Axios reports on several of the largest and most successful corporations in the country not only paying zero in federal income taxes, but some of them getting refunds in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This is largely because of the massive cut in business taxes pushed through by Trump and the Republicans.
By the numbers:
- GM is claiming a $104 million refund on $11.8 billion in 2018 profit.
- Goodyear is seeking a $15 million refund on $693 million in profit.
- Halliburton will pay $19 million in U.S. income taxes on $1.6 billion in profit.
- Netflix filed for a $22.1 million refund on $845 million in profit.
- U.S. Steel is claiming a $303 million refund on $957 million in profit.
After its HQ2 debacle in New York, Amazon has been under the most intense scrutiny of all — and now over its tax bill. In a report last week, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said the e-commerce giant is seeking a $129 million refund on $11.2 billion in profit…
How they are doing it: Companies already were able to chip away at their effective tax rate when the top rate was 35%. The new rate of 21% approved under the Trump-backed legislation got them much lower, and then loopholes take effect.
- Amazon is not a passive player in tax law, says the institute’s Matthew Gardner, who researched and wrote the Amazon report. “Amazon in particular has shaped tax law in its own image. They made the laws by lobbying so persistently and effectively,” Gardner tells Axios.
If you’re looking for a reason why we run persistent federal deficits every year, look no further. In the 1950s, business taxes were over 30% of federal revenue. They are now around 9% (and that figure was before the most recent tax cuts; it will be even lower now). This is the golden rule in action — they who have the gold get to rule. They spend tens of millions on lobbying — read: paying off our elected representatives — and receives hundreds of millions, or billions, in return. And this at a time when businesses were already breaking all previous records for profit. It’s outright corruption, plain and simple.
And yet Trump’s followers still think he’s a populist, a man too rich to be bought off and interested only in protecting the interests of the average Joe Six-Pack. This is classic political strategy — distract the people by appealing to their bigotry and hatreds, tell them some other group (immigrants, “globalists,” etc) is to blame for their lot in life, and raid the treasury while they’re busy raging against the enemy du jour.