Monday, April 17, 2017
Happy Tax Day! Here’s How Corporations Plan to Screw You Over
FEW THINGS TRANSFORM us into frustrated baboons like navigating Turbotax each year. It’s incredible any computers physically survive April.
First there’s the maddening fact, when all is said and done, that the U.S. has something approaching a flat tax system. It’s true that, as right-wing think tanks constantly bleat, the top 1 percent pay a much higher rate than everyone else in federal income tax. But most people pay higher rates than the rich do in payroll and state and local taxes. Add everything together, and everyone from the middle class on up is paying about the same percentage in taxes overall.
Then there’s the grim reality that a big chunk of our money goes to buy things like 21,000-pound bombs, which we drop on, say, Afghanistan, a country with an economy one-one thousandth the size of ours.
And then there’s the process of paying taxes itself, which is mind-numbingly baroque — and for absolutely no reason. After all, the government already has copies of all of your tax forms. Countries like Denmark, Sweden and Spain use that information to fill out your return and send it to you. If it looks good, you sign it and you’re done (or if you think you see a mistake, you can change it). The sole reason we don’t have such a system is that the current disaster makes billions of dollars for tax software companies, which then use a slice of that to relentless lobby Congress to keep the status quo.
But if those are the only things turning you into a rage monkey this Tax Day, you’re not paying attention. As an extensive new report from Oxfam America explains, the biggest U.S. multinational corporations have positioned themselves for a political victory that will not just slash their taxes and leave regular people to pick up the bill, but also will set the stage for further corporate tax cuts in the future.