FROM THE WEB
Net Briefs - 05/11
Caustic Political Speech
STOP THE DAM
8 Years of Occupation
Hezbollah in Lebanon
The Master's Plan
Kristen L. Buras
30th Years of FNB
War, Prisons, Torture
Angola 3 News
What Happened in Wisconsin
A Serious Fight
The Libya Intervention Debate
Stop Bombing Libya
On Libya & Crises
Stephen Shalom and Michael Albert
A Q&A on Libya
Stephen Shalom and Michael Albert
Civil Wars U.S. Labor
Guide to Green Politics
Toward Climate Justice
Zaps - 05/11
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I Just Finished My Taxes
I just finished my taxes. I pay 18 percent of my income. Some of the biggest companies pay zero percent.
My first pass through the stressful 1040 process made it clear that I will owe a lot of money again this year and that I can't avoid it without cheating, which I am opposed to for reasons of ethics and timidity.
So to get my mind off the unpleasantness, I turned on the news. A report stated that Caterpillar was threatening to leave Illinois because of a 2 percent increase in the state tax rate, which, according to a spokesperson, would burden the company with an additional $40 million tax bill.
It just so happens that members of U.S. Uncut Chicago have been doing research on corporate taxes for PayUpNow.org. "To the files," I exclaimed to myself, happy to take my mind off my own problems.
I went to the SEC website and looked up Caterpillar's 10-K, which would show their income and tax records in recent years. The company made a pre-tax income of $3.75 billion in 2010. The Illinois state tax rate of 4.8 percent would mean a state tax of $180 million. But they only paid $44 million. Could this be right? A company complaining about oppressive state taxes only paid a quarter of their required tax?
I poked around the 10-K a little more, ending up at the section with federal tax figures. Over the past 2 years, according to Caterpillar's own carefully prepared income statement, the company made $4.3 billion, but it received almost $200 million in federal tax refunds.
There had to be an explanation for this. Under Caterpillar's "General and Financial Information 2010," I found this: "We have recorded income tax expense at U.S. tax rates on all profits, except for undistributed profits of non-U.S. subsidiaries of approximately $11 billion which are considered indefinitely reinvested. Determination of the amount of unrecognized deferred tax liability related to indefinitely reinvested profits is not feasible."
By now my mind was drifting back to my own disagreeable tax situation, but I felt the need to compare these findings to that of other corporations. Maybe I was being too hard on the company that had provided jobs in Illinois when conditions were right. Other 10-Ks, dutifully prepared by corporate accountants, revealed the following:
o Exxon Mobil, with over $87 billion of pretax earnings in 2009 and 2010, paid less than 1 percent in federal taxes
o General Electric, with over $24 billion pretax earnings in 2009 and 2010, got a tax refund of over $4 billion
o Verizon, with over $26 billion pretax earnings in 2009 and 2010, got a tax refund of over $1 billion
o Banking leaders Citigroup and Bank of America, with a combined $8 billion of pretax earnings in 2009 and 2010, both got tax refunds two years in a row
o Chemical giants Dow and Du Pont, with combined pretax earnings of over $9 billion in 2009 and 2010, got more in refunds than they paid
Overall, the top 100 companies, with $5 trillion in 2010 revenue and $500 billion in pre-tax earnings, paid less than 10 percent in non-deferred federal taxes. If these 100 companies had paid the 35 percent tax designated by U.S. tax law, another $140 billion would have been collected. This is approximately equal to the total deficit for all 50 states.
Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of U.S. Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, Rapping History.org), and the editor and main author of American Wars: Illusions and Realities (Clarity Press).
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.