Read my lips

Posted on July 6, 2010. Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Poll after poll shows that Americans do not like taxes.  But most of us understand that the taxes we do pay (federal, state, income, and local) go towards funding many necessary services – ranging from trash pickup, to infrastructure, defense, schools and parks, etc.

But what about when corporations don’t like taxes?  Under the eyes of the United States, corporations are recognized to have rights and responsibilities like actual people.  By operating within the United States, corporations are expected to pay the requisite taxes.  However, many corporations that operate within the USA have taken advantage of loop-holes that allow them to avoid paying huge sums of taxes.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling platform was flying the flag of the Marshall Islands on April 20.  And Transocean (the owner of the rig) moved its headquarters from Houston to the Cayman Islands and then Switzerland – all in a continuing effort to stay one step ahead of paying United States corporate taxes.

The Senate is now considering a new tax on petroleum production to pay for the Gulf cleanup, and of course oil industry lobbyists are fighting the measure – warning that a new tax will lead to job losses and higher gasoline prices, as well as an increased dependence on foreign oil.

This is fresh coming from the industry that according to CorpWatch is the largest beneficiary of subsidies in the entire country.  With tax breaks and incentives available at virtually every stage of the oil exploration and extraction process, oil companies in the United States benefit from tens of billions in tax breaks and loopholes each year.

So as the Gulf oil spill continues into its 78th day, and as multi billion dollar oil companies continue to reap record profits, perhaps as taxpaying Americans we should demand greater equity and the retirement of some (if not most) of these ridiculous corporate tax-breaks.  And maybe if enough Americans speak up, we can eventually overpower the $340 million that the oil & gas industry spends on lobbying to ensure that their tax breaks continue forever.

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