THE ARTFUL DODGERS

Here's the hot new phrase in Washington: "shared sacrifice." Sounds nice, but it's really just code for gouging the middle class and the poor.

Here’s the hot new phrase in Washington: “shared sacrifice.” Sounds nice, but it’s really just code for gouging the middle class and the poor.

Republican budget whackers use the phrase like a war cry as they slash Medicare, education, and every other public program they hate. President Obama, too, has taken to uttering the phrase as he surrenders to the contrived wisdom in Washington that every American must give up even essential government benefits in order to balance the budget. But guess who’s not sharing? The corporate powers, which use their lobbyists, lawyers, campaign cash, tax havens, and other tools to avoid giving up anything in the call for national sacrifice.

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For example, while hundreds of thousands of schoolteachers are being dumped and our school children shortchanged in sacrifice to the Deficit Gods – it was recently revealed that General Electric is a sacrifice-free corporation. With more almost 1,000 tax lawyers and other specialists in its tax department, this infamous polluter and job-cutter has paid exactly zero in federal income taxes since 2006, despite raking in $26 billion in profits. Indeed, its army of sacrifice avoiders produced a $4 billion tax refund for GE in those five years. Meanwhile, it continues to be rewarded with billions of dollars a year in government contracts.

In a concise report titled, “The Artful Dodgers,” a watchdog group named Public Campaign uncovers the flagrant tax avoidance scams of a dozen hugely-profitable corporations, including oil giants and bailed out banks, as well as such outfits as FedEx, and Carnival Cruise Lines.

When your local, state, and national politicos mouth platitudes about sacrificing for the national good, tell ’em to start at the top, then get back to you. To download “The Artful Dodgers” report, go to www.publicampaign.org.

“The Artful Dodgers,” Report by Public Campaign, www.publicampaign.org, April 13, 2011.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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