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Keefer reflects on Washington politics

Dear Editor: Congressional leaders of both parties and President Obama have finally agreed on something. They have decided to give the largest American multinational corporations (Apple, Microsoft, Exxon/Mobil, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, etc. etc.) a gift, a gift of hundreds of billions of dollars. These are the same corporations that receive billions in subsidies already at the same time their net incomes amount to, you guessed it, billions of dollars.

Why this bipartisan show of such generosity? It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. It involves taxes not paid by these companies on $2.1 trillion dollars of profits earned overseas. This $2.1 trillion dollars now sits in overseas banks and the companies want to bring it back home, only however, if they can avoid paying taxes on it. Not only that, but they want Congress to permanently change the tax code so the existing rate on corporate taxes be lowered from 35% (effective tax rate around 20%) to a single digit number. Such a deal the common man will never have.

There’s a kicker to this unbelievable scenario. The lobbyists for these companies are telling our congress members that if they don’t take these actions, these companies can exercise what’s called a “corporate inversion.” In simple terms, these companies can drop their US citizenship, move to a foreign country for tax purposes, and avoid paying any taxes here on any of their profits regardless of where they are earned. This is outright blackmail.

A lot will say so what and shrug their shoulders and say “business as usual” in Washington. But, things like this are life threatening to our Democracy, or what’s left of it. If you think this is outrageous, tell your Senators and Representatives that enough is enough. After all. Corporations are now people (so says the Supreme Court) and they should pay their fair share just as real people do.

Michael A. Keefer Mountain City, TN