COMMENTARY: Bottom Lines for Bottomless Pits

By Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
Joseph J. Honick
 If you read and are properly confused by the daily media recitations of almost universal fiscal disaster, you almost want to feel sorry for the  allegedly struggling major corporations and the traditionally rich.

 But don’t worry about them…because, according to reliable sources like the Financial Times, a headline says “Millionaires Shrug Off Downturn.”  And the largest percentage of those well heeled folks is of course right in North America, followed closely by Europe and an area fuzzily described as Asia-Pacific.

 In fact, according to the Times, “Millionaires across the world are richer than before the financial crisis!"

Then we turn to another report that just 10 American companies have tons of billions in profits parked in overseas banks….free from the IRS collections squad.

 According to accounting experts, GE alone has an estimated $94 billion in untaxed foreign profits!  But they’re just one of the fiscal Hit Parade.  And GE paid no income tax of any kind for the past year.

          Here is the rest of the “Hit Parade”:

2.     Pfizer $48.2 billion

3.     Merck $40.4 billion

4.     Johnson & Johnson $37 billion

5.      Exxon Mobil $35 billion

6.     Citigroup $32 billion

7.     Cisco Systems $31.6 billion

8.     IBM $31.1 billion

9.     Procter & Gamble $30 billion

10.  Microsoft $29.5 billion

That comes tomore than $290 billions tucked away protected from the IRS and some fair share of contribution of the kinds you and I are expected to make.

The big boys claim that US tax laws would hit them for about 35 percent if
they brought that money back to the US.

These reports coincide with another from the reliable Financial Times that “US Households Face Tax Rises”, according to a recent study.  According to the newspaper's Dan McCrum:  “Without policy changes, each US household faces an additional tax bill of $1,400 per year above any increase in revenues from economic growth.”  Those data are based on research by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Rochester.

Are you still there?  Because there really is a lot more.

Although President Obama has made a lot of headlines with his declarations to ‘downsize’ our operation in Afghanistan, the reality is that we have many billions of  outstanding construction and other contracts in that country that apparently will not be cancelled.  In some cases, those deals are to build new bases over the next several years. 

The bottom lines for these bottomless pits are simply that the rich can’t be bothered; corporate billions will not be taxed; defense contractors remain joyful,and the ordinary taxpayer will be pressured to meet the bills.

The bottom line:  Whether you are rich or poor, it’s better to have money. Given the corporations who claim they cannot afford the taxes on their hundreds of billions of overseas profits, and after most of them were the beneficiaries of bailouts and stimuli, it’s only fair that working people should pick up the slack…..isn’t it?

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Joseph J. Honick is an international consultant to business and government and writes for many publications. Honick can be reached at This commentary was originally published in O'Dwyer's PR Report and it is reprinted by permission.

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