Wall Street: Make them pay! Middle class keeps up the fight.

>> we had a lot of protests over the weekend, in all 50 states, and then we had uncut protests. going to tell you about that in a second. i want to fill you in on everything that’s going on. first, the outrage of the governor of wisconsin’s brutal uni union busting bills is still going now. — on. scott walker locked down the capitol after an astonishing weekend of rallies. madison saw their biggest protests on saturday. more than 70,000 people braved the snow and freezing temperatures to stand up for their rights. and they weren’t alone. thousands showed up in capitals across the country to show their solidari solidarity. in addition to the union rallies, this weekend saw the birth of a separate movement, of people-powered protests that some are calling the liberal version of the tea party. because it’s actually about real populi populism, not one paid for by billionaires like the koch brothers. it’s called uncut and is modelled after a grassroots record that publicizes companies that avoid paying taxes and have protests designed to interrupt their operations. a report from the government accountability office shows that between 1998 and 2005, 2/3 of u.s. corporations paid no taxes. now come on. what are the chances that 2/3 of the companies didn’t have to pay taxes? they made money. they avoided taxes. and in 2008, 83 of the 100 largest public corporations in the u.s. used offshore accounts, that’s tax havens, to hide income to avoid taxation. when you don’t pay your taxes, you go to jail. you’re called a tax cheat and they say hay dare you! it’s so immorrall. when corporations do it, they’re just avoiding taxes. too bad you don’t have an offshore account in the cayman islands. by the way, tax shouldn’t be pain, it should be normal. we all pay them, why don’t they pay them? this weegkend, the uncut protests targeted bank of america. why? they got $45 billion in taxpayer funded bailout money. that’s a lot of money. it turns out in 2009, their profit was $4.4 billion. now, i would make $4.4 billion, too, if i wound it getting all that money for free, basically. now by using loopholes, they paid zero in taxes. in fact, are you ready for this? they actually received $1.9 billion in tax benefits. now, how would you like to have tax benefits? i would love to have that, too. why, mr. uyger, you have received a tax benefit today. but unfortunately i didn’t buy any politicians so i don’t get that. uncut members had some success from their first time out. in san francisco, dozens of protesters stood in line to cash fake checks that would cover bank of america’s unpaid taxes. that action alone resulted in the branch shutting down briefly. okay, okay, i got it, i got it. you bring in these fake checks. they wanted to disrupt their business to make a point and they did. now with the wisconsin protests and now the uncut protests, liberals are finally getting energized, which i love. real, middle class people are turning out in droves to fight for their rights. we talked about it last week, don’t wait for anyone from d.c., don’t wait for any politicians. you get out there, you affect change and now they’re doing it all across the country. joining me is ryan clayton. he’s at the washington, d.c. protest over the weekend. also joining me is justin rubruben, the executive director of moveon.org. tell me more about u.s. uncut. what is the main mission?

>> cenk, first of all, thanks for having me. a big fan of the show. u.s. uncut is a grassroots organization that organizes through social media and we call out corporate tax dollars so we don’t have to go and cut valuable public services. all right, now, you’re calling these things out, what is your ultimate goal?

>> our goal is to have the politicians to make the decision they should have made years ago which is to pass the stop tax haven abuse act. bank of america can’t make $4.4 billion inform profits in 2009 and avoid paying taxes. if they would pay their tax bill alone, we could avoid $1.7 billion in early child education tax cuts and headstart programs.

>> i know moveon was instrumental in the wisconsin protests and protests across the country, talking about wisconsin, corporate income tax dodging cost $113 million in lost revenue, and internet sales tax loophole cost $127 million in lost revenue. and by the way, the budget deficit was only $137 million for 2011.

>> and i understand that, you know, this budget crisis, they made it worse by actually giving a new tax break to corporations, immediately before launching into this tax on worker rights.

>> $40 million in tax break, loopholes, et cetera, et cetera. so what do you make of this? do you think if people get together like this? i mean, obviously in wisconsin, it’s having some affect because it’s stopped momentum of going after public unions in other states. but could uncut have a further effect in saying you know what, maybe the giant corporations should also pay their own share?

>> i think what’s happening in washington and around the country is exactly the same thing happening in wisconsin. republicans are so bent on giving tax breaks to corporations and their millionaire backers that they’re willing to literally in the new republic and budget, they’re going to take food away from preg manhatt pregnant women and people who are hungry to afford the tax breaks. 150,000 people at the same time those protests were happening, we had 150,000 people around the country just standing up to say look, the american dream is under attack. we’re not going to stand for this anymore, and all of it really inspired by what’s happening in wisconsin.

>> so what’s moveon’s next plans?

>> we have to turn our attention, even as we continue to stand in solidarity with the brave folks in wisconsin to what’s happening in washington, d.c. republicans have proposed this budget, you know, not only are they going to cut. aid to pregnant women and children, they’re going to cut education, health care, all of it, to pay for tax cuts for the rich. and they said they’re going to shut down the government to do it. we have about two weeks to stop that. over the next couple of weeks we’re going to raise awareness about what’s happening and make sure all that anger gets heard in washington.

>> you handed out $100 billion checks in washington.

>> it’s a great idea we’re going to replicate all across the country. get ready, bank of america. i encourage everyone to go to usuncut.org. we’re going to make this point that if they would just do this one thing, if they would just make corporations pay their fair share, we could solve every state budget crisis without cutting one more teacher. we could fix the federal budget without touches social security and we could put millions of americans back to work and drive down unemployment. we pay our tax, why don’t they?

>> a lot of people will say hey, wait a minute, disrupting businesses, we can’t have that. that’s un-american. how do you respond to that?

>> i say cheating is un-american, you know? and billionaire corporations have already abandoned america for foreign tax havens. and they pay zero dollars in income taxes in america and they keep their profits and ship millions of jobs overseas. that’s simply un-american.

>> last question for you, justin. i know a lot of democrats in the senate are mid buckle on these spending cuts. so how do you fight back –

>> there’s always hope.

>> how do you fight back? maybe not short term, but long term. short term, the democrats will buckle. keep it real.

>> the debate over the economy has been one-sided over the last couple years. are we going to have massive terrible cuts or a lot of cuts. right? we have to come out and articulate the alternative, which is exactly what ryan is talking about. we should be investing in education, investing in health care and, you know, making sure that corporations and the rich pay their fair share. and i think the wave of energy that you’re seeing around the country, look, in wisconsin, 14 democrats stood up and did the right thing. and they did that because the people came out and demanded it. i think we have to look to democrats in washington to do the exact same thing.

>> whether it’s short term or long term, if you keep showing up, someone at some point has the courage to back you up. ryan clayton and justin rubin, thanks for joining us.

>> thanks for having us.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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