Republican Voters Are Angry About All The Wrong Things

women-tea-partyOur state’s healthcare exchange posted on their Facebook page Saturday morning, asking people to share their success stories regarding the Affordable Care Act. There are thousands of people who are thrilled with the ACA, but reading my state’s comment thread this morning, you wouldn’t know it. The majority of the comments went something like this:

You all are leeches, my taxes went up so you lazy bastards can have free health care! Obama SUCKS.

My husband is out of work, and neither of us can secure a job in our little, rural, Midwestern town. Unless we want to repair boilers, slaughter livestock, or suddenly become nurses, there are no jobs here. Thus, we have enrolled in the ACA. We pay $76 a month for health insurance for three people (two adults, one teenager), we keep our doctors, dental is included, as is vision, and our deductible is lower than it was with my husband’s last job. So, winning. Except that many people think we’re “leeches,” “lazy,” “bums.” and “sucking at the government’s teat.”

Those people, and so many others, are angry about the wrong things. People scream about their tax dollars going to help kids eat, or making sure families can go to the doctor, or that an elderly woman has heat this winter, but I don’t hear a peep about the American corporations that pay no taxes. Or the mega-churches who dip not just their toe, but their whole damn body into politics, yet enjoy their tax-exempt status all the way to the bank. Nary a peep about the NFL.

In 2012, Mother Jones ran a piece about ten big companies that pay no taxes. All of these companies actually had a negative tax rate. Do you have a negative tax rate? Want to know a not-so-secret secret? Our tax rate is almost double Mitt Romney’s. But people call US leeches. Here’s a list of actual leeches, from the 2012 Mother Jones article.

1) Verizon Communications. Profits: $19.8 billion. Effective tax rate: -3.8%

2) General Electric. Profits: $19.6 billion. Effective tax rate: -18.9%

3) Boeing. Profits: $14.9 billion. Effective tax rate: -5.5%

4) NextEra Energy, North America’s largest solar and wind power operator, based in Florida. Profits: $8.8 billion. Effective tax rate: -2%

5) American Electric Power, electrical utility based in Ohio. Profits: $8.2 billion. Effective tax rate: -6.4%

6) Pacific Gas & Electric, California electrical utility. Profits: $6 billion. Effective tax rate: -8.4%

7) Apache, oil and gas company based in Houston. Profits: $6 billion. Effective tax rate: -0.3%

8) Consolidated Edison, New York energy company. Profits: $5.9 billion. Effective tax rate: -1.3%

9) El Paso, Houston-based energy company that runs the country’s largest natural gas pipeline. Profits: $4.6 billion. Effective tax rate: -0.9%

10) CenterPoint Energy, electric and gas utility based in Houston. Profits: $3.1 billion. Effective tax rate: -11.3%.

According to a report out of the GAO (Government Accounting Office), U.S. corporations pay an average effective tax rate of of 12.6%. The corporate rate is 35%, but thanks to loopholes, offshore banking, exemptions, and tax havens, you will be hard pressed to find any American corporation that pays that rate. Our tax rate is 28%, which means every year, my family pays more taxes than General Electric. That is a sobering thought.

But many on the right don’t seem to understand who the actual leeches are. They continue to blame to working poor, the long-term unemployed, single parents, the elderly, and the disabled, and ignore the facts. One fact that a lot of conservatives refuse to address is if the companies on Mother Jones’ list had paid their fair share, the group, Citizens for Tax Justice calculates it would have put $78 billion into the government’s coffers.

And of course, there’s always war. In 2011, the U.S. government spent about $718 billion on defense and international security assistance. That’s 20% of the federal budget. Remember-that figure does not include benefits for veterans. This past week, Republican senators blocked the passage of a veterans’ bill because they want more sanctions for Iran. No money to help veterans coming back from war, but always money to make new ones.

Companies with a negative effective tax rate. A corporate tax rate very few, if any, U.S. corporations come close to paying. A government that spent more on defense in 2012 than the countries with the next 10 highest defense budgets combines. Defense contractors make a lot of money off of war. I should know: Honeywell paid for my private schools as a teenager, and General Dynamics bought our house in Vermont.

When people, primarily people on the right (side of politics, but the wrong side of history), yell about Reagan’s mythical welfare queen, or how single mothers are destroying society, or how America’s poor aren’t really poor because they have stoves, I wonder how they got so confused. We’re not the welfare queens, we’re not the moochers and the leeches. General Electric, ConEd, Verizon, Boeing, and other American corporations are.

