This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned in a Congressional Hearing about his company’s complex scheme to avoid paying taxes. According to Mr. Cook, the company’s stash of billions of dollars in overseas shell corporations was not tax dodging – it was ingenuity. And, just in case anyone actually fell for the tech company’s creative explanation, Mark Gongloff of the Huffington Post shared an incredible chart, which illustrates exactly how unjust our nation’s tax system has really become.
The chart was produced by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and it shows how the sources of federal revenue have changed over several decades. In 1950, corporations contributed over 30 percent to our nation’s revenue, and individual income and payroll taxes made up about 45 percent. But today, corporations only contribute 17 percent, and individuals are paying for over 60 percent of federal revenue.
So, despite all the Republican claims about the U.S. having the world’s highest tax rate – corporations are contributing less to our nation than ever before. Yet, corporate executives like Tim Cook have the audacity to say we should be celebrating their “ingenuity.” These companies make the huge profits they have been raking in by using the commons that our tax dollars develop and maintain.
Without roads and bridges, communications systems and utilities, corporations couldn’t get their products into the hands of hard-working Americans. They should be paying for the privilege to do business here. American tax payers should not be picking up a larger share of the tab, while corporate executives hold on to an ever-increasing share of the profits. Let’s tell companies like Apple that we’ll celebrate their ingenuity just as soon as they start paying their fair share.