Billionaires Demand More Tax Breaks!

Making an appearance at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on the massive tax cut legislation now being debated, individuals from partner organizations of the Take on Wall Street campaign put on their Sunday best — so they’d look at least a bit like Wall Street moguls — and pleaded for a handout.

Carrying signs with messages like “Tax Relief for Wall Street!” and “Spare a Loophole!,” the participants sought to highlight how the Republican tax plan amounts to a giveaway to Wall Street money managers and other members of the 1%. (See statement by Take on Wall Street Campaign.

The action was part of a broader coalition effort to oppose tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, and demand that tax legislation focus on closing loopholes and making Wall Street pay its fair share.

A Republican tax framework released today points to a reduction in the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent.

Big Banks like Wells Fargo and JPMorgan would be among the biggest beneficiaries of such a tax cut, according to a Bloomberg analysis based on an earlier but similar version of Trump’s tax plan. The six largest US banks (Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo) — which are enjoying near record-high profits — could avoid paying billions a year in taxes and could see their annual profits soar. Wells Fargo — embroiled in a long list of outrageous abuses of consumers — would enjoy among the highest annual tax savings of all.

That’s on top of the billions that the most profitable US banks already avoid in taxes by using various loopholes. According to Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy data, nine of the largest and most profitable US banks paid an average federal tax rate of only 18.6% between 2008 and 2015, and collectively avoided paying about $80 billion in taxes in this time.

Trump’s tax plan also includes a proposal to lower the tax rate on so-called “pass-through” businesses – like hedge funds, which have their income taxed under the individual income tax — to 25%. This proposal was presented by the White House and Republican leadership in Congress as a tax cut for small businesses. However, 79 percent of the benefit would flow to filers with incomes above $1 million according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“Instead of tax-rate cuts for these big corporations, the coming tax debate in Congress should focus on making wealthy individuals and big corporations pay their fair share,” wrote Sarah Anderson, Director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, in a New York Times editorial.

While Trump promised to rein in Wall Street on the presidential campaign trail, he is paying lip service to his populist promises, while giving Wall Street everything they want.

The Take on Wall Street campaign — a group of over 50 community groups, unions, consumer advocates and others, including Americans for Financial Reform, Communications Workers of America, Public Citizen, Institute for Policy Studies, the AFL-CIO and Americans for Tax Fairness — is calling out the charade, and urging Congress to adopt a set of tax reform measures that would raise more than $1 trillion in additional revenue and discourage dangerous Wall Street speculation.

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