Corporate Ethics

I know, I know, it’s an oxymoron. Just to prove the point, the tax-dodging shenanigans of yet another Texas oil company.

When Houston-based Nabors Industries, the nation’s largest oil-rig company, reincorporated in the island tax haven of Bermuda in 2001 and secured a $10 million tax break, it had no intention of forsaking the benefits of being a corporate U.S. citizen, just the costs.Nabors owns a 33-ship fleet to service its rigs, which it has tried to register as all-American. Although the Jones Act of 1916 prohibits foreign-owned ships from doing business solely in U.S. waters, Nabors claims its ships don’t belong to the mail-drop parent company, but rather to its “American subsidiary.”

The company’s domestic competitors are crying foul — adding that they may soon have no choice but to follow Nabors offshore. A lobbyist for the Bermudan company dismissed its critics as “whiners.”

How hard would it be to write a law that forbids offshore mailboxes from having their own “subsidiaries” so the corporation can duck their tax obligations? I’m assuming this is legal, though there’s no earthly reason it ought to be. Of course, even if it wasn’t legal, the chances that the IRS would go after that $$$10Mil$$$ tax liability are practically nil. Take a look at FITE’s latest newsletter:

Would you believe that a local city council ordered the chief of police to permanently reassign his police to parking meter duty because the low income residents were cheating too many parking meters? And when the city was hit with a major crime wave, the council allowed a few reassignments, but left most police on parking meter duty? Of course you wouldn’t!That’s why it is so hard to believe that Congress ordered the IRS to do the same thing with taxes. Not sort of. Not temporarily. And it has been getting to this point since 1983.

Make no mistake about it. This is painfully true. Pulitzer prize winning New York Times [reporter] David Cay Johnston writes about this incredible story in his best selling book, “Perfectly Legal”. It took him 9 years to write.. It is not sensationalist. Everything he says has been carefully documented. Here are some of the rules imposed on our tax police:

* Don’t examine the tax returns of the super rich or even the very wealthy. Anyone violating these rules is either fired or demoted.

* Focus mostly on the poorest taxpayers even though. most of their violations are honest errors and little is recovered.

* Only rarely investigate the tax returns of small businesses worth $1 to $5 million. This is a group well known to cheat a lot.

* Do not investigate people who publicly announce in big newspaper ads that they will no longer pay taxes. Many thousands of citizens over the past several years have joined them, and NOT ONE of them has been investigated

* Don’t penalize corporations that violate tax laws. Ten years ago, the IRS penalized 2,400 corporations. Today it’s 20.

The cost to all of us is absolutely staggering. If the IRS took action, they could use the recovered funds to exempt half of all Americans earning less than $500 from paying taxes, and cut $4000 off the average tax bill of the rest of us. Count up all the losses, and it’s enough to set the federal budget right again.

The above is only a small sample. Every one of Johnston’s 21 chapters reveals a lot more. There is no doubt that Congress and the IRS have cooperated to destroy the system of taxes we count on to keep our democracy going.

We must emphasize that this is neither a joke nor sensationalism. We think every American should learn about Johnston’s revelations. That’s why we will feature them in several of the newsletters to come.

What can you do?

* Do anything you can think of to spread these facts. Forward this newsletter to everyone you know. Print it up and post it at work, at your local laundry, your place of worship or anywhere else you can think of.

* Invite us to speak more about this. We will go anywhere to talk to three or more people. We will train anyone interested in how to present these facts. Quite a promise!

Knowledge is power. Let’s spread the word and stop this obscenity. (emphasis added)

Yes, let’s.

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