Last year the Republicans in the House pushed to cuts the SNAP program by $5 billion dollars over the next ten years. These draconian cuts reduced benefits to millions of hungry children. The GOP claims we need to balance the budget and they refuse to make changes to the tax rates, which would lead to higher revenues. “NO NEW TAXES!” Republicans across the country have vowed, even signed pledges, not to raise taxes or create any new taxes. Because the Republicans are unwilling to make changes to our tax system, they insist on making cuts to programs like SNAP, to balance our budget.
Our taxes help to pay for everything from the town snowplow driver to the roads we drive on. They pay for the schools and the teachers who educate our children. They pay for the police officers and firefighters who keep us safe, day and night. That is what our taxes pay for. Taxes are the financial foundation that our community is based on.
Nationally our taxes pay for so many things that it would take 1000 pages just to list them all. The US Government helps to fund businesses large and small, research to make our lives better, and programs designed to keep people out of poverty. Again our taxes are there to create a better society to live in.
Think about what America would look like if we did not pay taxes? How would we get from place to place without roads? Or airports? It is truly scary to think about.
This explains why people become so outraged when politicians make drastic cuts to social assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
What if there was a way that we could reverse the cuts to SNAP, reduce our national debt, and build a better community all at the same time, all without creating new taxes. Would you be in favor of that? I know that I would.
The answer is a simple as making sure that everyone is paying their fair share of the taxes. It all comes from closing the loopholes in the tax code that allow corporations to avoid paying their fair share.
For example, from 2008-2013 General Electric made $33 billion dollars in profits and received a tax rebate. GE received $2.9 billion dollars in federal tax refunds in the last 5 years. If this continues the federal government will give GE over $5.8 billion dollars in tax refunds over a ten-year period. That is $800 million dollars more that all of the SNAP cuts in the same ten years.
How is that even possible? How does a highly profitable company get a tax refund of billions of dollars? Due to loopholes and the offshoring of profits, GE effectively got their tax rate to -9%, hence the refund. Last year my effective tax rate was 18% and I did not make $100 million dollars.
The worst part is GE is not alone in this atrocity. Boeing, Verizon, Bank of America, Citigroup all made billions in profits and had effective tax rates so low, they did not have to pay taxes, they received a refund. In fact Boeing (-2% tax rate) and Verizon (-2% tax rate) alone collected over $1.2 billion dollars in tax refunds over the last five years.
The list goes on. Pfizer pharmaceuticals, who are quickly becoming the master of offshoring profits, made $43 billion between 2010-2012, and received a $2.2 billion dollar refund. FedEx made $2.7 billion dollars in profits in 2011 received a refund of $135 million dollars. Honeywell made $3 billion and received $510 million in refunds.
That is an extra $4 billion in tax refunds to corporations who are exporting jobs, and raking in massive amounts of profits. This does not even include the trillions of dollars given to Citigroup and Bank of America during the “Wall Street bailout.”
The same corporations that are reaping huge rewards from the US Government are pushing to further destroy our social safety net. Many of the CEO’s are calling for deeper cuts to Social Security and other programs. They are also pushing to raise the eligibility age requirement for Medicare and Social Security.
We could restore all the cuts to SNAP program and put billions towards the deficit, just by making sure that these corporations are just paying their fair share. Our communities are staving for funds and a handful of corporations are walking away with billions of our tax dollars.