In short, corporate America does not come close to paying its fair share of government's cost. Nor, obviously, is it called upon to make any human sacrifice. As for all those hundreds of billions, they simply were and are added to the national debt, a tab that will be borne disproportionately by working Americans.
What kind of corporation escapes responsibility for any of these bills? Carnival Cruise Lines for one, a Miami company whose glitzy megaships have names like Carnival Fantasy, Ecstasy, Elation, and Paradise. From 2005 to 2010, Carnival - the world's largest cruise carrier - racked up $13 billion in profits. The company's tax bill for those years? Chump change of $191 million. That's million. And that included U.S. income tax, foreign income, and local income tax. The overall tax rate came in at 1.4 percent. This even though the ships sail out of Miami and are inspected by the Coast Guard.
Middle America has not fared nearly so well, thanks to a Congress that likes to sock it to ordinary people, the same people who are and will be hammered even more as lawmakers target them to be a scapegoat for the ballooning deficits. Though corporate profits have continued to climb, the wages of working people remain frozen in time. In 2008, according to IRS data, 10 million working individuals and families filed tax returns reporting incomes of between $30,000 and $40,000. Their effective tax rate: 6.8 percent - nearly five times the Carnival rate.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Today in inequality reading: Barlett and Steele return