Ronald Reagan Cared More About Protecting Americans from Corporate Greed Than Barack Obama Does

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March 28 2011 2:10 PM

Ronald Reagan Cared More About Protecting Americans from Corporate Greed Than Barack Obama Does

How many different exciting facts were there in the New York Times' Friday front-page story about

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? G.E., the Times reported, has made dodging taxes into such a cynical and out-of-control art that it is collecting tax benefits of $3.2 billion from the American government for 2010, after making $14.2 billion in profits.



Let's see...$3.2 billion is $200 million more than the amount that the Obama Administration wanted to slash from the

, because the White House was showing that it was serious about restraining spending in tough times. So the poor go without fuel, and G.E. gets $3.2 billion in handouts, and the budget almost balances out. Fiscal discipline!



Or, if you don't want to get mad on behalf of the poor: General Electric collected an average of $18 from every household in America last year, just for being so good at doing its taxes. Every month, your family paid G.E. a buck fifty.



But probably the most entertaining part of the story was the historical context:


In the mid-1980s, President Ronald Reagan overhauled the tax system after learning that G.E. — a company for which he had once worked as a commercial pitchman — was among dozens of corporations that had used accounting gamesmanship to avoid paying any taxes.

"I didn’t realize things had gotten that far out of line," Mr. Reagan told the Treasury secretary, Donald T. Regan, according to Mr. Regan’s 1988 memoir. The president supported a change that closed loopholes and required G.E. to pay a far higher effective rate, up to 32.5 percent.

And how is our current Marxist-socialist leader handling the corporate tax situation, which has seen corporate tax revenue dwindle "from 30 percent of all federal revenue in the mid-1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009"?


President Obama has said he is considering an overhaul of the corporate tax system, with an eye to lowering the top rate, ending some tax subsidies and loopholes and generating the same amount of revenue. He has designated G.E.’s chief executive, Jeffrey R. Immelt, as his liaison to the business community and as the chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and it is expected to discuss corporate taxes.

So G.E. might lose some part of its current negative-22.5 percent tax rate, but only insofar as that money gets spread around among other corporate tax—well, "taxpayers" isn't the word, is it? Other corporate tax-filers. You don't get your 18 bucks back from Jeffrey Immelt, because the Obama Administration's goal is only to generate "the same amount of revenue" from a revised tax code. Not to get more revenue.



And the president's reward for this is a constant, fervent corporate-funded opposition campaign—because corporations, being corporations, have literally no sense of restraint or perspective, and will always support a candidate who is more willing to increase their profits than the previous candidate was. And this is how, in the course of 30 years, our political system has migrated so far in favor of corporate handouts that Ronald Reagan is now beyond the far left fringe of acceptable tax policy, the same way the culture wars retroactively

. Obama is a stooge for the greedheads, and despite that, whoever runs against him in 2012 will be an even bigger stooge.



Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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