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Carl Gibson

Carl Gibson

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Corporations Are Draining America's Vitality

Posted: 03/31/11 02:50 AM ET

Corporate tax dodging is draining the lifeblood from our communities - as we face reckless budget cuts.

Imagine the American economy as a human body, with wealth as its lifeblood. When turned upside-down, the blood all collects in our head and a person will eventually suffer a stroke and die. But if the person is standing upright, the blood is able to circulate freely to all parts of the body, and the person is able to survive and thrive.

Because of budget cuts, the Jersey Shore borough of Interlaken is dismissing its entire police force. The city of Washington D.C. has run out of money for new residents' garbage cans and recycling bins. Our nation's wealth is pooling into the pockets of a select few multi-billion dollar corporations at a breakneck pace. All that's needed to get our economy standing upright again and the wealth circulating throughout the economy is for Fortune 500 headliners like Bank of America, GE, Verizon and FedEx to pay their fair share in taxes.

As long as these corporations are free to bankrupt the American people by stashing away their income in overseas accounts, our economy will continue to worsen until the American middle class and working poor have no more purchasing power. This would suffocate small businesses in communities across the continent, stifle any hope of job creation and transform the United States into a 21st-century banana republic. This would be the equivalent of an economic stroke in America.

But there's a simple solution staring us all in the face- make these corporations pay their fair share of taxes We could gain up to $100 billion more in tax revenue if these corporate tax cheats were forced to bring their income back to America and pay an effective 35% rate, like other businesses already do.

Our economy can stand upright again if our leaders simply outlawed offshore corporate tax havens. GE's most recent 10k filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that the company currently has over $90 billion in income in offshore accounts. GE even boldly states they "...do not intend to repatriate these earnings." If that $90 billion was brought back to America and taxed appropriately, that would be enough to hire 800,000 more teachers. If GE paid taxes on their $1.1 billion rebate from the federal government they received despite making more than $10 billion in profit, that alone would hire almost 28,000 teachers. Do our leaders want teachers or tax cheats?

Here in Mississippi, we have a simpler analogy: there's hay in the barn, but we aren't feeding the horses. Farmers seem to be scratching their heads trying to decide which horses they'll starve, instead of simply opening the barn doors and putting out enough hay for their livestock. And just like a farm needs livestock to prosper, the American people need crucial services like firefighters, public schools, 911, libraries and medicaid to thrive.

Will we stand upright and let our nation's lifeblood circulate to all parts of the body, or will we allow our economy to suffer a stroke? Will we feed or starve the horses? Will we let corporate tax cheats continue to plunder the American people, or will the American people stand and demand our leaders take action?