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Posted on Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 10:16 a.m.

When it comes to taxes, big corporations play by different rules than the rest of us

By Letters to the Editor

By exploiting tax loopholes and using offshore tax havens, companies such as GE and Bank of America avoid paying as much as $100 billion a year on taxes. The corporations’ tax schemes are legal and that’s what makes it unjust. They’re playing by a different set of rules than us ordinary Michiganders.

As a student at the University of Michigan, tax dollars help pay for my education. Presumably, these corporations will want to hire well-educated university graduates like me and my peers. They benefit from this public money but don’t contribute to it.

Senator Levin’s Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would close the worst of these loopholes. Corporate giants shouldn’t shift their tax burdens onto middle class Michiganders.

John Yim
Ann Arbor



Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

Have another drink of anti American, anti business, anti success class warfare Kool Aid. Democrats cannot face is the TRUTH. That the rich pay a huge percentage of the taxes; nearly 50% of Americans now pay ZERO TAXES (their fair share?); and that no amount of taxation that can pay for obama's $15,000,000,000,000 dept!! This is an obama spending problem, not a tax problem. The entire "tax the rich fair share" line for morons. It is a distraction that means NOTHING and obama knows it. It is a DEAD END - a hilarious joke at the expense of every single democrat voter. Vote in November like your future depends on it........... LOL

Richard Wickboldt

Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

The dysfunctional tax system and the $15 trillion plus national debt didn't all of a sudden happen when Obama took office. Both the Democrats and Republicans over the past few decades have had their share of being; bought off and using the tax system as a social agenda and wealth generating tool for the people at both ends of the strata. If we the citizens continue to go down the path of polarization in who we elect. This country will no longer be a place of a high standard of living. No longer will be a world power protecting our interest and freedoms (each aircraft carrier cost 5 billion dollars alone). We will no longer have a highly educated and intellectual society needed to be leaders in industry and the world arena.

Richard Wickboldt

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

John you're hitting the correct note. The tax system is dysfunctional as to its purpose. Our elected politicians allow themselves to be influenced by people and corporations (hidden behind some think tank or trade association) . Who convince them ( pay them off ) to pass tax laws with the sole purpose to reduce their taxes bringing a bigger bottom line of profits. This is another component of crony capitalism. What surprises me is how the general populace is blind and ignorant to what is happening. The matter of fact is any corporate entity as an organization works solely to make a profit. If they have a tax break or not; they will strive with all of their resources to make the profit. Yet they will always look for the least resistant and less costly path. Getting the tax law changed so taxes are minimal or nothing at all is the less costly path. Instead of investing in research or looking to innovate, A few million dollars gets them a return of a factor of ten. Our elected politicians allow themselves to be influenced to this end. Worst of all we the citizens keep reelecting so many of them. I can guarantee you if a corporation didn't have any tax loop holes. They would be directing all their resources towards turning a profit.

Richard Wickboldt

Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

The tax system which provides a military and diplomatic defense to keep our country free. Free to conduct business in a free enterprise system. We also get a sound infrastructure of utilities and transportation, which facilitates a high standard of living and structure for corporations to conduct business and be profitable. We also get a highly educated and skilled citizenry who can work and innovate for the corporations. This system and concept only works when all involved, people and corporations alike, pay their fair and appropriate share of taxes. However the highly educated and wealthy elite within government and many corporations have succumbed to total greed and lost this perspective. This is one of the reasons our country is broke and many people are out of work. I am positive those who know the story of mankind's history of these past few thousand years. See this present imbalance of wealth if not reversed will only lead to very serious trouble.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

There no "loopholes" If the tax code lets me write off my home interest, is that a "loophole", if I give to a charity it that a "loophole" if I have more then 10% medical expenses is that a loophole? If I sell my house and I'm over a certain age or my wife is over a certain age I don't pay taxes, or if I reinvest that money in another house, I don't pay taxes. If I give to a 503C, is that a loophole? If I incur moving expenses moving for a job, is that a loophole? Maybe you all should read "Rich Dad Poor Dad" You form a company buy a Benz or lease one, write off the gas, write off the insurance, and drive it to Meijer to shop, Fly to Hawaii to look for rental units, write it off, hire you kid write it off. If the law says I can do it I do it, if it says I can't I find a way to, growup, If you don't like the game don't play. If we passed the Fair Tax, go to, this would all go away and you Progs would need something else to belly ache about.

