Tax Everybody!

I hate taxes, don’t you?  Every year we pay them and pay them.  We pay real estate taxes and sales taxes and income taxes.  What was it George Harrison sang?

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

We pay taxes to support our Nation, our State and our Local Governments.  We pay taxes because without them we would not have the ability to maintain order and provide for the general well-being of the citizenry.

(Of course, the whole notion that THAT”S what our government is all about is up for debate . . . but not here, in this post)

The biggest problem I have with taxes is not that I have to pay them, it’s that so many others DON’T!  Here, look at this – here are 43 major corporations who paid NO taxes in 2012 (and many of them paid none the year before or the year before and on and on):

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Disgusting, isn’t it?  But this is just the tip of the iceberg!  This is just a sampling!

Did you know that Verizon, General Electric, Kraft Foods, Exxon Mobil, and Boeing paid no taxes?

There are dozens of ways these guys – who, by the way, have absolutely NO Loyalty to America – avoid paying their fair share.  My favorite has to do with companies who manufacture and sell ‘stuff.’  They set up a plant to make a component in a tax friendly nation, pay the workers starvation wages (because there, they can), sell the components to themselves for a hugely inflated price which causes a loss on the balance sheet in the US.  In the tax friendly country, the company makes a huge profit on the components and pays no taxes.

Bear in mind that many of these free loaders are also getting U.S. Government incentives and credits – corporate welfare.  We’re paying them for not paying taxes!

What’s interesting is when you look at which politicians receive donations from these jokers.  Here’s a link.  While the list is littered with Republicans (the party of business, you know), it is interesting that President Obama got more than $50,000 from Verizon and $30,000 from GE.

Put it all in blender and shake it up and what do you get?  A government owned and controlled by big business sucking the financial life out of the general population.  If you think ours is a government by and for the people . . . you’re just not paying attention.

Guess who else doesn’t pay taxes?  Non-Profits, of course.  That makes sense, doesn’t it?  Benign, helpful organizations, doing good for the public and making NO MONEY – they shouldn’t have to pay taxes, right?  Sounds good in theory, but in practice, the non-profit designation is often just a tax category (or a no-tax category) loosely applied so that millions can be made while paying nothing.  For example, did you that the National Football League – who had enough cash laying around to pay Roger Goodell $44.2 million in 2012 – is  a NON-PROFIT?  The league has more than $1 billion in assets!  The PGA and NHL are similarly classified as non-profits.  Major League Baseball used to be, but ‘came out of the closet’ so to speak because they didn’t want to have to report the salaries of their top executives.

In my home town of San Diego, the Mission Valley YMCA is a non-profit.  Somehow they managed to pay their top exec more than $500,000 last year, but they didn’t make any money.  I always remember his compensation package when I get the phone call for a donation.

While we’re at it, let’s add another group to the list of tax dodgers.  How about churches?  I know churches are the most sacred of cows and of course we don’t want to burden them with taxes!  I totally agree with that.  I think religious organizations probably ought to be exempt . . . if they are primarily religious organizations.  But over the past 30 years, many have become so political, that I can’t help but wonder why we give them a tax break.  I’m a religious guy (kinda), and I have to pay taxes.  Why not the church who sends protesters to picket the funerals of Marines?

This became very apparent to me a few years ago in the fight over California’s Prop 8.  Regardless what you think about gay marriage, that issue provided a wonderful view of how churches step out of their non-tax paying religious bailey-wicks into politics.   Prop 8 passed largely for two reasons:  it was worded so poorly that, unless you were very careful you would likely vote for it no matter what you really believed, and the donations of churches created a huge war chest of cash in support of the measure.  One of the largest contributors was the Mormon Church.

In America we have the principal of separation of Church and State.  We give churches preferential tax treatment because our religious life is important to us.  It is my opinion that when churches use their funds to influence public opinion and political battles, they should lose their tax-exempt status.

Call me a crazy radical.  I just think everyone should pay their taxes.  Can you imagine how much less we’d all have to pay if everyone paid?  Can you imagine how much good we could do, how much better off we’d all be if we all paid our fair share.

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