Friday, March 25, 2011

An Elitist Corporation in Action: GE as Taker, Not Giver

It's hard not to contrast what GE is taking from the government versus what it pays to the government. Taxes should be lower for all of us, but they are truly lower for GE---think ZERO. At the same time that GE pays zero in taxes, there is pretty much an intravenous tube shoving Washington money (taken from taxpayers) into GE.

Here's Tim Carney on GE, the taker:
First, there’s the policy overlap: Obama wants cap-and-trade, GE wants cap-and-trade. Obama subsidizes embryonic stem-cell research, GE launches an embryonic stem-cell business. Obama calls for rail subsidies, GE hires Linda Daschle as a rail lobbyist. Obama gives a speech, GE employee Chris Matthews feels a thrill up his leg. I could go on...At that Ex-Im conference (Ex-Im is a government agency dedicated to subsidizing U.S. exports), Immelt declared “Germany is the model” economically because they believe in “government and business working as a pack.”

This is, of course, on top of its huge military contracts and the benefits GE Credit gets from the Federal Reserve printing more money.
Here is Public Intelligence on GE, the non-taxpayer:
General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.

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.
That may be hard to fathom for the millions of American business owners and households now preparing their own returns, but low taxes are nothing new for G.E. The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.
Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore. G.E.’s giant tax department, led by a bow-tied former Treasury official named John Samuels, is often referred to as the world’s best tax law firm. Indeed, the company’s slogan “Imagination at Work” fits this department well. The team includes former officials not just from the Treasury, but also from the I.R.S. and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.  
And don't think that GE just has Congress and the IRS under control, GE's Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt has been called President Obama's "Pet CEO", because of their close relationship.

1 comment:

  1. Jeff Immelt delivered Obama's lines in 2009.

    Greed lives...