Joe Kidd

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 2:41 a.m.

In re to GE, the biggest problem I have with it is that there is a lot of media accounts that say they are paying no taxes for 2010 but nobody explains why. The why is a big deal. So I search for it and guess what? It is not true, GE did pay taxes for 2010: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> No one has written any article on how GE avoided taxes, just a lot of blah and generalities that include using the word loopholes a lot. Even if they didn't pay much in taxes, there very well maybe good reasons for their deductions. Perhaps losses in previous years, efforts to develop &quot;green&quot; energy, etc.

G. Orwell

Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

This is a clear case of corporatism or fascism. Where people like Warren Buffet parade around saying he pays less taxes than his secretary. What he purposely leave out is that he and his buddies are the ones that put the loopholes in the tax code. This is why big government is so dangerous. They collude with corporations to enslave the population. Small businesses and small farms have no chance. For example, Michael Taylor, the lawyer from Monsanto, is Obama's Food Safety Czar. Treasury secretary is the former head of the NY Fed, Timonthy Geithner. GE's Jeffery Immelt is Obama's economid advisor. It's a corporate takeover of our government. The deck is stacked against us. Obama = Bush.

hut hut

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

If, as Mitt Romney tells us, that corporations are people, then corporations need to play by the same rules, taxes, transparency and commitment to the community in which they work.

hut hut

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

It's not only about the money. Kinda preachy aren't you.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

If you want to be involved, you should take the time to trouble to learn what he is talking about. Corporations are people under the law - even a public school educated kid should know that. How much taxes corporations pay has nothing to do with that classification. As others have correctly written, corporations pay nothing - it is their customers - US - who pay so if you want to pay a bunch more money for everything you buy, including the latest Apple gadget nobody needs, keep writing! LOL


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 9:51 p.m.

So you're confused about the FACT THAT TAX LOOPHOLES ARE CREATED BY THE GOVERNMENT THRU THE IRS??? ..and that democrats use them to reward their buddies like GE and Solyndra? actually think it is &quot;the Republicans&quot; who &quot;create tax loopholes&quot; to allow obama personal friend, Jobs Tzar, democrat campaign contributor and GE CEO Jeff Immelt shield billions in GE profit from corporate taxes?? Ever heard of Barny Frank? LOL It must be brutal to wake up every morning knowing that no matter how corrupt obama and the democrat party is, you are forced to support them to the bitter, rotting end.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

The anger towards big business (corporations) is focused on the uneven playing field when it comes to taxes. You don't need to be a business major to see they are not paying their fair share using loopholes and tax havens and the American people are fed up.The Democrats have tried to stop this economic treason but have been stopped by the republicans.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

Robert Reich - 7 Lies: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;v=mM5Ep9fS7Z0</a>


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Dear Mr. Yim, corporations do not pay taxes, people pay taxes. Corporations simply collect the tax through the price they charge for the service or product and pass it on to the government. Sen Levin's bill will raise prices and reduce american competetiveness. More companies will move jobs oversees and keep there profits over there.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Therefore the need to close the loopholes to prevent keeping profits in a foreign country.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

Hi John, I respectfully disagree with your assertions. Who made the &quot;legal tax loopholes&quot; you reference in your article? The answer is Sen. Levin. Will the proposed legislation make corporations pay additional taxes? The answer is No. Corporations will find/create new &quot;legal tax loopholes&quot; in this law too. Why would you think that THIS legislation will fulfill your sense of equity when it is written by the same people who wrote the current &quot;legal tax loopholes&quot;? Specifically, Sen. Levin has written and had enacted hundreds of bills, like this one, that have all failed to meet the level of taxation that you feel is needed. ...There is a name for doing the same activity over and over again and expecting a different result... (hint: The term is not sound business practices or Governement policy) Until the people throw out Sen Levin, his peers, and the special interest lobbiests, sadly this cycle will continue.