My husband predicts that any conservative who reads this will, typing condescendingly, explain that all these corporations create jobs. The corporations create jobs so their employees will subsidize the corporations’ taxes. In other words, while Joe Blow is making $15 an hour, and trying to pay for his kid’s braces, his CEO is using Joe’s taxes to buy an Aston Martin.

Society is angry at the wrong people, and we’re angry about the wrong things. Instead of whining about my family paying $76 a month for health insurance, why aren’t you fuming about Verizon’s effective tax rate? Why aren’t you beyond pissed that Mitt Romney’s tax rate is 14.7%? Why aren’t you calling all your representatives, demanding they fight to overturn Citizens United?

Why are you angry at me?

Erin Nanasi

Erin Nanasi is the creator of The Bachmann Diaries: Satirical Excerpts from Michele Bachmann's Fictional Diary. She hates writing about herself in the third person. Erin enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with family. And wombats. Come visit Erin on on Facebook. She also can be found on Twitter at @WriterENanasi.


Facebook comments

  • Stephen Barlow

    Thanks for listing the Biggest leeches. There are many more and Congress not only knows it, they created the laws that make this a reality FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL GAIN.

    NOT ONE is innocent. EVERY SINGLE lawmaker in America personally benefits from insider information. If they lived on their salary alone, Issa wouldn’t be a 25″ millionaire. neither would Pelosi, who so abused inside market information, that she can’t count her holdings on her’s and three other people’s.

    This is what guillotines are FOR!! Fighting for food stamps while Con Agra gifts he stock and stock tips IS saying, “They have no bread? Let them eat cake!”

  • rossbro

    There should be a MINIMUM Corporate tax. Maybe 10% ?

    • Lickylick

      Yes then they could raise their prices by 10% or cut employees benefits or pay by 10% or a combination of all those factors. Or less return to their investors. Yes send more money to a lying, stealing, corrupt self serving group of people who only care about getting even more of what people work for and they do nothing for except lie, cheat, steal and implement multitudes a corruption. I swear the people in this country are so pathetically ignorant, how does anyone live past their 20’s?

      • Grannyb2

        And your solution is…..???

      • Less return to their investors, or a lower CEO pay rate? Costco does both of those, and they’re doing just fine.
        If this became the law, or all corporate deductions were eliminated, the corporations and investors would adjust. They’d have to, wouldn’t they?

      • strayaway

        Sure, new across the board expenses would be passed on to customers as they usually are or corporate capital would be invested in foreign countries more profitably. I say, let’s eliminate corporate subsidies anyway. It would be more honest. Let the chips fall where they may.

  • Pipercat

    If they’re too stupid to check this out for themselves, then the old adage about leading a horse is more than appropriate. My premium is in your ballpark for me alone. Thanks to the ACA, I was able to get all of the basic blood work done. I have a D deficiency that comes with my gorgeous auburn hair. I’ve been on the vitamin therapy for about a month now and.. Wow! Oh, and my premiums have covered the actual costs on the EOB so, in essence, I paid for the services rendered.

  • strayaway

    “Instead of whining about my family paying $76 a month for health insurance, why aren’t you fuming about Verizon’s effective tax rate?”-from article

    There should be no corporate subsidies. That said, the reason that your “husband is out of work, and neither of us can secure a job in our little, rural, Midwestern town” is because Republican and Democratic leaders have shipped off US jobs to foreign countries and brought in illegal aliens to compete for the rest working for lower wages. So maybe instead of exhibiting a variation of the Stockholm Syndrome, the writer should be upset that politicians of both parties betrayed her trust. Clinton signed NAFTA and Obama is trying to fast track the TPP. I wouldn’t count on the writer or her husband getting a job real soon if that passes.

    • jc_denver

      Obviously this was written by a republicon. Notice they only mention Clinton & Obama? What about what your hero Regan did to the working class? Or his trickle down economic theory? Or dubya starting 2 wars and never budgeted them? What about daddy Bush promissing no new taxes & then outright break it? Why not mention that Clinton balanced the budget, dubya came in with a surpluss and left with one of the biggest deficits we’re ever had? Oh and why not mention that Obama has cut that deficit by 60%?

