An Interesting Move From An Unexpected Source

There has never been any doubt that the American tax laws are the result of the lobbying efforts of special interest groups.  If you need proof of that, find out what some people who make millions pay in income taxes versus those of us in the middle class.  I am not supporting soaking the rich, I am just asking for a tax system that does not grant special privileges to anyone.  However, some of the obvious inequities in our system make me wonder.

The Hill‘s Blog Briefing Room reported today that former Senator Russ Feingold has called for the resignation of General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt from President Obama’s jobs council. Why?  Because last year GE reported a $14.2 billion profit and paid no income taxes.

On March 28, the Wall Street Journal reported:

“”We expect to have a positive tax liability for 2010 when we file our U.S. income taxes later this year,” the conglomerate said in a written response to questions from Dow Jones Newswires. But “we think it will be covered by overpayments.””

“…GE called the Times report “particularly distorted and misleading” on its website Friday. On Monday, GE noted on its website that it paid almost $2.7 billion in “cash income taxes” globally in 2010, “including significant U.S. federal income tax payments.”

“GE also has said that its tax rate has been abnormally low recently largely because of losses suffered by its financial arm, GE Capital, during the financial crisis. The company noted that GE Capital lost nearly $32 billion from 2008 to 2010.

“”Our 2011 tax rate is slated to return to more normal levels with GE Capital’s recovery,” the company said.”

Frankly I believe that the American corporate tax rate should be lower, but I also believe that American corporations should be paying taxes to America on their profits. 

The Hill quotes Russ Feingold:

“”How can someone like Immelt be given the responsibility of heading a jobs creation task force when his company has been creating more jobs overseas while reducing its American workforce?” Feingold asked. “And under Immelt’s direction, GE spends hundreds of millions of dollars hiring lawyers and lobbyists to evade taxes.””

I never thought I would find myself agreeing with Russ Feingold, but I think he is right on this one.  I am firmly convinced that there are some serious conflicts of interest involved in this appointment.