When the British rebel Caractacus was brought before Emperor Claudius, he looked around at the splendor of Rome and asked, "You have all this, and you envy us our poor tents?" That's the question I have when I see the Republican determination to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and every other program that benefits ordinary working people. (I won't say 'middle class', because that's almost gone already.)
Three trillion dollars a year. That's how much the wealthiest Americans avoid through the system of subsidies and schemes and sweet deals that deprive middle-class workers of their earned benefits. That's three times more than the deficit. That's enough for a full-time job for every middle-class household in America.
So writes Paul Buchheit of Common Dreams. Senator Bernie Sanders, our hard-working champion in the Senate, adds these details:
Federal revenue today, at 15.8 percent of GDP, is lower today than it was 60 years ago. During the last year of the Clinton administration, when we had a significant federal surplus, federal revenue was 20.6 percent of GDP.
• Today corporate profits are at an all-time high, while corporate income tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is near a record low.
• In 2011, corporate revenue as a percentage of GDP was just 1.2 percent -- lower than any other major country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, including Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Norway, Australia, South Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Italy, Ireland, Poland, and Iceland.
• In 2011, corporations paid just 12 percent of their profits in taxes, the lowest since 1972.
• In 2005, one out of four large corporations paid no income taxes at all while they collected $1.1 trillion in revenue over that one-year period.
Senator Sanders insists there are relatively easy ways to take care of the debt crisis, and he outlines them in detail in his Huffington Post article. Buchheit's piece includes some other interesting details, such as the fact that 17% of taxes owed in 2006 were not paid. This amounts to $450 billion dollars of under reporting, Do you think YOU could get away with not reporting 17% of your income?
The wealthy 1% and the corporations apparently believe they own America and everyone in it. Let's stand up and show them they're wrong.