My father, who spent his career as an accountant with US Steel, had a sign in his office that read, “The only good accountant is an honest accountant.” So I guess that’s why my wife and I have our taxes done by a very nice and very honest accountant here in South Bend. Of course, honesty is the best policy, but when the final numbers come in, and I see what we are paying Uncle Sam, my first thought is we could underwrite the first day of invading yet another country, as long as it is small and does not have much of an army.
So it was with more than a little jealously when I read the news accounts of the tax bill for General Electric, one of the world’s largest corporations.
Let me look at the bottom line. Hmmm. GE paid exactly zero, none, less than diddly squat. Wait, hold up here. GE actually got a tax benefit of 3.2 BILLION dollars according to the news reports. Do you remember getting a tax refund and celebrating by buying a new refrigerator?
And guess what? No one has offered one iota of information that GE did anything illegal. They did it the good, new-fashioned, American way by flooding Washington with gobs of lobbyists and cash, and making sure Congress saw things their way. That’s the way the biggest of the big and the richest of the rich do it these days, and you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. If you are currently caught in a financial pickle, just try going to Washington and get yourself a change here or there to improve your tax status.
The point of all of this really isn’t about one multi-national corporation. It is about the federal deficit and the fact that we will never really seriously attack it until some things change. There is NO way we can solve this problem until the richest of the rich and the biggest of the big pay their fair share. The middle class is getting squeezed big time, and it is the middle class that drives the American economy, while the big and rich get bigger and richer.
What America needs are more honest accountants and fewer lobbyists. My guess is that won’t happen until the bottom falls out.