On Monday, a grassroots, anti–corporate tax-dodging coalition called Flip the Debt crashed a "Fix the Debt" party at St. Anselm's College in New Hampshire hosted by Honeywell CEO David Cote to tell the gathered deficit hawk disciples that paying their "damn taxes" would be a better solution than crippling the nation with fiscal austerity measures.
The CEO-led Fix the Debt campaign promotes fear over the national debt as a guise for lowering the corporate income tax rate and cutting necessary social support programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Three minutes into Cote's keynote address, the first protestor stood up in the conference room and spoke out:
Fix the Debt claims to seek bipartisan solutions to reduce the deficit, but Fix the Debt is nothing more than a CEO lobby whose real objective is huge corporate tax breaks and drastic cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. David Cote and his CEO friends receive a lot from government: In 2011, Honeywell received $725 million in government deals, making it the 35th largest federal contractor. However, Honeywell and other companies pay next to nothing in taxes. Honeywell's tax rate from 2008-2011 was 2 percent. Does anyone in this room pay 2 percent?
"Fix the Debt is going to be met by opposition everywhere it goes, because everyone knows it's a fraud" another added, before leading the group in the chant: "Read our lips. Pay your taxes!"
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The group kicked off two weeks ago with the launch of a 'debt clock' and rally in New York City. The clock has thus far calculated that at least $2.3 trillion has been stolen by corporations and the top 1% (heavily represented within Fix the Debt) who exploit "loopholes, tax havens and tax cuts." That figure, according to the group, grows by nearly $100 billion annually.
Laying out the goals of the group, Flip the Debt co-founder Gan Golan said, "We will disrupt Fix the Debt meetings across the country to elevate our message that the biggest corporations in the country aren't paying taxes, and now they want the rest of us to pay for it."
On their website, the group adds: “We wouldn’t have to make these cuts, and we could invest in putting America back to work, if only [corporations] pay their fair share. So we say, rather than ‘fix the debt,’ let’s ‘flip the debt’ and put responsibility where it belongs. Hey 1%! Pay your damn taxes.”
One of the protestors produced this video of Monday's demonstration.