Remember the disastrous “tax holiday” Congress granted mega-corporations such as Apple and GE in 2004? The idea was to allow corporations to bring home huge profits they’d stashed overseas, in the hope they might use the money to create jobs. Instead, the corporations used some of the money for executive bonuses and hoarded the rest. Then they went back to relentlessly “offshoring” profits.
Here’s Matt Taibbi, reacting to the possibility that Congress might be gearing up to grant another holiday, even though there’s no reason to expect a different result this time:
We’re seriously talking about defaulting on our debt, and cutting Medicare and Social Security, so that Google can keep paying its current 2.4 percent effective tax rate and GE, a company that received a $140 billion bailout en route to worldwide 2010 profits of $14 billion, can not only keep paying no taxes at all , but receive a $3.2 billion tax credit from the federal government. And nobody appears to give a shit. What the hell is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?
Taibbi is the guy who famously described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” His passions include documenting the extent to which Wall Street banksters and large corporations have taken over our political system and, in the process, offshored millions of American jobs and evaded billions of dollars in taxes they should pay.
He’s seen the rotten core of the system up close and usually seems to take pleasure in stating flat out and with great wit that America is being run by thieves whose crimes are growing increasingly bolder. (BTW, the thieves don’t challenge Taibbi, in print or in court, because he always has the facts on his side.)
And yet, in the article cited above, his tone is incredulous. It’s as if the system is evolving into something so rotten he can no longer process the lassitude of the American public, which seems to grow with each new grand theft by the corporations and their puppets in government.
I’m probably wrong. Taibbi knows how sheepish poor and middle-class Americans have become, and I think he also knows that the status quo will persist until the level of poverty, debt and joblessness reaches a point where the majority of people can no longer stomach being robbed so often and so thoroughly. Meanwhile, the rhetorical flourishes liven up his copy and ask the questions we should all be asking ourselves by now.