Tales from the Trail

The “people” Washington helps most: big corporations

By John F. Wasik
The opinions expressed are his own.

If corporations are people, as GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently declared, they are very special people indeed.

As you know, big corporations are treated by the courts as if they are people, yet can contribute infinite amounts of money to purchase politicians, legislation and tax breaks.

Megacorporations’ access to tax breaks and loopholes has gotten so out of control that even General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt says that the U.S. corporate tax code should be reformed. The $150-billion company managed to have a negative 61 percent tax rate last year.

Just for some late summer fun, let’s do a side-by-side comparison on how an ordinary, middle-class person would be in taxed in the U.S. and how a large corporation with a reasonably agile accounting department would operate.

You Get a Bonus. Congratulations. Maybe you can go out and buy that boat, patio set, home theater, dream vacation or pay off your credit cards. Unless you’ve made some tax-deferral arrangement, your employer will reduce your net payment by federal and state taxes plus other payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare).

Supreme Court votes 6-3 on attending Obama’s speech


Six U.S. Supreme Court justices plan to attend President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, the same number as last year when Obama criticized the court’s corporate political spending ruling.

There had been speculation that fewer justices might show up after Obama’s rare rebuke for the ruling by the conservative majority striking down corporate election spending limits.

A court spokeswoman said six of the nine justices plan on going. She said one who won’t be attending is Justice Samuel Alito, who happens to be in Hawaii this week for a previously scheduled law school speech.