08/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

U.S. Businesses Hiding $58 Billion of Your Money

To the long list of examples of how business rips off the average person -- from paying CEOs huge salaries while workers get pay and benefits cuts, to making people work harder and more productive than ever before yet refusing to pass on the fruits of that labor to workers, to lobbying against raising the scandalously low minimum wage, to pimping for so-called "free trade" that drives wages down -- you can now add this: corporate America owes us $58 billion, money that it has taken from YOU and put into corporate coffers.

Reuters has just reported this story:

Firms Owe Billions In Unpaid Payroll Taxes

Filed at 11:59 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 1.6 million U.S. businesses owe the Internal Revenue Service more than $58 billion in unpaid taxes for Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance, a government watchdog agency said on Tuesday.

In a report to the Senate Homeland Security investigations subcommittee, the Government Accountability Office said the IRS fails to take full advantage of tools available to collect unpaid taxes and to prevent further cheating on payroll taxes.

"When businesses do not remit payroll taxes, they are using employees' money to fund business operations or the personal lifestyle of the businesses' owners," GAO Director of Financial Management and Assurance Steven Sebastian said in testimony to the committee.[emphasis added]

Wow. Indeed, as the GAO representative points out, businesses are using YOUR money to underwrite operations -- money that was taken out of the paychecks of hard-working Americans to pay for health care, Social Security and for the meager checks people get when they run into hard luck and can't get a job. The money just never got to the government -- it's sitting in corporate coffers, gathering interest and/or being used for purposes that it was never intended for.

If this isn't fodder for a political TV ad, I don't know what is (hint, hint).