Uploaded: Wed, Apr 20, 2011, 12:50 pm
Tax day protest at Google
Event organized by MoveOn.org has people calling for corporations to pay their fair share
As Americans across the country scrambled to mail off their W-2 and 1099 tax forms on Monday, April 18, a crowd of more than 75 gathered in the muggy drizzle at the Googleplex to demand that the search giant pay its fair share to Uncle Sam.
The protestors carried signs and marched from a far-flung corner of the campus near Highway 101 almost to the headquarters building, occasionally chanting slogans, such as: "Don't cut Medicare/cut corporate welfare!"
The demonstration was just one of many organized across the country by the progressive political group MoveOn.org. Tim Molina, a member of MoveOn, led the local protest.
Fueled in part by an email that was penned by Michael Moore and sent to all MoveOn members, the protestors at Google came from cities all around the Bay Area to accuse Google of dodging what it owes the federal government, and demand that it pay more taxes.
Len Fisher, another MoveOn member, came from Saratoga to protest. He said that he pays quite a bit in taxes and is happy to do so. "I think it's the duty of any citizen to pay taxes," Fisher said. "I think we owe it to our society."
Although Fisher and others at the protest didn't seem to have an entirely clear idea about how much Google paid in taxes this year, and some threw out enormously high numbers about how much the company should have paid (one protestor claimed Google owed trillions of dollars), they all seemed certain that Google and other major companies very often get out of paying taxes by engaging in tricky money-shuffling overseas, by retaining an army of lawyers and by cozying up to the government through lobbyists.
Google had no official comment on the protest, but according to a Bloomberg article published in October of last year, the company does move its money around overseas in order to garner lower corporate tax rates -- a strategy that got one protester particularly riled up.
Paul Buffalo Labont, who addressed the crowd with a charismatic southern drawl and forceful, pro-labor rhetoric said he had no patience for corporations that go to great lengths to avoid paying taxes.
"The taxpayers put this road in," Labont exclaimed, gesturing toward Garcia Avenue. "We put this sidewalk in! We put in their sewer system!" When asked what he thought about the idea that Google may have taken advantage of tax loopholes to lower the amount it owes, he said, "My blood pressure goes up!"
Sandy Spiers, who came from Sunnyvale with her daughter, said that she didn't suspect that Google was breaking any laws, and made sure to say that she is still a fan of Google's products.
"A lot of it is legal -- it's just not right," Spiers said. "I don't think it is Google that has created the problem. They are just playing by the rules. But we have to change the rules for everybody."
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Posted by No more taxes
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm
Corporations and businesses do as much if not more good in a community by providing jobs than charities. When people have jobs they can provide for their family, support other businesses, buy homes, cars, pay taxes, etc. Jobs also provide an opportunity to give and help others and jobs build self-esteem. If we do not tax charitable organizations because of the good they do, then we should not tax corporations and businesses who also do so much good if not more good than charities for individuals and the community.
Google employs many people and is hiring many more, so why punish them with higher taxes? The Google employees continue to pay taxes and contribute to the community in numerous ways. More employees mean more income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and employees are consumers, which means more sales and gas taxes, etc. Why kill the geese, that are laying the golden eggs, with more and higher taxes?
Only 45% of US population is employed and we need more employers who are hiring. The countries with the lowest tax rates have the lowest unemployment rates too. We need to reduce not increase corporate taxes.
Low to middle income earners are almost 50% of the population and they do not pay any taxes. Low to middle income earners often receive free or reduced costs for health care, housing, higher education, child care, etc.
Instead of punishing the most creative, productive, and hardworking members of society we should
1. Cut defense - we spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined
Get our military out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and the hundreds of other countries we are in and stop being the world police. Savings = at least $1 trillion annually
2. End all foreign aid. Savings = at least $500 billion annually
3. End Wall Street, auto, AIG, bank, and homeowner bailouts. Investments can go up and down and if you win big you should be able to lose big too. The taxpayer should not bailout bad investments for anyone. FDIC insured banks should have low risk investments and if Goldman Sachs et al does not like it, then the taxpayer should tell Goldman to invest wherever you want but the taxpayer is not going to bail you out.
The Federal Reserve let Wall Street "borrow" $17 trillion during the economic crisis. Will the taxpayer have to pay the $17 trillion back or will Bernanke let inflation run so our money buys less and the cost of living goes up? Inflation is one of the most insidious taxes.
4. End benefits to immigrants, both legal and illegal, who have not contributed to our system. The US taxpayer, especially the elderly, cannot afford to pay for benefits for immigrants who have not contributed to our system. Many elderly immigrants (like Obama's aunt who came here illegally) get on Medicaid, Medicare, disability, Supplemental Social Security, Section 8 Housing, etc., but they have not contributed anything to these programs.
Immigrants get on our welfare programs and take money away from our elderly and our children, and then immigrants send money to relatives in the counties they are from. Remittances to foreign countries cost the US almost $400 billion annually. The US taxpayer cannot support the world…we cannot even support ourselves!
The aid organizations that bring refugees here should pay for the refugees not the US taxpayer and the immigrant sponsors should pay for the immigrants not the US taxpayer. Corporations should not be the scapegoat for all the ills of society.
Before we raise any more taxes we need to
1. Cut defense spending
2. End foreign aid
3. End the bailouts for Wall Street, banks, GM, AIG, homeowners, etc.
4. End entitlement programs to legal and illegal immigrants who have not contributed to our system
5. Take the cap off Social Security taxes so all income is taxed
6. Raise the retirement age