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Something Tells Us Tax Dodgers Are in No Hurry to 'Fix the Debt'

Ladies and gentleman, meet the tax-dodging gazillionaires behind Fix the Debt, a billionaire-funded group of millionaire CEOs trying to take away your retirement security and raise your effective tax rate while lowering their own tax liability.

Fix the Debt bills itself as a “non-partisan movement to put America on a better fiscal and economic path.” However, the group touts a non-specific tax plan that members are calling “Simpson-Bowles Plus,” a plan that cuts Social Security and Medicare benefits, guts tax credits and benefits that many working families rely on, widens tax incentives for corporations to offshore jobs and lowers tax rates for corporations and the wealthy. Basically, it’s a wish list for millionaire CEOs.

When Americans for Tax Fairness looked into the signatories to a recent letter to Congress calling for adoption of the Simpson-Bowles plan, they found that:

  • Thirteen out of about 80 CEOs and companies that signed a letter urging Congress to Fix the Debt have milked the federal tax system out of tens of billions of dollars, according to an analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness. Another six companies that signed the letter are leading proponents of a tax amnesty for corporate profits shifted out of the United States, especially profits shifted to offshore tax havens.
  • Five of the corporations whose CEOs signed the Fix the Debt letter paid ZERO federal income taxes on $62 billion in total profits and received $27 billion in tax subsidies over the past four years, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.
  • Eight of the CEOs who signed the Fix the Debt letter reaped a total of $11.8 million in tax breaks last year from the Bush tax cuts. They are among 57 CEOs who each received more than $1 million in such tax breaks, collectively securing more than $100 million in tax cuts, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.
  • Six of the corporations whose CEOs signed the Fix the Debt letter, were members of the WIN America Coalition, which lobbied Congress to pass legislation (S. 1671) that would allow U.S. companies to dramatically reduce their tax rate on $1 trillion in foreign profits brought back (“repatriated”) to the United States. The measure would reduce the 35% corporate tax rate to an 8.75% effective tax rate on the repatriated profits. The six corporations are: CA Technologies, Cisco Systems, Loews Corp., Microsoft, NASDAQ OMX Group Inc., and Qualcomm Inc. Many of the corporations pushing for repatriation also want to permanently exempt offshore profits from U.S. taxation, by adopting a so-called “territorial” tax system, which would only increase the incentives to shift jobs and profits offshore.

The group pushes CEOs and small business owners to use their positions of power to pressure employees to campaign to “fix the debt” and relies heavily on astroturf activism to build public support for their platform, asking ordinary folks to carry the banner for this CEO-led war on economic good sense. Fix the Debt isn’t a movement of small business owners and individuals—who would be buried by the disastrous plan the group promotes—but multimillionaire CEOs and finance magnates, many of whom are responsible for the economic crisis that fed the deficit in the first place, and some who can’t wait to get their greedy hands on your retirement savings.

The leadership of the group reads like a “who’s who” of the 1%, with Wall Street moguls like James B. Lee, the vice chair of JPMorgan Chase and co-chair of J.P. Morgan, and retired politicians, like Judd Gregg, now an international adviser to Goldman Sachs. These guys have gold-lined pensions and don’t rely on tax deductions.

So do you trust these people to “fix the debt”? I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can throw them.

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