Today, members of US Uncut, a decentralized grassroots movement organized through social media that connects corporate tax cheating to public service cuts, confronted former SEIU head Andy Stern at a Third Way group meeting on corporate tax reform.
According to the group’s press release, Stern has recently been more vocal in his support of the Freedom to Invest Act of 2011, which would allow multinational corporations to bring $1 trillion back to the United States and pay just a 5 percent tax rate, rather than the marginal 35 percent US corporate tax rate. (Corporations already pay much lower than 35 percent by exploiting tax loopholes and havens). If passed, the legislation would grant tax breaks in excess of $80 billion at a time when the nation is more than $13 trillion in debt and while drastic budget cuts are being proposed to nearly all essential public services.
“Why not just make all these corporations pay their fair share just like everyone else? Why not pass the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and outlaw tax dodging? Why are we rewarding these corporations that are dodging their taxes?” US Uncut DC organizer Ryan Clayton asked of Stern at the meeting, adding, “And you, sir, should be ashamed of yourself.”
The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, authored by Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), would reform the US corporate tax code to close all offshore loopholes currently exploited by two-thirds of US corporations and result in an additional $100 billion annually in tax revenue. US Uncut is demanding Congress pass Levin’s legislation to offset cuts proposed in the FY 2012 budget.
“It is unacceptable for our leaders to let billion-dollar corporations dodge their tax obligations while cutting nurses, teachers, firefighters and other public servants,” said US Uncut spokesperson Carl Gibson, “If they want to employ our workers, use our public services, and depend on our police and firefighters for protection, they need to pay our taxes.”
“We already got duped once by this hoax of repatriating profits with Bush’s ‘American Jobs Creation Act,” said Clayton, “It did not create jobs and only opened the door for tax haven abusers to continue to cheat the system.”
The activist group states that, while Americans are being forced to endure brutal budget cuts, companies like General Electric, Bank of America, Verizon and other companies aggressively dodge taxes through overseas bank accounts in known tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg and Monaco, thereby depriving the very societies that facilitates their lavish wealth of badly needed revenue.
US Uncut also opposes the “Win America Campaign,” which would allow companies like Apple to keep $4 billion (overall corporations would shelter $80 billion in taxes) that might otherwise have gone back to the federal government during a time of severe economic austerity. Members of the Win America coalition include Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Kodak, Google, Oracle and Adobe Systems.
US Uncut, along with the Yes Men, are currently raising funds for a fact-finding mission to the Cayman Islands where the guerilla activists hope to expose and embarrass the massive corporations currently engaging in tax dodging.