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Opinion: Tax scams

(The following editorial by Jim Hightower was posted on the Seattle Press website on February 13.)

SEATTLE -- George W is pushing his latest tax giveaway to the superrich as an "economic stimulus."

Well, I'd be "stimulated," too, if I was going to get $16,000 out of the deal. That's how much Bush himself would gain. Or how about Dick Cheney, who'd get $104,000 under this scam?

Meanwhile, there's an even richer group that's lined up to get more special tax giveaways from George: corporations. Talk about your tax dodgers! Corporations already enjoy more government subsidies and benefits than people do, yet they pay the least in taxes. Forget the basic corporate tax rate of 35 percent, these outfits have hordes of lobbyists, lawyers, and accountants to "Enron the system," creating loopholes and tax gimmicks that whittle their formal tax log down to a toothpick ... or less.

For example, there's the scandalous (but still legal) tax dodge known as the Bermuda Loophole. It lets corporate sharpies pretend to be headquartered offshore, even though they're physically right here in the USA. Bottom line is that they can use Bermuda to escape paying their taxes to the Red, White, and Blue!

Here's my thought on this scam. I say that all CEOs playing the anti-American Bermuda card have to wear Bermuda shorts everywhere they go so we regular taxpayers can know who they are, grab 'em on the streets, and give them noogies.

Speaking of corporate moochers, guess who's one of the slickest? John Snow! Yes, Bush's new treasury secretary, the guy who's now in charge of our nation's tax policy. Snow had headed CSX Corporation and had lept through so many loopholes that in three of the past four years, CSX paid zero in federal income taxes, even though it had banked nearly a billion dollars in profit. Even trickier, CSX got $164 million in tax rebates during those years.

To fight these scams, contact Citizens for Tax Justice at: 202-626-3780.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

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