Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Protesters Confront "Fix the Debt" Leader over Corporate Tax Breaks

And they do it with a big sign:

The protestors are calling themselves "Flip the Debt."  From truth-out:

While speaking at a Fix the Debt conference on Monday, Honeywell International Inc. CEO David Cote [he of "union busting for dummies" fame] was interrupted several times by Flip the Debt protesters over tax loopholes that allow companies like Honeywell and General Electric to pay far less taxes than ordinary Americans. 
Three minutes into Cote's keynote address, the first heckler trumpeted: 
...Fix the Debt is nothing more than a CEO lobby whose real objective is huge corporate tax breaks and drastic cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. David Cote and his CEO friends receive a lot from government: In 2011, Honeywell received $725 million in government deals, making it the 35th largest federal contractor. However, Honeywell and other companies pay next to nothing in taxes. Honeywell's tax rate from 2008-2011 was 2 percent. Does anyone in this room pay 2 percent?"
 The crowd applauded, but Cote only laughed nervously.
So, he neither confirmed nor denied whether he paid 2%.  An interesting nod to the UK, similar to the spread of the "Uncut" movement across the atlantic:
Gan Golan, cofounder of Flip the Debt, laid out his group's goals. "We will disrupt Fix the Debt meetings across the country to elevate our message that the biggest corporations in the country aren't paying taxes, and now they want the rest of us to pay for it. Sustained public pressure against corporate tax dodgers in the UK has put the issue at the top of the agenda there, and we hope to do the same."
The article mentions the Sanders bill to end deferral, and ends on the connection between tax dodging by multinationals and the dismantling of the welfare state:
Charlie Balban, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans-New Hampshire, grilled Cote during a question-and-answer period. "We should do something about the debt, but we don't need to cut programs that people depend on. Instead of reducing the deficit on the backs of working Americans, corporations should pay taxes like the rest of us."
It can't be too much longer before someone draws up a menu of welfare state expenditures in the US and then ties each item to a specific company and what they might have paid in taxes had they incurred the statutory rate on their income for the year.  If you see such a thing, please send me a link.

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