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Common Dreams

Bernie Sanders Calls Out CEO Tax Dodgers over Deficit, Hypocrisy

'The last thing we need to do is listen to these deficit increasing CEOs'

by
Common Dreams staff

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (WDCpix)

Senator Bernie Sanders called out a group of the top US CEOs Thursday in a new report revealing top corporate tax dodgers in the US and urged those dodgers to 'look in the mirror' for the causes of America's ballooning deficit. The report followed a joint statement issued Thursday morning by the top 80 US CEOs, pleading to Congress for a deficit reduction plan that would include cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and a decrease in taxes "for the top 2%."

The report Top Corporate Tax Dodgers (pdf) outlines individual CEO income and tax information, exploring the vast amounts of tax avoidance from the members of the group who today urged congress to avoid the 'fiscal cliff' budget, through their telling new plan.

Sanders reveals how many of the CEOs who issued the statement have evaded at least $34.5 billion in taxes through more than 600 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens since 2008. Roughly a dozen of their companies did not pay federal income taxes at all in recent years and some received an additional $6.4 billion in tax refunds from the IRS since 2008. Many of the companies were among those who received the $2.5 trillion from the Federal Reserve following the banking industry induced financial crisis.

In addition, many of those companies are responsible for vast amounts of unemployment, due to the practice of employment outsourcing to foreign countries.

All of these actions, Sanders argues, are direct causes of the American deficit. The hypocrisy in the CEOs' "lecture to the American people" is stifling.

Sanders elaborated today:

There really is no shame. The Wall Street leaders whose recklessness and illegal behavior caused this terrible recession are now lecturing the American people on the need for courage to deal with the nation’s finances and deficit crisis. Before telling us why we should cut Social Security, Medicare and other vitally important programs, these CEOs might want to take a hard look at their responsibility for causing the deficit and this terrible recession.

Our Wall Street friends might also want to show some courage of their own by suggesting that the wealthiest people in this country, like them, start paying their fair share of taxes. They might work to end the outrageous corporate loopholes, tax havens and outsourcing provisions that their lobbyists have littered throughout the tax code – contributing greatly to our deficit.

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