Corporate giant General Electric reported $14.2 billion in profits in 2010, but paid no taxes in the United States. In fact, they managed to wring $3.2 billion in tax benefits, according to a report in the New York Times. GE’s tax department employs “former officials, not just from the Treasury [Dept.], but also from the I.R.S and virtually all the tax-writing committees in Congress.”
At a time when Republicans in Congress are cutting programs that benefit working families, corporations like GE are using sophisticated accounting methods and aggressive lobbying on Capitol Hill to shift even more of the tax burden onto average Americans. That strategy has worked so well that corporate America’s share of all federal tax revenue collected dropped from 30 percent in the 1950’s to just 6.6 percent today.
GE has used a combination of lobbying for tax credits and sheltering income in offshore operations to reduce its tax rate in the United States. In the past five years, according to the Times article, GE ran up $26 billion in profits and ended up with a $4.1 billion tax benefit.
GE’s former CEO once remarked the ideal GE factory would be one on a barge that could be moved to wherever the costs were lowest. The new GE CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, is now the chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competiveness.