Monday, April 18, 2011

Today in inequality reading: Barlett and Steele return

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.

1 comment:

namefromthepast said...

Fair Tax!

Just for gits and shiggles I went to the Carnival website and the various taxes etc were a bit over 10% of the booking price.

Assuming the majority of the patrons are middle class types this makes the total taxes paid by a traveler around 16-30%. This is what the patron had left after they were originally taxed on their income-multiplier of sorts.

Say we tax Carnival at 10X where they are now. The tax burden still falls to the patron because it simply is a cost of doing business. Fewer people get to travel and what is the overall impact to revenue stream to the gov't? Who knows?

I submit that if the tax rate were 10X the revenue stream isn't anywhere near 10X.

I'd really like to know what Carnival did with the $13 billion in profits. Probably burned it.