Tax bloggers cum tax law professors Linda Beale and James Maule regularly express outrage when conservatives allegedly mislead the public on tax issues to further its low tax, small government agenda, but are conspicuously silent when the left is proven to have lied about tax issues to further its pro-tax, big government agenda.
About a year ago Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, published a list of ten U.S. Corporations that pay no income taxes. Predictably, the list went viral on the Internet because when you toss a big chunk of juicy anti-capitalist red meat into a den of anti-capitalists you are bound to cause a lot of frenzied salivating.
But were Mr. Sanders claims accurate?
Um, not even close.
Did Ms. Beale and Mr. Maule write about Mr. Sanders fib?
Um, not even close.
The first company on Mr. Sanders list is Exxon Mobil. Sanders said this about the oil conglomerate and employer of 30,000 American workers in a speech on the Senate floor:
Last year, Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profit. Guess what. They paid zero in taxes. They got a $156 million refund from the IRS.
PolitiFact.Com rated this statement completely false on it’s lie-o-meter and said this:
[S]anders’ articulation of the facts in his floor speech was misleading, because he omitted several important caveats, including a failure to note that the $156 million number only refers to one specific type of tax — U.S. income taxes. To his credit, Sanders did make that distinction in a June 9, 2010, speech, saying that Exxon Mobil “reported to the SEC that not only did it avoid paying any federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million refund from the IRS.”
Still, while focusing on the negative-$156 million figure and saying that the company “paid zero in taxes” in 2009 was eye-catching, it is, at best, misleading. And it ignores the fact that the company paid hundreds of millions in state income taxes, sales taxes and other types of taxes. We can’t verify the company’s claim that its net tax was $500 million in 2009, but it’s incorrect for Sanders to say “paid zero in taxes.”
We rate his claim False.
That I have had the temerity to bring this up will be seen as evidence to many on the radical left that – drum roll, please – I HATE POOR PEOPLE!
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