Hot Sam

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Your spot on Betty....


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

I don't believe a word you wrote.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

Wow, you goto the University of Michigan? Businesses provide jobs... not the govt. The govt. is a necessary regulatory body, but it is not a net creator of wealth. Next time you are hungry, eat your leg, then your arm etc etc.


Mon, Jan 30, 2012 : 11:34 a.m.

When you goto buy a tube of toothpaste you don't have to buy a certain brand from a certain store because the govt. made you. That is not true with public workers/unions. I am not arguing that govt. isn't necessary (it is) but taxpayers should not be held hostage.

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

What clap trap! The Ann Arbor Fire Department is as much a part of the value creation process as the construction company that built the home which is on fire. Ever hear of opportunity costs? If you let homes burn to the ground, people die (who miss out on lifetime earnings) and property that could otherwise be saved needs to be rebuilt at greater cost. This is nothing but entitled thinking in the form of minimizing the contributions of others; it's really annoying!


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

Little of this bargain is reported since the nations media has formed itself into a rotten arm of the politically correct government they adore, clearing the way for massive corruption.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Geeze – I hope you are not in the business school! Your feeling that companies are cheating you and others of money that should be assigned to your needs is simply another appalling symptom of the anti American divisive class warfare obama Euro socialist welfare state mentality. It seems to escape you that these "loopholes" are created by the IRS as government uses it's power - often to return political favors. Many of these "loopholes" also establish markets for areas of the economy that would otherwise never exist – such as reconstructing historic buildings or low cost housing for the elderly. If no companies utilized these "loopholes", those areas would starve of private investment and vanish. Corporations succeed by generating income for those who invest their AFTER TAX dollars in them – their existence has no other purpose. There purpose will never be to make your life as a student more comfortable. GE, Solyndra and similar companies are different. The GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who ironically claims to be a Republican, presides over GE, a major democrat party contributor and, surprise, found himself a personal friend of obama's! ..they are such great pals that obama made him his so called Jobs Tzar even as GE sends jobs to China. GE has become so tied to obama's insider government, that in true socialist form, they are able to lobby for unique "favors" that allow them to shelter astonishing profits without paying corporate taxes. GE's shareholders and employees are very pleased by this – job well done. The irony of course is that obama's anti American, anti business, anti success class warfare campaign strategy throws such friends under the political bus even has he reaches for their checks to fill his billion dollar campaign war chest. While disgusting to you and I, this is common obama behavior, that occurs in the shadow of the adoring press.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Obama is Anti American. Many simply don't understand what a &quot;corporation" is or who owns them. They think jobs come from &quot;the government&quot;! LOL Many are confused by obama's divisive, Anti American, Anti Success nonsense about what his CEO buddies are paid since he both criticizes and befriends them (when in need of millions in campaign payments). As a mindless unconditional obama supporter, this would naturally confuse you. Who owns "the corporations"? Everyone who has invested their saved after tax earnings in investments, a retirement plan or a 401K. What do "the corporations&quot; provide? Jobs, the standard of living and retirement income for those who are retired now or in the future. What kills jobs, standard of living and our future? Obama The corporations making "more profit" while providing jobs, and a product/service the market demands is great news for everyone except those don't understand how the economy works = the democrat party and their close cousins, the &quot;occupiers&quot;.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

President Obama is hardly anti-American. Put the blame on the large corporations shipping jobs to their commie friends in China and the chamber of commerce supporting them.

Ron Granger

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Spoken like a corporate apologist who can't stick to the issue, but must continually turn it back against the poster.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Spoken like an occupier. So the US Government thru the IRS creates your &quot;tax avoidance schemes&quot;. Within your context of understanding, who then makes their use criminal? LOL France? LOL

Ron Granger

Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

Stop attacking the messenger, and questioning his motives. It is blatantly obvious that these tax avoidance schemes should be criminal.


Sun, Jan 29, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

Well said!