November 7, 2011
By AUBREY COHEN
Boeing has paid less than nothing in taxes on its billions of dollars in profits over the past three years, according to a new report.
But Boeing disputes the accounting, saying it paid hundreds of millions in taxes from 2008 through 2010.
“We’re following the rules, we’re paying our taxes and we’re investing in the future,” spokesman Charles Bickers said.
First the report, by the Citizens for Tax Justice & the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The authors say the average effective rate among the 280 profitable Fortune 500 companies it examined was just 17.3 percent in 2008, 2009 and 2010, less than half the actual corporate tax rate of 35 percent.
“(W)e, like most Americans, want our businesses to do well. In a market economy, we need managers and entrepreneurs, just as we (and they) need workers and consumers,” the authors wrote. “But we also need a much better balance when it comes to taxes. Just as workers pay their fair share of taxes on their earnings, so should successful businesses pay their fair share on their success.
“But today corporate tax loopholes are so out of control that most Americans can rightfully
complain, ‘I pay more federal income taxes than General Electric, Boeing, DuPont, Wells
Fargo, Verizon, etc., etc., all put together.’ That’s an unacceptable situation.”
The authors aren’t accusing companies of doing something illegal. Rather, they say these powerful players are shaping the law to their advantage.
“Corporate apologists will correctly point out that the loopholes and tax breaks that allow low-tax corporations to minimize or eliminate their income taxes are generally quite legal, and that they stem from laws passed over the years by Congress and signed by various Presidents. But that does not mean that low-tax corporations bear no responsibility for their low taxes,” the report says. “The laws were not enacted in a vacuum; they were adopted in response to relentless corporate lobbying, threats and campaign support.”
As for Boeing, the report says the company paid an effective tax rate of -1 percent, -9.1 percent and -0.1 percent, respectively in 2008, 2009 and 2010, while making profits of nearly $3.8 billion, $1.5 billion and $4.5 billion. That adds up to an effective rate of -1.8 percent, or -$178 million, over the three years.
Boeing pointed to its 2010 annual report, which says the company paid an effective rate of 33.6 percent in 2008, 22.9 percent in 2009 and 26.5 percent last year, including federal, state and foreign taxes. But, in a sign of just how convoluted corporate accounting can be, the same page of the report lists net income tax payments of $599 million in 2008, -$198 million in 2009 and $360 million last year.
April 4th, 2011
By: Robert Oak
Everybody knows multinational corporations are not paying U.S. taxes. Yet instead of making corporations cough up, our government is busy planning more screw jobs on the U.S. middle class and labor force, all under the guise of reducing spending.
Senator Bernie Sanders is trying to draw attention to the insanity with a top ten list of the worst corporate tax avoiders.
Here is the list from Sander’s floor speech.
- Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.
- Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.
- Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.
- Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.
- Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.
- Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.
- Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.
- Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.
- ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.
- Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.
Did you know G.E. didn’t pay any taxes? That’s right, in 2010, G.E. made $14.2 billion in global profits, $5.1 billion inside the United States, paid zero taxes and got a $3.2 billion dollar refund from Uncle Sam.
Literally Obama put G.E., yes that G.E., in the White House.
It appears the Obama administration somehow believes shipping jobs overseas and letting multinational corporations manipulate the U.S. corporate tax code magically creates jobs. This insanity is assuredly touted by some corporate lobbyists explaining in great detail how . Yes, corporate lobbyists do literally attempt to spin math to politicians. If there was ever a need for better mathematical skills, frankly, it’s in the White House and Congress to see through this baloney. Literally Obama claimed he thought about jobs as soon as he woke up and before he went to sleep. That’s one scary statement, for the obvious, stop offshore outsourcing them has magically never been brought up as a remedy for the jobs crisis.
We’re not alone in noticing the insanity of putting a corporate tax dodger, labor arbitrager and offshore outsourcer in the White House to create American jobs. Seems Russ Feingold has formed an organization to get G.E. out of the White House. Yet Obama, he’s standing by his campaign donor man, G.E. CEO Immelt.
Someone like Immelt, who has helped his company evade taxes on its huge profits — and is now looking to workers to take major pay cuts after his compensation was doubled — should not lead the administration’s effort to create jobs.
In Stop the Freeloaders, one op-ed out of many demanding we stop this never ending corporate welfare, we have more damning facts:
GE spent $200 million to lobby for loopholes in the federal income tax code over the past decade, made $26 billion in American profits over the past five years, and not only paid absolutely no federal income taxes, but got itself a $4.1 billion rebate from the IRS.
