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Takers v. Makers

Takers v. Makers

By Dennis Loo (12/16/13)

One of the most common pro-capitalist tropes now is that the wealthy are the "makers" and the rest of us are the "takers." I first heard this on NPR coming from an economist. I have to wonder how an economist, particularly of his ilk, qualifies as a "maker," but this thought undoubtedly never crossed his calculating mind. He gleefully opined in this story about the uselessness of the "takers" like teachers, nurses, and firefighters. This story came to mind when I read today a very useful article at Alternet.org entitled: "7 Rip-Offs Corporations and the Wealthy Don't Want You to Know About."

Among the gems in this article is the fact that 69% of US corporations are not required by law to pay federal taxes. 69%.

This is even before any rebates they might qualify for.

Here's the one that starts the article:

It's odd to think about billion-dollar financial institutions objecting to cuts in the SNAP program, but some of them are administrators of the program, collecting fees from a benefit meant for  children and other needy Americans, and enjoying subsidies of state tax money for services that could be performed by the states themselves. They want  more people on food stamps, not less. Three corporations have  cornered the market: JP Morgan, Xerox, and eFunds Corp.

According to a JP Morgan spokesman, the food stamp program "is a very important business to JP Morgan. It's an important business in terms of its size and scale...The good news from JP Morgan's perspective is the infrastructure that we built has been able to cope with that increase in volume.."

Notice the delight he shows that the ranks of food stamp recipients are growing, a source of revenue for JP Morgan.

So, the "makers" are profiting from the "takers," even while they hypocritically proclaim the sins of the "takers" who are living off the fat of the land. Apparently, good ole American ingenuity includes figuring out ways to have it both ways: to have your cake and eat it too. And while we're at it, let them - the huddled masses - eat (fictitious) cake, as long as they buy it with food stamps, and then the "makers" can frost their cakes even more generously from their cut of the action.

In 2011 The NYT reported that General Electric paid no federal income taxes in 2010 and that in fact GE claimed a $3.2 billion tax benefit, despite worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, $5.1 billion of it in the US. GE disputed this story saying that it did pay federal income taxes, but they declined to reveal how much. I wonder why. Factcheck.org ends its story on this question saying that GE isn't required to reveal how much it paid in taxes. Why should they be able to conceal what they paid in taxes? Perhaps Factcheck.org might want to check into that fact.

If you reverse the labeling and designate the putative "makers" as the real "takers," and vice-versa, then you would have something that corresponds to reality.

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