The key reason that communities are struggling is the huge burden of interest payments that are flowing to the big banks. Think about this, if you buy a home for say $100,000 dollars, typically you will have paid $250,000 once the loan is paid off. This means the typical loan will incur $150,000 in interest charges.
The same concept applies when a community builds an infrastructure project such as school, road, bridge, sewer or other project. That $1 million dollar school could end up costing taxpayers in the community $2.5 million after interest charges.
So taxpayers are paying more to the financiers of the project than to those who supplied the materials and actually did the labor to build it. Are you OK with them acting as a middleman sucking prosperity from our communities? Any good business model dictates the efficiency of eliminating middlemen.
If we look at cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments and fees are leaving the city and flowing into the coffers of Wall St. This lost money impoverishes your community while Wall St gets bigger and richer than ever. The video below describes a solution to this problem.
In the last video we presented information on how the gap between the wealthy and the rest of us has been growing wider and wider, and how the financial elites were not only NOT suffering but were actually thriving in this economic environment, while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet and endure draconian cuts in the social safety net programs and aid to education. All while the financial elites showered themselves with huge tax cuts. Well, unfortunately the situation is even worse than the first video presented.
If you look at the current tax rates, it appears that the millionaires and billionaires have to pay a tax rate of 35%, but this figure is very misleading. It assumes a level playing field for all taxpayers, however, that is not really the case.
If you take a look at the number of pages in our tax code, you will see that the size has been growing rapidly until the current tax code is an astounding 71,684 pages in length. So how is it that the tax code has become so large? The answer is very simple, the wealthy elites contribute to the political class and therefore they ultimately control the government and have the clout to have these bought politicians write loopholes into the tax code that enable them to take huge deductions on their taxes. So you end up with a situation where you have an illusionary apparent tax rate, but you also have a real world effective tax rate once all of the deductions are taken. Our 71,000 page tax code is totally riddled with these loopholes. The KEY TERM here is the Effective Tax Rate.
According to Forbes Magazine, the highest-earning taxpayers in the U.S. paid an income tax rate of only 17%–the lowest rate paid by the richest elites during the 15-year period covered by the IRS statistics. So their Effective tax rate is lower than someone who only makes $34,000 a year! They pay a smaller share in taxes than their secretaries, gardeners, nannies, and chauffeurs!
Now while wealthy individuals pay an extremely low effective tax rate, we have a similar situation with the corporations. The largest corporations in the US are supposed to pay a tax rate of 35%. While the corporations bemoan this rate, the reality is that due to the loopholes in the 71, 000 page tax code, depending on what specific industry you are in, the effective rate can actually go into negative territory. For example: Thanks to its deductions and adjustments, GE reported an actual U.S. federal income tax rate of negative 10.5%. It got to add a “tax benefit” of $1.1 billion back into its reported earnings. The actual amount in corporate taxes that the government collects (“the effective tax rate”) is lower than those of Germany, Canada, Japan and China, among others.
Exxon-Mobil paid no taxes. Despite benefiting from this corporate welfare in the U.S., Exxon complains about paying high taxes, claiming that it threatens energy innovation research. The corporate owned media parrots these complaints convincing the average person that corporate taxes hurt everyone. Whay was the saying that Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister said: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” In fact, in 2008, the Government Accountability Office found that “two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005.
So there we have most corporations in the US not paying any tax at all, while they suck local services such as police and fire protections, road maintenance so they move they products or services, as well as international protection by the US State Department and the US Military. These services do not come cheaply and since they are not paying for them, WE ARE!
These corporate executives sit there with their “patriotic” flags on their lapels, while they scheme how to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, cut deals to ship American jobs overseas, and setup tax havens in the Caribbean. Is it any wonder that the rest of the country is mired in this economic misery while they prosper?
So there you have it, the wealthy elites are not paying their fair share, the corporations are not paying their fair share, and the rest of us are struggling.
If all of those loopholes were closed, we could provide every one of the 11-1/2 million college students in the nation with a $54,600 grant.
Or we could provide every one of the 43 million people on food stamps with a check for $14,600.
Think about this, we are taking money away from those who need it the most, so that we can give to the corporate and financial elites of this country, the very people who need it the least.
In the last video, we mentioned that we would show you what YOU can so about this and how this already being successfully done in Britain. However, this video was needed to supplement the first one to better illustrate and drive home the astounding depth of the wealth inequality. In our next video we will show the success story in Britain and explain how students here can start to organize and achieve the same success.
Click here for Part 3 of this article