Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: Tired of the free loaders in the US economy? 26 August '11

We need to go after all the free loaders living in America.

You know those guys addicted to welfare that’s bankrupting our nation.

Those same guys that don’t pay their fair share in taxes.

Those guys who just dirty up the place and expect the people around them to clean it up.

It’s time to tell them that the free ride is over!

So are you listening GE, Exxon Mobil, Citigroup? Because I’m talking to you!

And I’m talking to you as a person - because after all according to Mitt Romney - that’s what you are:

Corporations are people, my friend. Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?

Tragically, the Supreme Court agrees with Mitt.

And ever since the High Court handed “personhood” over to corporations - thus giving them the same rights as we the people to meddle in politics and influence lawmakers - the one area these corporations have focused most on is tax dodging.

As I point out in my book “Unequal Protection” - these corporations unleashed an army of corporate lobbyists to riddle the American tax code with so many loopholes that you’d be hard-pressed to find one - just ONE - corporation in America that pays any amount even close to the official top corporate tax rate in America - which is between 15% and 35%.

Of course - Republicans - who are wholly owned by the corporate persons - argue that corporations are taxed FAR too much already.

But that’s a lie.

As this chart shows - as a percentage of our GDP - corporations in the United States already pay less in taxes than in any other developed nation in the world except for Iceland.

2009 corporate income taxes as a % of GDP

But that’s not good enough I guess - as Rick Santorum put it - he thinks corporations should pay NO TAXES AT ALL:

The big thing I proposed is to take the corporate rate which makes us uncompetitive, particularly in exporting goods, take the corporate rate and cut it to zero for manufacturers.

Well, Ricky - wake up and smell the coffee - many corporations ALREADY pay no corporate taxes - in fact - they pay less than no corporate taxes - they get welfare!

Like GE - which earned more than 14 billion in profits - yet somehow paid no taxes and even managed to get a $3.2 billion tax rebate!

Or Verizon - whose workers are on strike because the corporation is trying to cut their benefits - which earned more than $24 billion in profits last year - and - like GE - paid no taxes, but instead got a tax rebate over the last two years of over $1 billion.

Not to mention - Bank of America - Boeing - ExxonMobil - Citigroup - Wells Fargo - some of the biggest corporations in America - paid no - nada - none - zero - zip taxes in the United States in 2010.

Oh - and NewsCorp - the parent company of Fox so-called News - they also escaped without paying ANY taxes last year.

Yet the millionaire talking heads over there still think the taxes are too damn high - I guess that’s why they hired Ricky Santorum as a contributor earlier this year.

It wasn’t always like this in America though.

There was a time - not too long ago - when corporations DID pay their fair share.

During the 1960’s - back when America was booming and the middle class was growing - corporate taxes made up 22% of all the revenue going into the government.

But today - it’s about 12% - as in, corporations have managed to get their taxes cut in HALF.

Coincidentally - millionaires and billionaires - by and large the CEOs of these corporations - have also managed to cut their own income taxes in half - and today enjoy the lowest levels of taxation in America in more than 50 years.

Corporations pay less in income taxes - they pay less in property taxes - and they get hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies - also known as corporate welfare.

And all of this is paid for by you and me - with most Americans struggling day in and day out to make ends meet - while the very same corporations we’re giving tax breaks to - ship our jobs overseas for even more tax-free profits.

And it's not like corporations exist in their own little bubble - free from government services.

They use all the same stuff we as people use - like roads and railways - the court system - our police and firefighters - and our military.

They use it but they don;t pay for it. They - like us - use all the commons - they just don't pay for it.

These guys are moochers.

So now is the time to cut the free riders loose.

We've seen for the last 30 years what corporations do with their tax breaks - and that's pay their CEOs mind-boggling amounts of money - screw over their workers - ship jobs and factories overseas - and even crash our markets.

Well - the gravy train ends today - and it ends by declaring once and for all that corporations are not people - that they cannot lobby our lawmakers who represent the people - and that they have to pay their fair share.

Go to MoveToAmend.org - and put an end to corporate personhood for good.

That's The Big Picture.

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