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Selective outrage over corporate taxes

June 2, 2013
The Journal

Selective outrage over corporate taxes

Some champions of the free market insist Congress - or at least its liberal wing - simply can't abide with success. That is why so many lawmakers, often led by President Barack Obama, want to increase taxes, say defenders of initiative that results in profits.

Well, it is not quite that simple. For example, one recent proposal from the White House called for big corporations to receive tax breaks - while many of the rest of us footed the bill.

And most of the time, outrage over big business is quite selective. Take gripes from a group of both Republican and Democrat lawmakers about Apple Inc. They agreed company representatives should be summoned before Congress to explain why the company, which paid nearly $6 billion in U.S. taxes last year, isn't coughing up more.

Fine. But why has similar outrage not been heard about General Electric, which in 2010 paid just $1 billion in local, state and federal taxes? Last year, the firm paid $4.2 billion. Yet despite what GE itself terms aggressive policies to lessen its tax bill - legally - few in Washington seem upset about it.

Everyone, individuals and corporations alike, ought to pay their fair share. But selective outrage in Washington often amounts to no more than, you guessed it, politics.



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