Hey, Corporate America! Show Taxpayers Some Appreciation!

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by valerie, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. valerie

    valerie Guest

    Hey, Corporate America! Show Taxpayers Some Appreciation! By
    Ralph Nader

    If you work for a corporation, ask your own employer to
    support Taxpayer Appreciation Day. (We’ve included contact
    information at the end of the article.)

    Take Action Now! April 15 is just around the corner. Please
    let us know what action you’ve taken and what type of
    response you receive at [email protected]

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that April
    15th of each year be designated Taxpayer Appreciation Day, a
    day when corporations receiving taxpayer subsidies,
    bailouts, and other forms of corporate welfare can express
    their thanks to the citizens who provide them.

    Though it may not be evident, quite a few industries -- and
    the profits they generate -- can be traced back to taxpayer-
    financed programs whose fruits have been given away to
    (mostly) larger businesses.

    Taxpayer dollars have often funded discoveries made by NASA,
    the Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of
    Health and other federal agencies. In many instances the
    rights to those discoveries were later given away to
    companies that brag about them as though they were the
    fruits of their own investments. Taxpayer dollars have
    played a major role in the growth of the aviation and
    aerospace, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and
    telecommunications industries -- to name only a few.

    Though corporate America insists it must file yearly income
    taxes just like everyone else, it is responsible for a
    sharply decreasing portion of federal tax dollars -- despite
    record profits. Despite record profits, corporate tax
    contributions to the federal budget have been steadily
    declining for fifty years and now stand at a mere 7.4% of
    the federal government income because of the loopholes they
    driven into our tax laws. The average citizen pays more than
    four to five times that in federal income tax revenues (with
    the single exception of payroll taxes).

    Clearly corporations that believe they are self-reliant are
    often, in fact, dependent on taxpayer funds to maintain
    their financial viability. The least they could do is thank
    us. Which is why we need something like Taxpayer
    Appreciation Day. Consider the following:

    General Electric bought RCA (which owned NBC) in the mid-
    1980s with funds it was able to save by using an outrageous
    tax loophole passed by Congress in 1981. That loophole
    allowed GE to pay no federal taxes on three years of
    profits, totaling more than $6 billion dollars. It also gave
    them a $125 million refund! That gave GE the money to buy
    RCA. GE should arrange a media extravaganzas on NBC to say
    "Thank you, taxpayers.” Pharmaceutical companies constantly
    ballyhoo their discoveries in advertisements. What they
    don't tell us is that many of the important nonredundant
    therapeutic drugs -- including most anticancer drugs -- were
    developed, in whole or in part, with taxpayer money and then
    given to them by the NIH and the Defense Department. Bristol-
    Meyers Squibb, for example, controls the rights to Taxol, an
    anticancer drug developed all the way through human clinical
    trials at the National Institutes of Health with $31 million
    of taxpayer moneys.

    Pharmaceutical companies spend billions on advertisements
    each year. Perhaps they should consider a big "Thank You,
    Taxpayers" ad campaign every April 15, if only to remind
    them where their drug research and development subsidies
    come from.

    Mining companies often receive vast sweetheart deals from
    taxpayers. Under the 1872 Mining Act hard rock mining
    companies are allowed to purchase mining rights to public
    land for only $5 an acre, no matter how valuable the
    minerals on (or in) that land might be. A Canadian company
    recently mined $9 billion in gold on federal land in Nevada
    after using the Mining Act to purchase the mining rights to
    it for about $30,000. Mining companies owe the taxpayers
    their gratitude.

    Television broadcasters were given free license to use
    public airwaves (worth around $70 billion) by a supine
    Congress in 1997. They too should thank us. What about all
    those professional sports corporations that play and profit
    in taxpayer-funded stadiums and arenas? The owners and
    players should thank the fans/taxpayers who -- in spite of
    their largess -- still must pay through the nose for
    tickets. For years McDonalds received taxpayer subsidies to
    promote its products overseas as part of a foreign market
    access program. Now McDonalds is a ubiquitous brand name
    worldwide, but has it ever thanked the taxpayers who
    underwrote its efforts? Then there are the HMOs, hospitals,
    and defense contractors that have had their legal fees
    reimbursed by the taxpayers when our government prosecutes
    them for fraud or cost overruns. Those companies have great
    public relations firms that can help them show us their
    gratitude. Corporate America has taken too much from us for
    too long. It's time it shows us a little bit of

    Corporate Contacts:

    General Electric (NBC): David Frail Financial Communications
    1--203-373-3387 [email protected]

    Bristol-Meyers Squibb: Peter R. Dolan, CEO 345 Park Avenue
    New York, New York, USA 10154-0037 1-212-546-4000
    [email protected]

    Viacom (CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, BET, Paramount Pictures,
    Viacom Outdoor, Infinity, UPN, Spike TV, TV Land, CMT:
    Country Music Television, Comedy Central, Showtime,
    Blockbuster, and Simon & Schuster): Sumner M. Redstone ,
    Chairman and CEO 1515 Broadway New York, NY 10036 1-212-258-
    6000 (refused to provide email addresses)

    Walt Disney Co. (ABC): David Eisner, CEO 500 S. Buena Vista
    Street Burbank, CA 91521 ABC, Inc. 1-818-460-7477
    [email protected]

    McDonalds USA: Jim Cantalupo, Chairman and CEO McDonald’s
    Plaza Oak Brook, IL 60523 1-800-244-6227 Email on-line form.

    Halliburton (Kellogg Brown & Root): David J. Lesar,
    Chairman, President & CEO 5 Houston Center 1401 McKinney,
    Suite 2400 Houston, TX 77010 1-713-759-2600
    [email protected]

    In addition to these, pursue your favorite and let us know
    what they say!

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