Like a lot of the rest of you, I did my taxes and finished them up on Monday. I wasn’t quite sure what they would look like because last year I bought a two-family house, and now I have tenants but also a new mortgage.
I used TurboTax Home & Business, like I always do. I like TurboTax, in part because you can see the impact of various parts of your tax profile, as you add credits or deductions and see how they impact the bottom line.
Even so, I’m paying a significant portion of my income to the federal government. That distinguishes me from Amazon and at least 27 other large and very profitable US corporations, including General Motors, Pfizer, United Airlines, and Johnson and Johnson, among others.
I checked with Snopes to see if it was true that Amazon did not pay any federal taxes in 2017. It was absolutely true!
Now, I like Amazon, and I have for a long time. I was a relatively early adopter of their service (when they mostly sold books), and I think their customer service is second to none. My nephew works for Amazon. But they should pay taxes.
Well, among other things, their package delivery service puts a tremendous strain on our transportation infrastructure. For another, corporations (especially those with oodles of money) should be good citizens, like the rest of us, and contribute to the common good.
Paul Ryan, when he was promoting the deceptively named Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 — and what Republican sponsored acts have not been deceptively named in recent years? — promised us all (just like David Stockman in the Reagan administration before him) that the benefits would “trickle down” to the rest of us, and that new jobs would be created and wages would go up.
Companies did exactly what the smarter prognosticators predicted they would do: they spent a tremendous amount buying back stock shares for their corporate boards, not investing in new jobs.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Well, we’ve been fooled twice now. The third time the Republicans roll out trickle down — and it’s guaranteed to happen sooner or later — the economy will have struck out.
In the meantime, we’re accumulating the largest deficits we ever have as a nation.
This was also as predictable as a morning sunrise.
Republicans assured us that economic growth would make up for all the tax giveaways they made to profitable corporations.
Oh, and Paul Ryan assured us of tax simplification, and that (like Sweden) we would soon be able to file our taxes on a postcard.
I have a law degree and analyze legislation for a living. It took me hours and hours to go through the TurboTax program, and there were a number of instances where I didn’t really understand what was being asked or had to estimate something because I had no documents proving a particular number.
What about the average high school graduate?
So while corporate accountants find all the tricks that allow their corporate clients to pay nothing, the rest of us are getting fucked.
Now, the second year in to tax reform, many ordinary citizens are discovering that they have to pay more in taxes than they did last year or the year before, despite the promises the Republicans made to us.
Hey “Real” America, do you ever get tired of being lied to by the people who are allegedly looking out for your interests?