Plus: Four executive-pay loopholes that cost taxpayers $14 billion a year.
Josh HarkinsonAug. 16, 2012 3:01 AM
Where's my money?
In recent months corporate America has been lobbying the heck out of Washington to lower tax rates on businesses. As it should, defenders say, because corporations have a duty to maximize their return to investors. But if boosting profits were the goal, then you'd think more big companies would stop complaining about taxes, and look instead at an even greater expense: the bloated salaries of their chief executives.
In a just-released report, the Institute for Policy Studies details 26 megacorporations that paid one guy (their CEO) more than they spent on their entire federal tax bills last year. (See our interactive graph below—whoa! Halliburton!) These same companies averaged $1.4 billion in profits—which were announced, in some cases, around the same time they were announcing massive layoffs.
"I draws what I like and I like what I drew!" sings Bert, the affable sidewalk artist in Disney's Mary Poppins. He doesn't know how easy he's got it. If Bert lived in one of a dozen American cities, his colorful chalk drawings of boats and circus animals could very well land him in jail.
MTV filmed the skit to promote Power Of 12, its effort to get out the youth vote this November. Jason Rzepka, MTV's vice-president of public affairs, told me that its producers wanted Snooki to be reading a political magazine, and their choice of Mother Jones "reflects the impact of your brand and reporting." (It could also reflect the fact that Snooki is soon to be a mother).
Whether Mother Jones actually appeals to Snooki is less clear. Last month she told Newt Gingrich: "I'm trying to be like you," but then, she might have just been making fun of his efforts to cash in on his celebrity. Whatever Snooki's political affiliations, we're happy for the endorsement. Snooki fans can sign up for a subscription here.
How the high-flying tech company just nabbed the largest corporate tax exemption in the state's history.
Josh HarkinsonAug. 8, 2012 6:01 AM
If corporate America is going to lead the way out of the recession, then Apple would seem to be its Horatio Alger. The expansion of the nation's most lucrative tech company into cloud computing is driving demand for vast data centers and the workers needed to build and maintain them. Just last week, Apple gained approval to build a $1 billion server farm in Reno, Nevada—a state that suffers from the nation's worst budget deficit and highest unemployment rate.
But Apple's move will do little to nothing to solve Nevada's employment and budget woes. To the contrary, before Apple would agree to break ground in the Silver State, it demanded and received $88 million in state and local tax breaks—the largest corporate tax exemption in Nevada history. What's more, the deal doesn't even require that Apple create new jobs or hire locals.
Mitt Romney has been on the defensive today over a new study that found his tax plan would most likely increase taxes on the middle class in order to pay for a hefty tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. The study (pdf) by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center scrutinizes Romney's plan to pay for a variety of tax cuts by closing tax loopholes. It concludes that under the most progressive approach possible, Romney's plan would give an $87,000 tax cut to people making more than $1 million a year but require 95 percent of Americans to pay more taxes—on average, $500 more per year.
"He's asking you to pay more so that people like him can get a big tax cut," Obama said from the campaign trail in Ohio today.
Romney has pushed back against the study, claiming that the Tax Policy Center (a wing of the Brookings Institution) is a "liberal" group. But as ThinkProgress points out, Romney praised the Tax Policy Center's analysis of Gov. Rick Perry's tax plan during the GOP primaries, calling it an "objective, third-party analysis."
Here's TPC's chart illustrating who will win and lose from Romney's tax plan: