Goldman Sachs in the true spirit of duty to country paid one percent of its profits in taxes. That’s right, you may have paid a little more but reflect that 14 million dollars is still a good piece of change. Of course, they did hold on to the other 2 billion dollars in profit. That might upset you. It made me feel uncomfortable. What am I lacking that they have?
It’s tax havens. There are places they can go to register their business and pay little or no taxes. Now, you might think that businesses obtaining heavy and continued benefits (like the bailout and cheap borrowing from the Federal Reserve) from being (actually) in the United States would feel an obligation to support the country that has given them so much (you know, little things, blood of our soldiers, etc.). But they don’t feel that way.
The following quote is from a report available here. The report is entitled – Unfair Advantage, The Business Case Against Overseas Tax Havens.
In 2008, Goldman Sachs, with 29 subsidiaries located in offshore tax havens, reported profits of over $2 billion and paid federal taxes of $14 million, an effective tax rate of just one percent, and less than one third what they paid their CEO Lloyd Blankfein ($42.9 million).
The report estimates that America loses minimally 37 billion in tax revenues due to tax havens. Fifty years ago, corporations paid almost a quarter of the tax revenues of the federal government. Today it is less than a tenth.
So, I return to my question, do businesses have a duty to patriotism or is the only duty a corporation has to its shareholders to advance profits? Should we expect business organizations to advance the welfare of the citizens of their country and the nation itself?
I have the duty to tell you that the current doctrine practiced in “American” corporations is that there is no national duty whatever. What is taught is a fervent loyalty to shareholders and profits.
I do not believe that a pursuit of profit should be the only goal of an organization like a corporation. I worry that one day this nation will be in terrible danger and these enormous behemoths of business will simply find another place to go.