Newspaper logo  
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

11.28 Beijing residents told to stay inside as smog levels soar

11.27 Open Season Is Seen in Gene Editing of Animals

11.27 Prince Charles in plan to help investors take polluting firms to court

11.27 EU-US trade deal will unleash oil sands and fatally undermine climate efforts

11.27 Unilever to stop using coal for energy within five years

11.25 Experts discuss how to build a carbon-free energy industry

11.25 Somaliland stricken by drought: 'We need what all humans need'

11.25 What can the world learn from Växjö, Europe's self-styled greenest city?

News Media Matters

11.27 America Is Too Dumb for TV News

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.28 NSA to shut down bulk phone surveillance program by Sunday

11.28 Kabul on the Potomac: How America became the most Corrupt Society in the West

11.28 Three dead after gunman storms Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado [a "pro-life" fundamentalist culture spews its barbarism and hate; video]

11.28 Abortion Clinics, White Christian Terrorism and GOP Candidates [ponder the barbaric and political similarities between Islamic and Christian fundamentalists]

11.27 Donald Trump’s Police State

11.27 Inside the Republicans’ Opposition Research Machine

11.27 Rubio’s slippery obfuscation: It’s becoming impossible to know what he really believes

11.25 Why white people aren’t called “terrorist”: The media accepts that “people who resort to violence are left-wing or Arab or both” [fighting to change a racist culture head-on]

Justice Matters

11.28 The Corrupt System That Killed Laquan McDonald [1:40 video]

High Crimes?

11.24 Saudi Arabia: Poet Sentenced to Death for Apostasy [Saudi Arabia: an ISIS-like Islamist theocracy...]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.27 Paris climate talks: powerful business lobbies seek to undermine deal

11.25 Fossil fuel companies risk wasting $2tn of investors' money, study says


11.28 Putin and Hollande go after Erdogan’s racket

11.27 The Connection Between Vibrant Neighborhoods and Economic Growth

11.27 Bernie Sanders Gets Immigration Policy Right

11.27 Somalia's fragile security puts aid out of reach for many who desperately need it

11.25 Who owns our cities – and why this urban takeover should concern us all

11.25 Angela Merkel stands by refugee policy despite security fears

11.25 Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution [fighting to change a barbaric Islamist culture head-on]

11.25 Manuel Valls: the French PM taking a hard line against terror

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
This site Web
  Print view: A Crock Pot Tax-Exempt Idea

A Crock Pot Tax-Exempt Idea

by Walter Brasch
A Government Accountability Office analysis showed that almost three-fifths of all American-based corporations pay no federal taxes.

A wall of suffocating heat nearly vaporized me as I walked into Marshbaum's house. In the kitchen was a portable kiln spewing fiery venom that was curling the linoleum. In the den, wildly pumping a potter's wheel flinging clay all over the room, was Marshbaum.

“Got a new hobby?” I asked from a puddle of water that I assumed was what was left of my body.

“Hobby, nothing!” shouted Marshbaum over the noise. “This is my path to fame and fortune.”

“Every one of your fame-and-fortune paths has ended in a cul-de-sac,” I reminded him. “You scamming the public into believing that slops of glazed clay dipped into leftover house paint are the last sculpture of a dying genius?”

“They're cookie jars,” said Marshbaum, wounded.

“Still looks like schlock to me,” I suggested.

“Work with me on this,” Marshbaum commanded. “It could result in a column for you.”

So I played straightman while Marshbaum threw pots together. “Who,” I asked skeptically, “is going to buy ersatz cookie jars?”

“Corporations,” he replied smugly.

“For gifts?”

“For receipts. Taxpayers keep their receipts in cookie jars,” Marshbaum explained, “so why not corporations? It’ll help them avoid paying any taxes. It’s easy. It’s simple. It’s—”

“Probably illegal.”

“It’s in the Tax Code,” said Marshbaum. “Individuals pay; corporations don’t.”

“I doubt the IRS Code says anything like that.”

