Today, and not a moment too soon, the non-profit Citizens For Tax Justice (CTJ) has put out their findings revealing that twelve of the nations largest Fortune 500 companies, while making $170 billion in profits during the period of The Great Recession, paid an effective tax rate of negative 1.5%.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Not only have these twelve companies paid zero in taxes for the years 2008-2010, they actually received tax subsidies that added $62.4 billion to their bottom lines.
The companies were chosen by the CTJ to represent a range of industries, including manufacturing, energy, services, transportation and high tech and include – in alphabetical order – American Electric Power, Boeing, Dupont, Exxon Mobil, FedEx, General Electric, Honeywell International, IBM, United Technologies, Verizon Communications, Wells Fargo and Yahoo.
Here are the bullet points presented by the report:
- From 2008 through 2010, these 12 companies reported $171 billion in pretax U.S. profits. But as a group, their federal income taxes were negative: –$2.5 billion.
- All but two of the dozen companies enjoyed at least one no-tax year over the 2008-10 period, despite reporting substantial pretax U.S. profits in those no-tax years.
- Eight of the twelve companies reported net tax benefits over the full three-year period.
According to the study, not a single one of these companies paid an amount even close to the 35% statutory tax rate.
In fact, the tax rate paid by Exxon Mobile, when spread over the full three years, was only 14.2% – a full 60% below the 35% rate that corporations are supposed to be paying. And if we take a look at what Exxon paid over just the past two years, it totals a mere 0.4% on their pre-tax profits of $9.9 billion.
And get this – Exxon Mobile paid the most in taxes of any of the twelve companies on the list.
Here is my favorite part – had just these twelve companies paid at the actual 35% tax rate the GOP is telling us they are chaffing under, the sum would have added a full 12% to the totals the United States of America’s treasury received through corporate taxes.
We sure could use that money.
This morning, another in the parade of GOP idiots in Congress, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, was spouting the GOP talking point about "small businesses" being the engine of hiring. John McCain was spouting this nonsense in 2008, and was debunked by Factcheck.org, which noted that when the U.S. Small Business Administration refers to about 26.8 million small businesses, it includes about 20 million "non-employer" firms -- which includes people who sell their stuff on e-bay, the couple in the town next to me who have an errand-running service, the catsitter I use when we go away for a weekend, or Mr. Brilliant charging someone fifty bucks to de-virus their PC. These "small businesses" don't hire people, and the file at personal tax rates -- which means that corporate tax cuts do NOTHING to foster hiring.
So I repeat: The tax cuts originally advocated and signed by George W. Bush have been in place for a decade. The biggest companies not only pay no taxes, but got money back.
So...where are the jobs?