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Spending More to Influence Govt. Than Fund It

As business taxes continue their 60 year decline in the United States, the International Business Times reports that 30 major corporations have spent more money — three times as much — over the last few years on influencing the government than they’ve paid in federal taxes over that period of time.

By employing a plethora of tax-dodging techniques, 30 multi-million dollar American corporations expended more money lobbying Congress than they paid in federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010, ultimately spending approximately $400,000 every day — including weekends — during that three-year period to lobby lawmakers and influence political elections, according to a new report from the non-partisan Public Campaign.

Despite a growing federal deficit and the widespread economic stability that has swept the U.S since 2008, the companies in question managed to accumulate profits of $164 billion between 2008 and 2010, while receiving combined tax rebates totaling almost $11 billion. Moreover, Public Campaign reports these companies spent about $476 million during the same period to lobby the U.S. Congress, as well as another $22 million on federal campaigns, while in some instances laying off employees and increasing executive compensation.

29 of those companies paid no federal income tax at all. And that doesn’t even include all the money they give to third party groups to influence elections with “issues ads.” Conservative jerks like Matthew Vadum argue that the poor should not be allowed to vote if they don’t pay federal income tax, so where are they on this issue? Oh, that’s right. It’s not about fairness, it’s about attacking poor people and treating them unequally compared to rich people.

Comments

  1. d cwilson says

    Just wait until Vadum and his ilk start arguing that corporations should have the right to vote on behalf of all of their employees and shareholders.

  2. Aquaria says

    As business taxes continue their 60 year decline in the United States, the International Business Times reports that 30 major corporations have spent more money — three times as much — over the last few years on influencing the government than they’ve paid in federal taxes over that period of time

    Gee, I wonder what caused that to happen…

    /SARCASM

  3. Michael Heath says

    This doesn’t even account for the enormously talented intellectual capital (experts) focused on tax avoidance from a finance and accounting perspective as opposed to the lobbying perspective reported here.

    Companies with outstanding growth prospects allocate their best intellectual resources in finance, accounting and even to a degree in operations on maximizing those growth opportunities. If growth rates of earnings are tougher to achieve by expanding the business, companies will increasingly allocate their resources to tax avoidance since the market demands growth in a way no company or industry can influence (stock prices are based on future earnings within the context of risk). Having corporate America’s best financial minds focused on growth is generally a win-win proposition for all of us, the latter is not for any of us long-term – including those companies’ stakeholders who are deploying their resources on tax avoidance rather than more on growth. Tax avoidance efforts don’t revolve solely around lobbying for changes in the tax code to increase profits and create barriers to entry for competitors, but also influence decisions regarding where to operate.

    We’d be far better off if our best and brightest financial minds were focused on primarily on organic growth and secondarily on growth through mergers and acquisitions [With a tough, dynamic, regulatory framework to insure we suppress the rise of oligopolies and monopolies that transfer costs to others outside their supply chain, like the coal companies to all of humanity.]

    The fact only 9% of our federal budget is funded by corporations while they’re very effective lobbying for their interests at the expense of the public at large is an enormous defect where we can assign blame both to old-school liberals and conservatives.

  4. The Lorax says

    It’s the trickle-down effect, remember. Put money on top, and it’ll trickle down to the masses, thus stimulating the economy. It’s a lot like a mountain, right? You put all your water at the top, and it flows down.

    … oh, you mean water freezes at the tops of mountains? Well, no worries. I think the analogy still works.

  5. Rasmus Odinga Gambolputty de von Ausfern....of Ulm says

    I really hope there’s a massive “Wait…wut?” moment with each of these corporations over this. I doubt it, but I still hope.

  6. frog says

    But I thought corporations where supposed to be efficient and look to the bottom line? Why are they wasting their money paying lobbyists when just paying taxes would be cheaper?

    People are stupid. Short-sighted and stupid.

  7. Michael Heath says

    frog writes:

    But I thought corporations where supposed to be efficient and look to the bottom line? Why are they wasting their money paying lobbyists when just paying taxes would be cheaper?

    They’re not wasting their money; investments in lobbying enjoys enormous returns, some in the hundreds and thousands of percent.

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