      • strayaway

        jc, both good points. Obama and Reagan are both wastrels and Bush was a warmonger like Obama. These guys are all like peas in a status quo pod. The last figure you mention begins with Obama adding between $114B and $200B to Bush’s 2009 budget to work but another way of looking at it is that Obama has so far raised the federal debt $7T since Bush left office and is on track to double the federal debt he inherited from all previous presidents. The bill for that will become the Obama legacy to our children. However, to get back to your first point about Obama being so much like Reagan – were inflation calculated, Reagan’s addition to the federal debt is still larger than even Obama’s. Clinton and Gingrich did balance the federal budget but with some smoke and mirrors and by looting some Social Security funds. Obama could balance the budget doing that too except Clinton left that cupboard bare. Many Americans will be pleased to have the non-choice of Jeb and Hillary to perpetuate the looting of our middle class.

      • jc_denver

        Clinton left with a surplus that Bush gave away. Also please explain how Obama is a warmonger since we have committed no troops to any conflict since he became president. Either you’re 8 years old or just a moron.

      • strayaway

        Bush should be put into prison for his mismanagement among other things were that possible. He is also no longer President.

        Ok, I’ll lay our the framework of why Obama is a warmonger. Candidate Obama promised that getting us out of Iraq was the first thing he would do if elected. He Lied. Instead, he kept our troops there until one month before the deadline of when the Iraqi Parliament had ordered them out in 2008. Not only that but Obama was trying to negotiate a plan for our troops to stay there longer. Fortunaltely, he did not accede to all of Iraq’s conditions. In Afghanistan, more US troops died under Obama’s presidency than under Bush’s. Why are any of our troops still there? Osama left Afghanistan years ago and the Taliban were quickly routed. The longer we stay there, the more Americans get killed for no reason. Obama has sent drones into Pakistan (more than Bush did) and Yemen and Libya. His bombing of Libya was done by executive order. Bombing another country and replacing its leader was an act of war. Kucinich said his attack on Libya was a violation of the War Powers Act was and an impeachable offense. Obama’s Libya farce precipitated a massacre of blacks in Libya, Benghazi, the Islamist takeover of N. Mali, and the Al Queda capture of a couple of hundred state of the art surface to air missiles. Imagine the fun they will have with that when they figure out how to use them on airliners. This brings us to Syria where Obama and McCain were leading the charge to target the government of Syria. Only when everyone from the Pope to the British parliament rebuked this idea did Obama let his attack on Syria get scuttled in Congress, Then, he gave US weapons to a faction in Syria. The leader of that faction escaped to Turkey leaving all our weapons in the hands of Islamists worse than Assad.

        That said, I think Bush was incrementally a worse warmonger and McCain leaves them both in the dust. I expect Hillary and Jeb to be along the lines of Bush and Obama with respect to warmongering. After all, they will be pre-selected for us by the same deep government interests that brought us Bush and Obama.

      • bri

        Lets not forget the drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan which have killed thousands more civilians than their intended targets

  • lilbear68

    you wont hear a peep about all that because you would have to look at mentality of our culture and its summed up like this.
    we have on TV a show about ppl that aquire and keep useless (as we see it) papers and other trash and we try to help them.
    we all hear about the crazy cat (or any animal) person that keeps so many pets that they become a hazard and we smile and try to do an intervention.
    but then we have some people that aquire and hoard money so much to the point that it impoverishes all about them and we put their picture on the cover of Money magazine and call them role models.

  • Ryne Duffy

    While I agree that the corporate tax rate is pitifully low, this list is still not aimed at the right people. The companies listed above-with the exception of Boeing-are all companies who we all as citizens rely on to provide essential grid and cellular infrastructure. These companies receive subsidies not because of their job creation but instead receive them because their work is essential for the US to remain a functioning member of the developed world. Non government subsidized corporations are the problem, nearly if not all companies pay below the stated rate of 35%. The companies whose purpose is simply to make a profit must face greater scrutiny under the US tax code

    • Jbh Jbh

      So you think an energy company doesn’t have shareholders? That people would somehow quit buying electricity or gas if their subsidies were cut? That people would ditch their cell phones because Verizon had to start paying taxes? LMAO.

  • johnvandermyde

    Corporations are not to blame, they simply do what we let them. Politicians are to blame.

  • Jbh Jbh

    They are angry at you because they secretly hate THEMSELVES