Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tax Scandal of 2012

Yesterday was tax day. If you picked up a newspaper or tuned into the nightly news, you were hit by a barrage of cliché stories about how to file a last-minute return... how to get the most back from Uncle Sam... and of course, the mainscream press can't resist a shot of the "overworked" postal employee struggling to handle the rush of filings.
But here's the disgusting truth about taxes.
It is yet another shocking tale of collusion between the government and Big Business.
And it is a secret you're not supposed to know.
That fact is -- thanks to a deal with the government -- nearly 3,000 companies across the States are taking a "tax" out of their employees' paychecks... and sticking it directly in their corporate coffers.
Here's how it works.
Anybody who has ever collected a paycheck knows there is a huge difference between what goes in and what comes out. The feds get their share. The state gets its cut. And in many cases, the local municipality gets a healthy chunk.
It's those "state withholdings" you need to know about -- especially if you live in one of the 16 states that allow companies to steal from their workers.
We've all heard how states will bend over backward to keep large manufacturers operating in their borders. They offer tax breaks and land swaps... and, in a scandal that has quietly picked up speed over the past decade, the states promise to keep mum as the companies steal from their workers.
Firms in at least 16 states have been handed one of the sweetest deals in corporate history.
The state lets the businesses withhold "state taxes" from employee paychecks... but, as an incentive not to pick up and move to a competing state, the government lets the company keep at least a portion of the take.
Many times... the company doesn't give a cent of the withholding to the government.
And the employee has no idea what's happening with his money. Not one state requires the company to tell its workers where the withholding really goes.
It is the ultimate bribe. And it is a devious setup that only a politician would love.
You see, the cash never flows through the government's accounts. That means the kickbacks don't have to be included in any partisan budget battles and, best of all, there is virtually no paper trail.
In other words, these deals rarely see the light of day.
If I asked you to guess which companies are involved in this scandal, I'd bet you could name at least a handful of them.
It is the usual list of corporate crooks:
-- Chrysler
-- Ford
-- General Electric
-- General Motors
-- Goldman Sachs
-- Google
-- Procter & Gamble
-- Sears
-- Verizon
But these states are not just handing worker cash to American firms. Nay, nay. That'd be too rational.
The list includes plenty of international competitors. Nissan and Toyota are on the list. So are some Japanese and European banks.
In all, close to $700 million was taken out of employee paychecks and diverted right back into the account of the folks writing the check.
And, again, in almost all cases... the employee had no idea. He thought he was giving his tax money to the state. After all, that's what his pay stub said.
It's sad, really.
And it is disgusting.
Our politicians look us in the eye and say they're fighting for the American worker. When in reality, they're secretly reaching into our pocket and dumping our wallets into the hands of the companies that pay for their re-election bid.
It's more proof the free markets are dead.
Welcome to the new America... hold onto your wallet.

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