Ralph Nader on Corporate Taxes

In our November 15 issue, Lou Dubose praises Ralph Nader’s tenth book, The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. An excerpt from the book:

Corporations are truly different from you and me. As humans, we cannot create hundreds of subsidiaries (children) abroad to reduce our taxes. But there seems to be no limit to the number of offspring these artificial entities called corporations can create….

Even as they receive all the public services and protections due to a U.S. corporation, these companies shift their profits and royalties to these tax havens and use all the domestic loopholes they have driven through Congress for their self-serving privileges and immunities. The result? Your taxes are higher, public services are reduced, and the government goes into greater debt.

These tax escapees use many offshore havens to game the tax code, but none is more dramatic than the overpopulated Ugland House in the Cayman Islands. Nearly twenty thousand companies have the legal address of their many overseas corporate subsidiaries in this one building for the sole purpose of avoiding taxes.

Imagine the lawyers for gigantic GE, looking back on their year’s work—a year in which they not only protected GE from paying any taxes but got the Treasury to send them a multibillion-dollar check. In the three years from 2008 to 2010, GE made $7.722 billion in profit in the United States, paid no federal income tax, and got $4.737 billion back from the U.S. Treasury—while paying its CEO, Jeff Immelt, a total of nearly $25.58 million in executive pay.