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Friday, March 25, 2011

G.E.'s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes

So David Kocieniewski reports in the New York Times that:
"General Electric, the nation's largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010.
"The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.
"Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion."
Now, it's hard to read that and not have a kneejerk reaction like "those crooks!". But, stop and be fair for a second. If you, as a private citizen, could figure out a way to not only not pay taxes, but to get the US government to give you 62% of your US income as a tax credit, you would (probably) be on that in a heartbeat. And you'd be laughing all the way to the bank. Why should GE be any different? They don't like paying taxes either.
The only thing that offends me here is the fact that they're taking a tax credit. I fully believe that taxation is theft, but tax refunds in excess of the taxes you've paid[1] is also theft. You're taking money from another victim of taxation.
So, lets not hate GE for managing not to pay taxes. Let's just hate them for accepting stolen goods.
[1] At gunpoint, effectively.

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