Messaging on Taxes and the Economy

These messages are based on a half dozen rigorous polls conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of Americans for Tax Fairness and other clients.


We need an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy and big corporations.

  • The promise of America should be for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Corporate CEOs now make 300 times the pay of the average worker, while many of us have gotten no raise at all. Corporations and the wealthy can afford to pay their fair share, so the rest of us have more opportunities to succeed.
  • Millions of Americans are working harder than ever to keep from falling behind. Families are struggling and the middle class is shrinking. The deck is stacked against us. The system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and big corporations.
  • The tax system is full of loopholes and tax breaks that benefit big corporations and the wealthy. That means they don’t pay their fair share of taxes. This hurts all of us who work hard and play by the rules, including small businesses on Main Street.
  • The wealthy and big corporations like General Electric, Verizon and Apple use their lobbyists and campaign contributions to rig the tax system in their favor. If we close the loopholes they will have to start living by the same rules as the rest of us.
  • Our country should provide opportunity for all. No one is guaranteed success in America, but everyone deserves a fair shot to succeed. The promise of America should be for everyone, not just for the rich and powerful.

Corporations and the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes.

  • Our tax code is full of tax loopholes and tax breaks benefitting big corporations and the rich. When they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, the rest of us pick up the tab. American families end up paying higher taxes or getting fewer services, and the country goes deeper into debt.

We should end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs and hide profits offshore.

A great threat to our economy is American jobs moving overseas. Congress should end tax breaks that encourage corporations to move our jobs offshore.

  • Congress should close loopholes that let corporations avoid taxes by hiding their profits offshore. American companies have $2 trillion in profits sitting overseas — much of it in tax havens. As long as the money is offshore, companies avoid paying U.S. income taxes on it.
  • It’s time to stop corporate tax dodging and invest in America again. If we close tax loopholes for corporations that ship jobs and hide profits offshore, we can raise billions of dollars to invest in America. We can make our classrooms less crowded, improve roads and bridges, find new medical cures and make America energy independent.
  • If we end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs offshore, we can level the playing field for small businesses that create jobs in America. It’s about time big corporations played by the same rules as Main Street businesses.

 

Corporations that desert America to dodge paying their fair share of taxes are unpatriotic.

  • Companies that shift their address to offshore tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes are corporate deserters. They betray America. They are un-American. They are traitors like Benedict Arnold.
  • These corporations move their corporate address offshore on paper, but their operations remain here. They want all the benefits of being an American company, but they don’t want to pay for them. They want to take advantage of our educated workforce, legal system, financial markets and transportation system. But they want you and me to pick up the tab.
  • These selfish corporations know no country, they feel no patriotism, and they have no allegiance to America — just to the almighty dollar.

Some corporations pay nothing in federal income taxes.

  • Some large, profitable corporations pay absolutely nothing — zero — in federal income taxes. Twenty-six large corporations made billions in profits but paid no U.S. income taxes over five years. Giant companies like General Electric, Boeing and Verizon actually got tax refunds.
  • You paid more in federal income taxes in one year than those corporations paid in five years.

Working families shouldn’t pay higher tax rates than millionaires and billionaires.

  • Someone who works for a paycheck shouldn’t have to pay a higher tax rate than the rich person living off their Wall Street investments. Middle-class families shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than billionaires.
  • We should close the loophole that allows billionaire Wall Street private equity managers to pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Congress should pass the “Buffett rule” to make sure millionaires and billionaires pay at least as high a tax rate as middle-class families.

Corporations should pay their workers fair wages, not get tax subsidies for CEO bonuses.

  • Corporate profits are soaring and CEO pay is skyrocketing, but workers’ wages are standing still. Because of a tax loophole, the more corporations pay their executives in bonuses the less they pay in taxes. American workers should not be subsidizing lavish bonuses for their bosses.

If corporations and the rich pay their fair share, the economy will work better for everyone.

  • Instead of making seniors pay more for Medicare or cutting Social Security benefits, we should close tax loopholes that allow large corporations to hide profits offshore.
  • Instead of cutting funding for repairing our roads and bridges, we should end huge tax subsidies to oil and gas companies making record profits.
  • Instead of cutting funding for teachers and firefighters, we should ask multi-millionaires and billionaires to pay at least as high a tax rate as public servants pay.
  • Instead of blocking benefits for the unemployed, we should end tax breaks for corporations that send American jobs offshore.

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Drawn from Americans for Tax Fairness’ 2014 Tax Fairness Briefing Booklet.