.

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

Seems some of you think that slavery is black and white, it isn't. There are many forms and faces of slavery, just because you are not picking cotton and getting whipped, doesn't mean you are not a slave. Diane, that IS the plan, if you are too blinded by your ignorance, you won't see anything but the walls of your ivory tower.

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

The corporations get richer thanks to tax breaks and loopholes while the American public gets poorer and poorer and gets no help.

Well said Frances C. I agree with you. If only conservatives and corporations would listen, but they're so blinded by their own greed and hubris they can't see the light of reason or compassion.