That is far from an anomaly. Two out of every three U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. And the situation hasn’t improved since then.
Lest one focuses exclusively on G.E., there are many, many multinationals doing the same thing, offshore outsourcing jobs, squeezing workers and manipulating tax codes. In fact it’s so bad, the we want to be a Chinese company Cisco Systems is demanding a tax holiday to bring their ill-gotten offshore outsourcing gains back to the United States tax free. This latest screw the nation tax agenda is all about distributing parked profits to shareholders and of course, corporate executives. In 2010, corporations made record profits, all the while offshore outsourcing jobs in the biggest jobs crisis since the Great Depression.
In 2008, the GAO found 23% of U.S. corporations pay zero tax in a given year. From 1998 to 2005, we have:
For large U.S. corporations — defined as those with at least $250 million in assets or gross annual receipts of at least $50 million — the GAO found that 25% reported owing no federal income tax in 2005. That percentage has been falling significantly since 2001, when it reached a peak for the period of 38%. The study also found that about 24% of these large U.S. corporations reported no tax liability for at least four of the eight years being studied.
Also, 72% of large foreign-owned corporations that do business in the U.S. reported no tax liability for at least one year during the period, the GAO found.
August 25, 2010
By Peter Farquhar
AMATEUR astronomers are enjoying a cat-and-mouse game with the US military in keeping track of its secret space plane, the X-37B.
The X-37B was launched in April amid much publicity, but scant detail about its true use.
Built by Boeing’s Phantom Works division, the X-37B program was originally headed by NASA.
It was later turned over to the Pentagon’s research and development arm and then to a secretive Air Force unit.
Only a very select few in the US military know what it’s for, but observers on Earth believe they’re putting together the puzzle piece by piece.
Several sources claim quote arms control advocates who say it’s clearly the beginning of the “weaponisation of space”.
In May, avid skywatcher Ted Molczan studied the X-37B’s orbit from his home in Toronto and said its behaviour suggested it was testing sensors for a range of new spy satellites.
Since then, the X-37B been arguably the least-secret secret project on the planet, as fellow backyard astronomers joined in the scrutiny, aided by how-to video guides and apps such as the Simple Satellite Tracker.
That is, they did until July 29, when the shuttle disappeared, causing all kinds of consternation and conspiracy theories about its fate.
It took amateur skywatcher Greg Roberts of Cape Town, South Africa, who noticed that it failed to appear as scheduled above his base on August 14, another five days to find it.
When he did, he noticed it was some 30km higher and on a different trajectory, according to calculations from other colleagues in Rome and Oklahoma.
The X-37B’s new track takes it on a six-day orbit of the Earth, as opposed to its original four-day orbit.
Mr Molczan believes this may be another small piece to the puzzle about what role the shuttle may play in US military operations.
“This small change of orbit may have been a test of OTV-1′s manoeuvring system, or a requirement of whatever payload may be aboard, or both,” he said in a release paper about Roberts’ X-37B find.
The shuttle has been in orbit now for 124 days. It uses a solar array once in space for power, which theoretically will allow it to stay airborne for up to 270 days.
But the additional presence of large fuel tanks and a rocket motor allows it to change orbit, as evidenced by the latest sudden change of course.
According to the The Register, this is a key component of its surveillance-related capabilities, along with the fact it can land in a much more versatile fashion than other shuttles.
Using its “cross-range” wings, it can duck off elsewhere once its entered the Earth’s atmosphere rather than follow its oribital track to a pre-specified landing pad.
This means the X-37B can get up and down from space in one orbit, as its wings allow it to compensate for the slight turn in the Earth and bend it back to its original launch pad.
The Register says that capability would make it difficult to track, as it would only pass over a region once.
Theoretically, it could drop a spy satellite on one run, then pick it up on the next without the satellite having ever been detected.
Other observers claim the X-37B can carry a payload roughly the size of a medium-sized truck bed, or enough to hold a spy satellite.
According to the Pentagon, a second X-37B is under construction, so expect the guessing game to continue for some time about what the US military is really up to in space.
Until now, all that remains known about the X-37B is that is it has at least one trick – the ability to hide from skywatchers for two weeks.
April 23, 2010
A US Air Force unmanned spacecraft has blasted off from Florida, amid a veil of secrecy about its military mission.
The robotic space plane, or X-37B, lifted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V rocket at 7:52 pm local time (2352 GMT) Thursday, according to video released by the military.
“The launch is a go,” Air Force spokeswoman Major Angie Blair told AFP.
The lift-off appeared to proceed as planned without major problems, judging by the commentary in the Air Force webcast.
Resembling a miniature space shuttle, the plane is 8.9 meters (29 feet) long and has a wing-span of 4.5 meters.
The reusable space vehicle has been years in the making and the military has offered only vague explanations as to its purpose or role in the American military’s arsenal.
The vehicle is designed to “provide an ‘on-orbit laboratory’ test environment to prove new technology and components before those technologies are committed to operational satellite programs,” the Air Force said in a recent release.
Officials said the X-37B would eventually return for a landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, but did not say how long the inaugural mission would last.
“In all honesty, we don’t know when it’s coming back,” Gary Payton, deputy undersecretary for Air Force space programs, told reporters in a conference call this week.
Payton said the plane could stay in space for up to nine months.
Flight controllers plan to monitor the vehicle’s guidance, navigation and control systems, but the Air Force has declined to discuss what the plane is carrying in its payload or what experiments are scheduled.
Pentagon officials have sidestepped questions about possible military missions for the spacecraft, as well as the precise budget for its development — estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars.
The results of the test flight will inform “development programs that will provide capabilities for our warfighters in the future,” Payton said.
Industry analysts have speculated the Pentagon must have military capabilities in mind for the unmanned spacecraft or else would not have invested so much time and money in the effort.
The space plane — manufactured by Boeing — began as a project of NASA in 1999, and was eventually handed over to the US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.
Once in space, the vehicle is powered by solar cells and lithium-ion batteries.
The Air Force has plans for a second X-37B, scheduled to launch in 2011.
October 7, 2009
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday approved $636 billion to fund military operations for the fiscal year that started on October 1, $3.9 billion less than requested by the Obama administration.
Lawmakers must resolve differences with a similar spending bill passed by the House of Representatives before President Barack Obama can sign it into law.
Following are some key provisions of the bill, which passed by a vote of 93 to 7:
* $128.2 billion would fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress in prior years funded the two wars separately from regular Pentagon operations.
* The bill would end production of Lockheed-Martin Corp.’s F-22 fighter plane and the VH-71 presidential helicopter, also made by Lockheed. The Pentagon has said it does not need these aircraft.
* The bill likewise contains no funding for an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is being built by General Electric Co and Britain’s Rolls-Royce Group Plc.
However, the engine program could survive despite a White House veto threat. The House has approved $560 million for the program and lawmakers from both chambers have agreed to include that money in a separate bill that sets the Pentagon’s budget.
* The bill allocates $2.5 billion to continue production of Boeing Co.’s C-17 cargo plane — another program the Pentagon had sought to shut down.
* It prohibits the Obama administration from transferring international terrorism suspects currently held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison to the United States.
* It includes $2.7 billion for hundreds of lawmakers’ pet projects, from a World War Two museum to a civic-education center named for the late Senator Edward Kennedy, that the Pentagon did not request. Such “earmarks” serve as a lightning rod for budget hawks concerned about runaway federal spending, but senators turned back several attempts to strip them out.
* $7.7 billion for missile defense, a $1.4 billion cut from last year.
* $154 billion for operations and maintenance, which is $2.4 billion less than the Pentagon wants.
* $125 billion to pay salaries and other personnel costs for 1.43 million active-duty troops, including an increase of 22,000 troops for the Army, and a reserve force of 845,000.
* The bill provides $3.65 billion to build two DDG-51 destroyers, one more than the Pentagon wants.
August 11, 2009
New York Times
By Christopher Drew
The soldiers crouched beneath the blazing desert sun, waiting to burst into the villages in conditions similar to those they have encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But this time, they got some high-tech help in an exercise intended to prove that new devices operated by the soldiers themselves can make those harrowing missions less dangerous in the future.
As the mock attack began on the sprawling military base here, tiny drones hovered overhead, peering through the windows to see insurgents gathered inside the houses. Small robots — like R2-D2 in “Star Wars” — crawled through some of the doors, flashing back live video of the startled enemy’s positions. Electronic sensors placed nearby watched escape routes. And a battery of six-foot-high missiles stood at the ready farther out in the desert to destroy vehicles that tried to rush in to help the insurgents.
“When I was in Iraq, we couldn’t see what we were busting into,” said Specialist Randall Thompson, who operates the robots. “But with this equipment, we can at least get a peek.”
Army officials are trying to distance the relatively small-scale effort, which still faces some technical hurdles, from the shadow of a much broader program recently canceled that was to have created a truly modern military, with a new generation of combat vehicles and a vast wireless network.
