Have you ever wondered why we used to have money to pay for schools and other public services, and now all of the sudden we don’t? Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) knows exactly where all that money went… into CEOs pockets and offshore corporate tax shelters.
The fighting senator from Massachusetts delivered another barn-burner of a speech urging Congress to pass S. 2360, the Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014.
Wait a minute, what are “corporate inversions?” The yawn-inducing phrase refers to the tax loophole Walgreens seeks to exploit even as we speak. An evil corporation merges with a smaller company registered in some sleazy tax haven country like Switzerland, renounces its U.S. citizenship, bails out on paying taxes, but still gets to keep doing business and making huge profits here.
Warren opens by reminding us of how corporations already use their lobbying power to benefit from the taxes we all pay without paying a cent themselves.
“…our tax code is tilted toward the rich and powerful. Huge corporations hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers to create, expand, and protect every last corporate loophole. That’s how we end up with a tax code that makes small businesses and restaurants and construction companies pay, that makes teachers and truck drivers and nurses pay, but that allows some huge American corporations to make billions of dollars in profits and not pay a single dime in taxes. The tax code is rigged.”
Warren then explains the convoluted way corporate tax inversions work in plain English.
“Now, that’s how the loophole works: an American company merges with a much smaller company located in a foreign country, usually a tax haven like Ireland or Bermuda. As long as the shareholders of the foreign company own 20% of the newly-merged company, our tax laws allow that new company to claim foreign citizenship. That means that American companies can hire a bunch of Wall Street bankers and a bunch of lawyers, fill out some paperwork, keep everything the same in their operations, and dodge their US taxes.”
An outraged Warren proceeds to unveil how companies like Walgreens turn their back on America to rake in more profits, but still benefit from all the “good things” our increasingly cash-strapped government provides for them — like roads, bridges, and workers who can read, add, and subtract.
“Tax lawyers call this process a ‘corporate inversion.’ But don’t let the bland name fool you – these companies are renouncing their American citizenship, turning their backs on this country, simply to boost their profits. They are taking advantage of all the good things that our government helps provide – educated workers, roads and bridges, a dependable court system, patent and copyright protection – and then running out on the bill.”
After laying it all out, Warren demands that her colleagues pass a bill that would force unpatriotic companies who give up their citizenship to give up the privileges of American citizenship as well.
“If these companies want to leave all that behind, well, that is their right. But if they exercise that right, if they leave America behind, then they shouldn’t get to turn around and claim all the privileges of being an American company. We’ve had enough of rich corporations taking whatever they want and expecting everyone else to pick up the pieces. The time for freeloading is over.”
Here’s the video with Warren’s speech:
More from AATTP on great speeches from Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
- Elizabeth Warren Slams GOP for Attacking Women Instead of Fixing Economy (Video)
- Elizabeth Warren Destroys Hobby Lobby: ‘This is 2014, not 1914′ (Video)
- Here’s Why Elizabeth Warren Is Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare and the Democrats’ Best Hope for 2016 (Video)
- Elizabeth Warren on Creating Prosperity: ‘This Isn’t Magic. We Actually Know How to Do This’ (Video)