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Corporations Need to Pay More

#1

Corporations Need to Pay More

Patti Lynn

For all that some might grumble about paying our taxes when this time of year rolls around, we do it. And most of us do it not just because it’s the law, but because we understand and agree with the one of the basic underlying concept behind taxes: We all pay some portion of what we have into a shared pool of resources. And that money goes to fund the services we all need, collectively, like water infrastructure, schools, and transportation.

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#2

All of us who worked 30 years or more to help make a living for ourselves and our families, paid somewhere between 25 and 35% of our income in taxes.

No one must be exempt from this in order to maintain a basic amount of equality.

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#3

Excellent points made by the author and her organization Corporate Accountability.

i’d go further:

We must entirely rewrite the corporate charter, and abolish the “limited liability, investor owned, for profit corporation.” Maybe call it the new abolitionism. Base the economy in nonprofit publicly-owned and worker-owned corporations that are charter-bound to uphold ecological and social health above financial profit.

All corporations are chartered by governments, which define the basic rules and the “operating system” on which the corporations function. The original “limited liability, investor owned corporations” were the Dutch East India Company and other similar corporations that were chartered to carry out colonization on behalf of their governments.

This predatory colonizing function is the basic structure of the economy today, except that the corporations have broken free, now dominate the governments that supposedly authorize their existence, and are in the process of creating a global “neo-feudalism” with the new “lords” of the trillionaire class lording it over the rest of us.

It will not be easy to rein in these monsters, these corporations, that claim the “liberty” to own all and rule over all with no restraint. The 50-year neoliberal assault on democracy is all about “liberating” these corporations from any governmental restraint, all dressed up in fancy think-tank propaganda about a rising tide lifting all boats and other tattered lies that we can all see through. But public dialog, and to some degree our own consciousness, have been colonized by these colonizing monsters, so it is hard to even imagine a world not existing under their rule.

We need to see it, and imagine it, and decolonize our minds, and decolonize the economy.

And i suppose that starting by taxing them, and trying to make them pay for their “externalized” costs, is a good starting point. Even these small measures will require global solidarity and a unified mass movement across national borders.

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#4

It seems to me the original sin is not that we tax corporations too little, it’s that we allow them to garner too much of our collective wealth.

Would it be better to first reduce their aggregation of wealth by drastically increasing wages (which in turn would increase taxes through payroll taxation, while reducing the burden on government for social programs)? Then, if they still have too much in their coffers and we too little at our disposal to fund the public good, then to tax them more?

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#5

Not only do they need to pay more, but the respective secretaries of state that issue corporate charters must actually enforce the provisions and requirements of those charters - which with painful clarity is clearly not taking place.

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#6

Good idea, except that it is solely up to the corporation itself to “drastically” increase wages, not the state or federal government(s).

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#7

Actually that can be legislated. We currently do that through the minimum wage. There’s no reason it couldn’t be tied to some combination of total corporate profits/revenues and/or executive management pay (i.e. the CEO can’t make more than X times the lowest paid employed or Y times the median wages of the workforce).

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#8

There you go; that could happen.

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#9

The chance of real legislation that could be passed and then enforced is nil until money is removed from elections, especially any from entities such as corporations. Of course that won’t happen in a catch-22 system such as we have with bribes(contributions) being allowed by super-pacs and corporations at large. Taxes are enforced by governments to adjust for income inequality. Our govt is run by the capitalists, not the other way around as it should be.

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#10

Exactly, see my post above. We need a global movement to rein in and transform the corporation.

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#11

60 on the largest corporations paid ZERO last year and some of them actually got refund on top of that.

They need to pay, and pay. THeir CEO’s need to FEEL our pain.

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#12

Great post. In addition, since our current political and economic systems all but guarantee rule by sociopaths, I propose all candidates for high office and all corporate executives must pass the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI–“a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues.”

Eliminating sociopathic accumulators and psychopaths from positions of power over everyone else is essential. The problems accruing from this kind of testing are surely trivial compared to the societal gains that follow from removing the hands of the viciously mentally ill from our collective throats.

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#13

and add a Maximum wage. At least through changing the Top Marginal Tax Rate. AOC says 70% which is a good direction but we should show than what a REAL Republican used. I like Ike… 90%

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#14

Super appreciate the intent to keep psychopaths and sociopaths away from any levers of political power. Very leery of an testing to weed them out. Just aware of the vagaries of testing, and also how testing itself has been used as a tool to uphold social divisions and established power. Not sure of the best way forward.

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#15

Over 90% of corporate profits over ten years went to dividends or stock buybacks says professor William Lazonick at INETeconomics.org. He says there are 1,910 very large corporations with an average of 25,000 employees each, collectively they generate about a third of all economic activity. They pay the highest salaries, but over all, “average weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers”, as the BLS calls 80% of all workers, were higher in 1965, and that’s 54 years ago. This is not new information, Dollars and Sense magazine published a 2009 article claiming almost $2 trillion were “purloined” from workers in 2008. See this article: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2011/0711cypherB.html – Since 1965 the per capita productivity has tripled, while wages are still the same on average. It’s a case of really bad journalism that this is not well-known. The United Way charity published a study, ALICE, showing that 60% of jobs pay less than $20 and hour, and 40% pay less than $15. We need a $15 minimum, and we have to go forward with penalizing corporations for low pay. The wage share going to the lowest 90% has dropped by at least 15% of all income, from 55% to below 40%. This represents a pay cut of about $20,000 per worker for about 100 million workers. I write a blog and make this case, http://benL88.blogspot.com. The $20,000 per worker figure comes from a study by the Economic Policy Institute, “What Should You Be Earning?” – https://www.epi.org/blog/your-pay/ – The Social Security Administration reports that – " Based on data in the table below, about 67.4 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $48,251.57 raw average wage. By definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $31,561.49 for 2017." — https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2017 – Half of U.S. workers received less than $31,561 in 2017. The average income for the half was below $13,000, and the portion of the national income earned by half, 82 million plus U.S. workers, was below 8% of the total national income. It’s a disgrace. Check my blog. Check out Corporate Accountability.

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#16

Love your posts Ben, keep up the hard work.

Bad journalism sure, but not surprising that such “bad journalism” happens to support the rule and the ideology of “the ruling class.”

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#17

Why tax corporations and miss out on their economies of scale?

Tax the net worth of everyone at 100% above a ceiling established by periodic referendum that could be ten million or 110 million dollars. No need to have tax brackets. No one else needs to be taxed but those obligatory philanthropists who have it all.

Direct economic democracy would curb the destructive greed and authoritarian power of one over many.

Controlling greed could spread the wealth and make us all nicer, kinder and happier.

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