There are four million words in the IRS Tax Code, but only a few thousand of them apply to lower- and middle-class Americans. The rest of the Code tells the wealthy and their corporations how to avoid paying taxes.

“There are four million words in the IRS Tax Code,” said Marshbaum. “Lower-class and middle-class Americans get a few thousand of those words. The rest of the Code is a roadmap to help the wealthy and their corporations avoid paying taxes.”

“The IRS encourages corporations to cheat?”

“No, Congress does that. It writes the code to give rebates, tax deferments, subsidies, and all kinds of tax shelters that only the wealthy and their corporations can take advantage of. It’s just a way to reward their friends.”

“But, it’s the people who vote for their representatives,” I said naively.

“You think some homeless vet can afford to donate to Sen. Sludgepump’s campaign? You think Rep. Bilgewater even listens to the opinions of the impoverished and disenfranchised? Why do you think the Republicans want to cut into Medicare and Medicaid?”

“To balance the budget?”

“Because, Ink Breath, the rich don’t need those programs. That’s also why they want to cut funding for public education. The rich can afford private schools. The poor can’t. Besides, you can’t have an educated population of middle-class citizens. They might do something un-American, like actually learn something about the issues.”

The issue, said Marshbaum, slinging clay and getting high on pot fumes, is that Congress allows the rich to realize their dreams--greed is not only good, it’s encouraged.

Marshbaum explained that a Government Accountability Office analysis showed that almost three-fifths of all American-based corporations pay no federal taxes. The GAO study didn’t identify individual companies. Marshbaum, with the help of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), did.

Pretending that the international crisis-of-the-week has led to the highest gas prices in years, the oil companies—smirks of greed tucked neatly into their wallets—made record profits, paid no taxes, and even received rebates and refunds from the IRS. Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009, paid no taxes, but received a $156 million rebate. Chevron made $10 billion, paid no taxes, and received a $19 million refund. ConocoPhillips during a three-year period, had a $16 billion profit, paid no taxes, and received a $451 million tax break. Valero Energy had $68 billion in sales, and a $157 million tax refund.

General Electric had a $26 billion profit in five years, and a $4.1 billion refund. Boeing, tucked into bed with a $30 billion Defense Department contract, got a $124 million refund to sleep better.

Even those that received taxpayer-supported bailouts, after being a major cause of the sub-prime housing debacle, made profits, paid seven-figure executive bonuses, and received refunds. Bank of America scammed the people for a $1 trillion bailout, made a $4.4 billion profit, and received a $1.9 billion tax refund.

CitiGroup, with a $2.5 trillion bailout, paid no taxes on a $4 billion profit. Goldman Sachs and Carnival Cruises were model corporate citizens by paying all of 1.1 percent taxes. Goldman Sachs had a $2.3 billion profit on an $800 billion bailout; Carnival, which took passengers and the taxpayers on a cruise, made $11 billion in profit over five years.

“Assuming everything you say is true, how does your overpriced crock pot cookie jar allow the rich to cook the books to avoid paying taxes?”

“Because it comes with extras,” said an enthusiastic Marshbaum. “With every 25 jars, you get a scanner and software that I created. All you have to do is scan the receipts, and my patent-pending pot-ware zooms through the receipts to match the tax code and declare that the rich guy and his even richer corporation are tax-exempt.” The best part, said Marshbaum, is that corporations will be able to lay off thousands of six-figure income CPAs in order to maximize their profits.

“But wouldn’t that just increase the problem we already have with unemployment?” I asked.

“Not when the accountants and auditors—the ones who know all the corporate secrets—realize that the government pays 15 to 30 percent of all money it collects from whistleblower tips. They may never have to work again.”

“You’re brilliant,” I said, commending my pot-throwing friend. “Just brilliant.”

For decades, Walter Brasch has used cookie jars to collect his tax receipts, much to his wife’s and accountant’s annoyance. His next book is Before the First Snow, a work of journalistic fiction that explores war in the Gulf, the peace movements, and the effects of “clean” nuclear energy. The book is available from for pre-orders.

Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on April 14, 2011.


Public Service Ads: