A trickle has turned into a torrent. Burger King’s announcement last week that it would buy Canadian donut darling, Tim Horton’s, and then move the merged corporation to Canada represents the 13th such deal announced this year. Most companies pursuing these “corporate inversions” have abandoned America for the express purpose of lowering their U.S. tax bills.
In early August, Bank of America agreed to a $16.65 billion settlement, which includes funds for “consumer relief.” However, after tax write-offs and deductions, Bank of America's net penalty could be less than $15 billion.
USA Today published a story last week entitled “20 big profitable companies paid no taxes.” Using data provided by S&P Capital IQ, the newspaper identified 20 firms that paid no federal taxes in the second quarter of this year despite reporting $4.4 billion in second quarter profits. Collectively, these 20 CEOs were paid $240 million by the corporations they lead, an average of $12 million per CEO.
The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aug. 14, 1935, in the midst of the economy’s most severe contraction. At its lowest point, a quarter of the workforce was jobless, and in some areas, two-thirds of the unemployed had not worked for a year or more.
When I talk to people who work in Washington, DC these days, I'm struck by the resignation. The political/policy professionals with whom I interact regularly are discouraged by the political posturing that undermines serious efforts at addressing national needs. They've counted noses and can tell me why nothing can happen in the next month, before November, before the end of the year, before the next presidential election. They tell us why we should give up. The fatigue is palpable, heavy, and contagious.
Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) have introduced a bill (S. 2532) in the Senate to extend benefits for the long-term unemployed for five months. Reps. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) have introduced companion legislation (H.R. 4970) in the House of Representatives.