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Thread: Inequality Is Ruining Our Country

  1. #21
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Ok, I've looked at At&T's 10-k's to see what income tax they've paid, going back to 2005. In no year did they even pay 10%, let alone the 35% that always gets touted as the corporate income tax rate. The biggest actual tax rate they paid was in 2008, when they paid just over $7B taxes on just over $124B operating revenue, for a whopping 5.6% tax rate. I would be surprised to find very many large corporations with significantly higher actual tax rates, but feel free to share some examples.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Yossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp1 View Post
    Ok, I've looked at At&T's 10-k's to see what income tax they've paid, going back to 2005. In no year did they even pay 10%, let alone the 35% that always gets touted as the corporate income tax rate. The biggest actual tax rate they paid was in 2008, when they paid just over $7B taxes on just over $124B operating revenue, for a whopping 5.6% tax rate. I would be surprised to find very many large corporations with significantly higher actual tax rates, but feel free to share some examples.
    I'm not basing this on one company or any given year.

    But as a quick note, we don't tax businesses on revenue. Taxable income is a net income concept. That means you get to deduct expenses.

    See page 30 of the AT&T annual report: http://www.att.com/Investor/ATT_Annu...ual_report.pdf

    Yes, they had $124 Billion of Operating Revenue in 2008, but they also had $125 Billion of Operating Expenses so they had a net loss for the year.

    It looks like for 2011 and 2012 they had tax expense of around 30 - 42 % of net income.

    But this is not about any one company in any given year or two.



    ETA- But if it was , some amusing stats for those bad guys over in Big Oil

    Effective tax rates for

    ExxonMobil- 39%
    Chevron- 43%
    Conoco - 51.5%

  3. #23
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
    But as a quick note, we don't tax businesses on revenue. Taxable income is a net income concept. That means you get to deduct expenses.
    What an amazing loophole that is!

    ...

  4. #24
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I really don't have strong opinions on the original posts and much of the discussion, but for the record, some of the expenses that big business and big oil write off may include huge budgets for political contributions and lobbying, and big oil has additional benefits of special tax breaks that are no doubt a part of their lobbying and political efforts. Also, from this article,

    "The biggest three publicly owned U.S. oil companies—ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips—also paid relatively low federal effective tax rates in 2011. Reuters reported that their tax payments were “a far cry from the 35 percent top corporate tax rate.” It estimated that ExxonMobil’s effective federal tax rate in 2011 was 13 percent, Chevron’s was 19 percent, and ConocoPhillips’s was 18 percent."
    http://www.americanprogress.org/issu...stration-cuts/

    Maybe 2011 was just a bad year for big oil? The Rueter's link has some discussion about how the effective tax rate is calculated and why there is some divergence in the numbers that are cited.
    "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver

  5. #25
    Senior Member freein05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    What an amazing loophole that is!

    ...
    So true. CEOs making a million plus their salary is an expanse. Even those who get fired that get million dollar severance pay, the pay is a tax deduction.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Yossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogar View Post
    Maybe 2011 was just a bad year for big oil?
    It's hard to judge this stuff looking at one year. You'd have to look at longer period for all this to shake out in the wash. Most of the oil "tax breaks" are timing benefits, meaning they pay less in year 1 but have to pay more in later years.

  7. #27
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Bottom line though is that the average American most likely hears "35% tax rate" and equates that with their own situation and thinks "wow! That's a lot of freakin' taxes!" But the reality is that comparing corporate income taxes to individual income tax is really an apples and oranges comparison. To say that corporations pay 35% is completely meaningless when compared to personal income taxes. Unless the person one is talking to understands how corporate income tax is fundamentally different from individual income tax and can respond based on that understanding.

    Personally I'd have no problem eliminating the corporate income tax IF we then changed the tax code to consider all personal income equally. At the same time we could change the law to stop equating corporations as people, since as a post I saw on facebook so eloquently put it "I'll believe that corporations are people as soon as texas starts commiting a few to the death penalty."

  8. #28
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    I really believe that the way America is set up economically right now just does not work for too many of it's citizens. OTOH, I see hope in DOMA getting the ax and in that same sex marriages are legal now in 25% of American states, and that John Kerry recently stated that those with foreign same sex partners will now have the partner's applications processed no differently than if it were a male/female situation. So I do see some hope.


    I just wish this hope translated into bills getting paid. So far it has not.

    I worry as I really do believe if things continue sliding downhill while the very top class continues to obliviously prosper, some kind of revolution will take place. I never believed this until recently but the income inequality is getting too extreme and I can't come up with one reason that human nature won't repeat itself and why America should be immune from such. If one looks at history, whenever large groups of people are disenfranchised and downtrodden to the benefit of a very few at the top, eventually everything crumbles. I'm glad my mother, a lovely person, is 71 - I'm hoping she is spared dealing with this. Should I reach the normal male life span shown by actuarial tables, I rather doubt I will be spared.....Just my two cents.

  9. #29
    Senior Member gimmethesimplelife's Avatar
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    I've been sitting here thinking of inequality for awhile and what comes to mind is when I visited Hungary in 1987 when it was still a Communist country. Now I will admit I only saw part of the whole picture as I did not live among the everyday people as I did in Austria that summer. On the one hand, it was amazing as what I was lead to believe in school was not true. I saw no beggars, I saw no obvious hunger, people seem decently but a bit dowdily dressed, and the streets were full of cars - just only three makes and in only a few colors. But still lots of cars. This to me on the surface at least is much more equality than I see in today's America.

    On the other hand, it could be argued that those who take risks and succeed deserve to prosper and I'm not 100% against this way of thinking. My problem is how much more is it appropriate for those to make that succeed vs. the everyday people they have to hire in big enterprises to keep the everyday business going? The wage gaps in what an American CEO makes vs. an office worker working for him/her is to me an insult to human dignity and almost a disincentive to work that hard, really. I mean, when you look at the Grand Canyon size gaps in the take home pay - it's not hard to think why even bother trying to achieve anything? I fear there are those who fall into this line of thinking and I can't say as I blame them.

    I've always been able to banish the image of better social equality in Hungary in 1987 by thinking - well, at least I have more freedom than these people do. And it's true, I was granted a visa to get into the country quite easily based on the fact that one of my mother's relatives married an Austrian insurance executive and that was enough pull to get the Visa apparently - but those I saw in Budapest could not leave the country anywhere near as easily as I could. Not to the West anyway. But now with the spying scandals, I question how free are we really? I have a sense I've lost some of the I'm freer than they are comforting thought. And I certainly have felt the wide gaping hole in social inequality a good chunk of my life, some it due to my background, some of it due to upward mobility becoming more and more inaccessible to the average person.

    I don't know that I want Hungary circa 1987 but what the US has morphed into isn't working that well for many of it's citizens either. I don't have the answers but wonder in the future how this all will unfold and where the answers - if any- are going to come from. If things keep getting progressively worse and there is a larger and larger class of people with very little to lose, I worry for the future. I really do. Rob

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yossarian View Post
    Oh, I'm pretty much in the middle
    Really? That's funny, because on one side I've got neoconservatives attacking my responsibly compassionate perspectives, and on the other side Occupy protesters attacking my measured approaches reforming the system and returning balance to where it was a generation ago instead of what they want, overturning the system and reversing the imbalance entirely. I'd be curious to know who's sitting there to the right of your perspectives.

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