Left-of-center politicians are once again threatening to impose a windfall-profits tax on the whipping boy of the day, the oil companies. Usually it is a sure-fire winner to roll out run-of- the-mill populist dogma regarding big business ripping off the little guy. Politicians are promising to ride in and subdue those unbridled capitalists in the name of altruism. According to them, we should be happy that there is someone in our corner who is willing to fight for us, since we can’t confront the people that we buy products from. But let’s not go so quietly.
We should keep in mind one salient fact: Companies do not pay taxes; their customers do. Companies do not have any money that did not come from their customers. Companies don’t have jobs where they earn money, they get it all from us.
When a politician promises to stick it to corporate America, they mean you. How would you respond if a politician promised to raise taxes on your spouse, but not on you. It doesn’t take a lot of brain time to figure out that an attack on your spouse is an attack on you.
Corporate taxes are the same way. If you and all of your neighbors put your signature on every dollar you spent, and then the government imposed a windfall tax on companies that your patronized, when the companies paid that windfall tax, would it not be your signature on those bills?
A corporate tax is an indirect tax on consumers. After people were taxed up to their necks and were tapped out, some clever politician said, “Why don’t we tax corporations? After all, it’s not fair that working people should bear such a heavy burden while companies make billions and pay no taxes.” Unfortunately, the corporate tax scam worked. Companies were then in effect agents of the government in that they collected money from individuals and transferred it to the state.
That’s good work if you can find it – you get to be the hero while using the villain (corporate America) to do your dirty work. Politicians get us to rip ourselves off when we support corporate taxes.
All money comes from us. Every cent that the government spends came from our labor. When they find “new” tax revenue streams, we should remember that there is no money that did not come from us. Be it windfall profit taxes, corporate taxes, or wherever else the government gets money, if you look, you’ll find our signatures on those bills. Act accordingly.
Chris W. Bell
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