Saturday, April 23, 2011

Voters Tell Republican Corporate Shills "Let Them Leave"


I once ran a large company, a division of TimeWarner, and made a seven-figure income. I paid a lot of tax, a lot more tax than people in that position pay today. But even back then if my tax rate had gone up-- instead of down as it always did-- would I have moved out of the country... gone to China or someplace like that to live? I had even lived overseas for nearly 7 years right after I graduated from college and I even maintained an office in London when I was at TimeWarner. But leave the country because of my tax rate? Uh... no. Before that I had a small company of my own that I started from scratch. Same question, same answer. I would never consider leaving the U.S. because of a tax rate. But, then again, I'm not a typical Republican tax cheat with overseas tax-evading accounts either.

Last week, as Republican congressmen, headed back to their home districts to defend their votes for the Ryan budget-- yesterday we saw Ryan, Barletta and Bass being booed and panned by their constituents-- one of their tired GOP talking points was that unless millionaires got lower tax rates they would leave. That doesn't go over well, as freshman Ryan-supporter Robert Dold (R-IL) discovered when he pulled it out during a townhall meeting in Buffalo Grove Wednesday.
Dold couldn’t even get to the end of the presentation before audience members began peppering him with questions about the Ryan budget, named after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin. It began with audience members telling Dold they don’t believe chopping 10 percentage points off the highest corporate tax rate will create jobs. A handful of people in the audience identified themselves as business owners and accountants who said their effective corporate income tax rate is already lower than the lowest rates proposed in the Ryan plan. They pointed to companies such as GE that pay almost no taxes despite billions in profits as evidence.

Dold said closing tax loopholes will eliminate the tax anomalies that let GE off the hook, and there are multiple benefits to lowering the tax rates.

“You’ve got to lower corporate taxes to make us more competitive in the international marketplace,” Dold said. “Some people want to penalize companies for moving their businesses off shore. A lot of companies out there say, ‘Fine, I’ll take all my jobs overseas.’ We want an environment where we keep them on shore.”

Even that statement didn’t win favor with the crowd, which responded with multiple people yelling, “Let them leave!”

As Thom Hartmann pointed out Thursday, since 2001 CEOs fired 2.9 million workers-- in an environment with taxes on corporations and on rich people falling-- and then hired 2.4 million people overseas. How do disingenuous Republicans like Dold respond to these kinds of objections? “This is the best budget that has been produced so far,” Dold told his angry constituents. Next week Blue America will be endorsing Ilya Sheyman, the progressive Democrat running against Dold in the Illinois suburbs north of Chicago. Yesterday he was clear how he felt about the prefabricated Republican bullshit they're feeding to their constituents. "Rep. Dold's vote to dismantle Medicare, slash Medicaid, and give more tax breaks to corporations, all while pushing to cut Social Security benefits, shows just how out of touch he is with the needs of 10th district voters."

Presumably, disgruntled CEOs could move to China, but as Paul Krugman made clear yesterday, U.S. taxes are way lower than they are for the rest of the developed world.

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