In honor of tax week - that time of year when you and I and everyone else pitches in to help pay for all the great stuff we have like roads, clean air, schools, and, you know, society - today's chart (courtesy Mother Jones) is a look at some Supreme Court-created people who benefit from, you know, society, but figure they don't have to kick in anything to help keep all our roads, clean air, and schools great.
But they don't get that status just 'cause - according to our chart, it looks like they shell out for that priviledged status.
Before we get into it, just remember this number - $87 billion. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, that's how much these ostensibly American corporations managed to get away with not paying this year.
Now, take a minute to think about all of the roads, bridges, preventive healthcare, veterans administration health centers, food inspectors, scientific research, educational initiatives, libraries and librarians, rural WiFi, inner city medicine, and college grants that princely sum could buy in the coming year.
Done brooding? Okay, so who's doing the dodging, and who helped?
Well, number one this year was Verizon. The telecom giant, which has spent the last few years beating up on its workers, made $19.8 billion in profits this year. It's (his? her? if corporations are people, does that mean they're gendered?) effective tax rate was -3.8%. Verizon's largest donations went to one Barack Obama ($51,493), along with his golfing buddy John Boehner ($22,500).
Here's another that might surprise you - know how the tale of Solyndra is supposed to be indicative of the inherent corruption of the Obama Administration, as well as more evidence of the scam that clean energy really is, and by extension, how debased the whole environmental movement is in reality?
NextEra Energy, the continent's largest solar and wind power operator, which pulled in almost $9 billion in profits this year also managed a tax rate of -2%. With the exception of one lawmaker, it's top recipients were all members of the GOP, including Libertarian Jesus, Ron Paul.
Snark aside, the chart's useful in reminding us that the influence of money in our political system has real consequences. Sometimes it's for things that happen, but quite often, it can be calculated in what gets left out - say, $87 billion - too.