As we roll around towards tax season this year, Trump and the Republican Congress are chomping at the bit to do “tax reform” once the Affordable Care Act is enacted or junked and either scenario is possible since both the Freedom Caucus and Breitbart are against it.  (Is Trump listening?)  And we are all in favor of Tax Reform since we the people are basically taking up all the slack that our corporate overlords are don't contribute to the U.S Treasury and pony up when April 15th rolls around. 

The corporate argument is that the U.S. tax rate for corporations at 35% is just way too onerous and forces them to shift their “operations” to foreign countries who have lower corporate tax rates.  I mean we’ve been hearing this argument for decades.  But let’s take a look at just how much a bunch of corporations actually pay in taxes to the U.S. Treasury. 

The folks at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy analyzed 258 of the Fortune 500 companies who earned more than $3.8 trillion (yes, that’s trillion with a “T”!).   They found that nearly 40 percent paid no taxes in at least one year between 2008 and 2015. Eighteen, including General Electric, International Paper, and PG&E, incurred a total federal income tax bill of less than zero over the entire eight-year period — meaning they received rebates. The institute used the companies’ own regulatory filings to compute their tax rates.

As Bernie Sanders described the Institute’s findings: “The truth is that we have a rigged tax code that has essentially legalized tax dodging for large corporations,” Senator Sanders said. “Offshore tax haven abuse has become so absurd that one five-story office building in the Cayman Islands is now the ‘home’ to more than 18,000 corporations.”

Here’s a list of companies that actually avoided paying any taxes between 2008 and 2015.  Most of the 18 companies that managed to pay no total income tax were in the energy sector.

  • Pepco Holdings Energy
  • PG&E Energy
  • Wisconsin Energy Energy
  • NiSource Energy
  • International Paper Manufacturing
  • FirstEnergy Energy
  • Priceline E-commerce
  • Atmos Energy
  • General Electric Conglomerate
  • American Electric Power Energy
  • Ryder System Logistics
  • Duke Energy
  • NextEra Energy
  • Xcel Energy
  • Ameren Energy
  • CMS Energy
  • Sempra Energy
  • Northeast Utilities Energy

Here are the biggest beneficiaries of our tax system with the biggest subsidies: 

1.  AT&T - $38.1 billion
2.  Wells Fargo - $31.4 billion
3. JP Morgan Chase – $22.2 billion
4.  Verizon – $21.1 billion
5.  IBM – $17.8 billion
6. General Electric - $15.4 billion
7. Exxon Mobil - $12.9 billion
8. Boeing - $11.9 billion
9.  Procter & Gamble - $8.5 billion
10.  Twenty Frist Century Fox - $7.6 billion
11.  Time Warner - $6.7 billion
12. Goldman Sachs - $5.5 billion

The total subsidies these corporations received was well over $200 billion. Rest assured, folks, that when Congress takes up Tax Reform, you aren’t going to see any legislation that smacks corporations for not paying their fair share.  What you will see – and I can guarantee this one – are America’s working and middle classes continuing to subsidize the rich and our corporate overlords. 


As we were focused on Trump’s bogus claim that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in New York City and Trumpcare, here’s what the Republican controlled Congress was taking up while we weren’t looking:  Reducing Our Legal Rights.  Yup, that’s right.  From the days of “Frivolous Lawsuits Are Destroying The Country” and 79 year old Stella Liebeck’s lawsuit against McDonald’s after she was severely burned by a spilled cup of hot coffee, the "always looking our for your interests" Republicans now have a golden opportunity to once again reduce the rights we have to sue corporations.  Four measures are making their way through the House of Representatives that would cap the amount of jury awards for medical malpractice (doctors are overjoyed) to $250,000 which is less than a whole lot of folks pay in medical costs after an injury, to make it more difficult for us citizens to mount class action lawsuits (again) and would limit such suits only when each person in a class action suit had exactly the same kind of injury, a third would require Federal Judges to sanction attorneys when their claims are later found to have been “frivolous” (like Ms. Liebeck’s case, for example) and the last measure would “rebalance” our justice system which according to the bill’s sponsor, Lamar Smith, (R-RX), since it has been "tilted too far in favor of plaintiffs and their clients.”  I mean he ACTUALLY said this on the House floor.   

According to Smith, “There are so many frivolous lawsuits, ruining people’s lives, robbing people of their livelihoods.  We have to do something to reduce these junk lawsuits.  Often they are filed with the intention of getting a settlement.  It’s a form of legal extortion.”  The House of Representatives has passed the first two of these measures.  Not a single Democrat voted to approve them.

The sad part of these efforts is that we’ve been here before.  It was back in the 1990’s when a Republican controlled Congress trotted out the same bogus arguments to make it harder for us citizens to sue corporations for injury and protecting those who have committed malfeasance against us. 

Way to go Republicans, right? 


The Federal Ethics Office recommended that the White House take action against Chief White House Propaganda Minister, Kellyanne Conway, for plugging Ivanka Trump’s products on a Fox News program.   To the rest of us, it seemed like a clear – if not overly earth shattering – violation of the rules that prevent public officials from promoting shit.  Well, the White House ethics counsel, Stefan Passantino, has a slightly different take on the matter.  His take is that the White House is not subject to the Ethics Office’s pesky rules and regulations.  Why?  Well apparently the legislation that established the Office only mentions Federal “Agencies” in its text and, he argues, the White House is not a Federal “Agency.”   Way to go Stefan!!  So it does seem appropriate that this would be the position the Trump White House would take, since the President does not believe that Presidents can have conflicts of interest and it seems as if lawlessness does not apply to him or anyone else in his Administration. 

Keep On Resisting!

PS:  Note to Trump and Freedom Caucus Voters: Now that Republicans control all three branches of the government, is it becoming the least bit evident to you that Republicans (and Trump who’s not really a Republican, at least in the current iteration of the term) really don’t have your best interests in mind?  That they could really care less about you?  That they only serve America’s corporate interests? That lying Ryan has no concept of what it means to actually pass legislation that helps you and me?   No?  Well, okay then.  Keep on suffering. 


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