Tax Revolt by David Atkins

Tax Revolt
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

This will barely register as a shock these days:
At least 25 top United States companies paid more to their chief executives in 2010 than they did to the federal government in taxes, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The companies — which include household names like eBay, Boeing, General Electric and Verizon — averaged $1.9 billion each in profits, according to the study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal-leaning research group. But a variety of shelters, loopholes and tax reduction strategies allowed the companies to average more than $400 million each in tax benefits — which can be taken as a refund or used as write-off against earnings in future years.

The chief executives of those companies were paid an average of more than $16 million a year, the study found, a figure substantially higher than the $10.8 million average for all companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index...

The authors of the study, which examined the regulatory filings of the 100 companies with the best-paid chief executives, said that their findings suggested that current United States policy was rewarding tax avoidance rather than innovation.

“We have no evidence that C.E.O.’s are fashioning, with their executive leadership, more effective and efficient enterprises,” the study concluded. “On the other hand, ample evidence suggests that C.E.O.’s and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before — at a time when the federal government desperately needs more revenue to maintain basic services for the American people.”

In a sane country with a real media, people who say that we need to lower taxes on "job creators" would be mocked 24/7 on the cable news networks. They would have approximately the same credibility as NAMBLA, and their effect on society would be seen as less salutary.

On a positive note, the New York Times article is pretty good journalism: it tells the truth and lays out the facts without trying too hard at a "balanced" take. There are a few confusing and pointless quotes from the Boeing and Verizon corporate hacks, but by and large it's fairly well done. More like this, please.