As they go back to the drawing board for the big equipment, Army officials say these smaller technologies could make a difference sooner for the soldiers who take on some of the most dangerous missions hunting out insurgents.
The new equipment, being developed by Boeing and other contractors, is expected to cost about $2 billion for the first seven brigades. Each has at least 3,000 soldiers, and the equipment is about two years away from use in the field. By 2025, the Army plans to create similar gear and other improvements for all 73 of its active and reserve brigades.
The changes also illustrate a shift in Pentagon contracting toward more incremental upgrades and a greater use of commercial technologies. For instance, iRobot, a Massachusetts company that has developed robots for home vacuum-cleaning and industrial uses, is building the Army’s robots.
Officials say the new devices will help transform basic infantry brigades, which have shouldered the bulk of the fighting in both wars even though they have far less protection and firepower than armored units.
The drones resemble flying lawnmower engines about the size of a beer keg that land on four curved wire feet. With the cameras on the drones acting like spotters, the ground-launched six-foot missiles, called “rockets in a box,” will eventually enable soldiers to destroy hostile forces more than 20 miles away without having to call in help from artillery units or other aircraft, Army officials say.
The robots could also search caves and cars at hazardous checkpoints. And the sensors could guard outposts and monitor areas cleared of insurgents, freeing more soldiers to fight.
“I think the difference is going to be huge,” Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Speakes, a deputy Army chief of staff, said in an interview.
Col. Lee Fetterman, who is helping to oversee the testing here, said the new technologies were “methods of transferring risk from soldiers to machines, which we’re all for.”
The defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, broke up the broader effort to modernize the Army, called Future Combat Systems, in June. He was concerned about potential cost increases — it was headed for at least $160 billion — and he questioned whether the new combat vehicles would provide enough protection against roadside bombs.
Compared with that broader vision, “it seems like an awful lot of expectations have come down to a pretty small litter,” said Representative Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat of Hawaii, who heads a House subcommittee that oversees the Army.
Mr. Gates, who ordered the Army to go back to the drawing board on the combat vehicles, and Congressional leaders like Mr. Abercrombie have urged the military to supply the enhancements for the infantry as quickly as it can.
So 1,150 soldiers, most with experience in Iraq or Afghanistan, have been testing the gear here at Fort Bliss, which straddles Texas and New Mexico, and the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, where the mix of desert, mountains and 100-degree temperatures echo recent combat conditions.
Most of the soldiers are enthusiastic about the new capabilities. Some Army units already have tiny hand-held drones and robots that can disarm roadside bombs while the operator is a safe distance away. But the new drones, made by Honeywell, are designed to hover over a crucial spot on a battlefield like helicopters, instead of flying in a wide circle. And if an assault squad needed, for example, to toss the 35-pound robot though a window, where it happened to land on its back, it would flip itself over and start shooting video.
The sensors, designed by Textron, send alerts and pictures from the field or from the inside of buildings. One device, which can be buried near a road, can even discern from seismic readings whether people, trucks or tanks are passing by or approaching.
The precision-guided missiles could represent a major advance. Fifteen of them can fit into a refrigerator-size launcher. They are being designed, by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, to go over or swerve around hills and mountains and update their course in midflight. The warheads are supposed to be powerful enough to destroy a moving tank, making infantry brigades more potent than ever.
But some of the systems have obvious flaws. Even from several hundred feet high, the drone sounds like a lawn mower, and Honeywell is looking to muffle the noise. The soldiers here have also suggested changes, like redesigning the field sensors to make them less detectable.
And Army officials say it will be the ability, which is still being developed, to link all these systems wirelessly that could provide the biggest enhancement.
In the tests, the soldiers controlling the drones, robots and sensors could receive streaming video on laptops or other devices. But the network does not have enough bandwidth or range to send more than photographs to platoon leaders in Humvees and from there on to headquarters.
Even the photos are a big improvement over the mostly voice and data communications now in use. But the Army expects a sophisticated new radio, which has run into costly delays, to be available to extend the network’s video capabilities by the time the new equipment goes into full production in 2011.
The Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog agency, has warned that the Army is taking a risk in testing the rest of the gear before that radio transmitter is ready. But Army officials say they will take that chance to push out the new devices as quickly as possible.
“It’s like the saying goes: A picture is worth 1,000 words,” said Lt. Col. Kevin D. Hendricks, a battalion commander involved in the recent exercise.
“If I can get early warning that an armored vehicle is coming down the road, and I can hit that vehicle with a precision-guided munition before any of my soldiers come into contact with it, that’s the way I’d like to fight every war,” he added.