Your Views: U.S. tax shelters create corporate welfare

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Letter to the editor
August 25, 2015

According to a 2011 report from Citizens for Tax Justice, during the tax years 2008-2010 the U.S. government gave away $223 billion in corporate welfare. The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world at 35 percent, but few corporations pay this rate because they have become adept at avoiding their taxes.

These are fantastically profitable corporations such as Verizon, which had $33 billion in profits over this three-year period and paid no income taxes but instead received a $950 million gift from the American taxpayers. Within that 2008-2010 period, 30 corporations with $160 billion in profits paid no income tax and received $10.7 billion from the U.S. Treasury.

Middle-class families pay taxes at nearly a 30 percent rate. General Electric didn’t pay any taxes on its 2008-10 earnings, and the U.S. government sent GE $4.74 million.

Unfortunately, tax sheltering is another form of corporate welfare that we tolerate. The fact that Ireland, Bermuda and Luxembourg are jurisdictions where the U.S. corporate sector earned the most profits points to rampant tax sheltering.

Handouts to hugely profitable companies cannot be justified. Corporate welfare ($223 billion) is far more expensive than welfare for the poor ($51 billion).

Why are budget hawks such as Rep. Paul Ryan not targeting corporate welfare?



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