The New York Times reported today that GE’s effective tax rate in 2010 was zero, while making $14.2 billion in profits. Oh and GE received $3.2 billion in taxpayer funded benefits. GE is able to achieve this via “an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”
The fact that hugely profitable companies receive billions in benefits from taxpayers clearly makes a compelling case for ending giveaways in the corporate tax code and cracking down on companies that use tax havens to shelter income overseas. However, not if you are Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). When asked about GE’s zero percent tax rate on CNBC today, he said that the real problem is the U.S. corporate tax rate is too high:
We have to be concerned about what the business environment is in the U.S. here. We can’t afford to have the highest tax rate in the world…Those are individual companies. I think overall, we really can’t be looking at a corporate tax rate much higher than 25 percent because that’s the world average. So we’re sitting up there at 35 percent, that’s just the wrong signal.
It swear these people are mental. GE had a tax credit in 2010 to the tune of billions and billions, but Johnson’s response when asked about this was corporate taxes are too high.