The American Bear


No Fair Share for War Taxes | Frida Berrigan

[…] The New York Times reported last March that for 2010, General Electric paid no taxes on $5.1 billion in U.S.-based profits. Behemoth Bank of America made $4.4 billion in 2009 and got back a very tidy tax return from the federal government — $2.3 billion. Most Americans are lucky if they can pay off an overdue credit card bill (probably from Bank of America) or treat themselves to a nice dinner out or weekend away with their tax returns. Verizon (can you hear me now?) “earned” $12 billion in 2010. That should mean a sizable tax burden here. But, as of 2011, the company has not paid anythingin taxes for two years running. The list goes on.

The corporate tax rate is supposed to be 35 percent. President Barack Obama is proposing lowering that to 28 percent. It kind of doesn’t matter, because it seems like no corporations pay anywhere close to 35 percent in taxes.

Check this out. What is the most patriotic sector of our economy? The military industry, right? Lockheed Martin has the slogan: “We Never Forget Who We’re Working For.” That is totally ungrammatical — although doesn’t “we never forget for whom we work” sound a little snooty?

But they put most of their patriotism in their advertising budget and avoid paying taxes to the country they love. In November 2011, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy looked at the tax rates of the top 280 companies in the Fortune 500. Here is what they have to say about the military sector, which is reaping billions in profits:

"Not only was the 2008-10 effective tax rate on the top 10 defense contractors less than half of the 35 percent official corporate tax rate, but the effective rate fell steadily from 2008 to 2010, from an already paltry 19.3 percent in 2008 to a tiny 10.6 percent by 2010."

Boeing, which manufactures military and civilian aircraft, made $9.7 billion in profits from 2008-2010, but paid a tax rate of minus 1.8 percent in that two year period. I would like the number of their accountant, actually… [++]