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Last year you paid more in taxes than Amazon. Amazon made $10.8 billion (with a “B”) in profits, paid no income tax and received a $129 million tax rebate. Thanks to Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), 60 of America’s largest corporations paid no federal income tax and many received tax rebates (against future taxes). It gets worse. Prudential Financial made $1.4 billion in profit, paid no income tax and received a $346 million tax rebate. Gannett, the publishing firm, earned $7 million last year, paid no income tax and actually received a tax rebate of $11 million.

The former federal tax rate for corporate profits was 35%. Due to Trump’s TCJA, it dropped to 21%. However, corporate lobbyists were able to write loopholes into the new tax law and with their departments of accountants who do nothing but manipulate the system to make net profits higher, along with the stock price and senior management’s stock options and bonuses. So instead of these 60 corporations who made $79 billion in profits paying $16.4 billion in taxes (21% new rate), they actually received tax rebates of $4.3 billion. Corporations now get to deduct the expense of stock options for executives. Yes, you read that correctly. The wealthy corporations get to deduct the costs of making their senior executives richer, while you and I pay for their privilege.

What’s the real reason Donald Trump doesn’t want anyone to see his tax returns? Like major corporations, he doesn’t want people to know that he doesn’t pay taxes. I wanna get the Donald Trump tax code, where we pay nothing and receive a tax refund. I tried to talk our CPA into the Trump tax code, but he kept shaking his head saying we had to pay taxes. By the way, we paid higher taxes in 2018 than 2017.

Think about this, you and your spouse work hard all year along and made a combined $80,000 last year. Not only did you not pay any taxes, the government gave you back a $12,000 refund. So pretty good, huh? Only problem is you’re not a Fortune 500 company so you have to pay lots of taxes to make up the difference since the wealthy corporations are not paying.

It’s pretty simple. We need come out with a flat federal tax for companies that make more than $1 million per year and increase this tax at incremental levels. No accountants playing games with this deduction or that R&D expense. Your company makes $1 million and you pay a minimum 20% federal income tax. Period. Your company makes $10 million and you pay a minimum 30% federal income tax. Your company makes $100 million and you pay a minimum 35% federal income tax. Anyone have a problem with that outside of CEOs and senior executives?

I’m really at a loss with Republicans these days. Back during the glory 1980s years of Reagan and Bush 41, Republicans stood for balanced budgets, strong military, lower taxes and less regulations. Today we have the largest deficits in history. A widening wealth inequality gap, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The top 25 hedge fund managers made over $200 million each last year while the top earner made over $2 billion (and paid 15% federal income tax). That’s not their companies, but the individual persons made $200 million plus each.

It’s the Bud Fox theory of “How many yachts can you waterski behind at one time?” I’m not saying we’re at the French Revolution guillotine yet; however, the wealthy are realizing that the masses are not happy. Last year Disney paid its CEO Bob Iger $65.6 million while the vast majority of its employees were paid minimum wage with marginal benefits.

You may think we live in the United States of America — and you are wrong. We live in the United States of Fortune 500.

Corporations and their lobbyists buy Congress, which sets the laws for our land (including and most important — tax laws). It all comes down to November 2020. Can Fox News keep up the propaganda that the Republicans care about the common person out there or are the voters going to see through the BS screen and elect someone who care about them and not just the 1%?

Matthew Owen resides in Eureka.

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