August 21, 2011
In a recent New York Times op-ed article, Warren Buffett asserts that the super-rich do not pay enough taxes. He is correct.
I would extend his argument to "tax evading" corporations and their current lack of acting in good faith as good corporate citizens. (Side bar to Mitt Romney: Corporations are not people, but USA Corporations are corporate citizens, conferring on them both the benefits and responsibilities that come with such a status.)
We are not a democracy within a corptocracy. Rather we are a constitutional republic (a democracy) within which Corporations are free to exist, under the rules, regulations and taxes imposed. Corporate citizens (can Multi nationals really be corporate Citizens?), i.e. their human CEOs (top brass) bear both the privilege and responsibility of this citizenship. Hence, the CEOs of American based Corporations have a responsibility to not just their "shareholders", but to all the stakeholders, i.e., "we the people".
We were given to believe the Free-Market system was up to maneuvering business profits in any environment. The oft repeated phrase by the Right is, "Government doesn't Create Jobs, businesses do."
Of course, the truth is a little less simplistic: Businesses create private sector jobs, and the Government creates public sector jobs, and there is a place for both in our economy.
Businesses and Business leaders need to be able to navigate their "ship of state" in any waters: calm with no wind (stagnation, deflation); high waves (market volatility, inflation); a storm (tax hikes); lightening strike (sudden death of CEO); or taking on water (higher material and labor costs). This "cry baby" attitude that everything must be in their favor, before they can take action is absurd, nay beyond absurd! They use the Government they so hate, as a crutch and a sugar daddy. Well they have taken and taken and now their "Uncle Sam" is broke. Time to stop putting a hand out for a "handout"!
Businesses buy raw goods to make their products whether prices are low or high. They have to function whether stock prices are high or low, affecting the equity on their books.
So, why can't they function whether taxes are low of high? Why can't they function, if regulations are less or more?
Our "moneyed" political system -- Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad,, Buckley v. Valeo, and now Citizens United have allowed the wealthy to BUY the politicians. Hence, they have gotten use to "their way or the highway" on taxes and regulations. NAFTA and GATT gave corporations a way to go to low wage countries and leave the higher paid middle class worker in the dust.
They have gotten used to complaining and demanding, thru' paid lobbyists, of our government, ever lower tax rates (and fewer regulations); even though at any tax rate they hire minions of tax accountants to avoid paying any taxes:
See Examples of tax avoidance by US Multi-Nationals below - this evasion and "lack of responsibility" as corporate citizens has added to the US Government's deficit and debt - we have gone in 30 years from a world creditor nation to a world debtor nation - mainly because of lower Taxes and Free Trade. This destruction of the USA and our constitutional republic should be considered an act of treason!
Example 1: The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.
More than half of foreign companies and about 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years in that period, the report said.