Hundreds of Tax Day protesters took to the streets in New York City yesterday afternoon to demand the “1 percent” and some of the largest corporations in the United States pay their fair share of federal and state taxes.
The event was organized by a broad coalition of progressive groups, including New York Communities for Change, the Working Families Party, UnitedNY and Students For Occupy Wall Street.
“It’s time for the big banks and corporations to pay their share of taxes like the rest of us do. The Flatbush community cannot afford any more cuts to the services we rely on in order to line the pockets of the 1 percent. We’re not going to take it anymore. Today we’re fighting back,” said Leroy Johnson, NYCC chairperson of the Flatbush Chapter.
Protesters gathered by Bryant Park before marching toward the James Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue, the procession being led by “loopholes and dodgers,” in honor of the major corporations and 1 percenters that pay little to nothing in taxes.
Though the right’s favorite talking point is that America has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world at 35 percent, this doesn’t take into account corporations’ tax-evading practices. The S&P is home to 115 companies that receive more in credits than they pay out.
Bank of America, the fifth-largest corporation in the country, holds over $2.2 trillion in assets, and yet it pays less in taxes than the average American household. In fact, the federal government gave Bank of America $2.3 billion in 2009 while it made $4.4 billion in profits.
Similarly, Verizon made $12 billion in profits in 2010 but had paid $0 in taxes for two years as of 2011, while spending $34 million on lobbying.
It is this unbalanced system—where extremely wealthy individuals and corporations reap the rewards of rigging the US political system and tax code, while poor people are forced to sacrifice their already meager means—that inspired hundreds of protesters to turn out Tuesday.
“Tax Day is about the citizens rising up against the big money crowd to demand that they stop ripping off the rest of us and start carrying their fair share of the tax burden. Otherwise we will rot as a nation, even if some wealthy people live glamorous lives,” said Dan Cantor, executive director of WFP.
The NYPD clearly anticipated a large turnout because the steps of the post office were barricaded so no protester could touch a foot to the steps of the building. Somehow, despite the serious measures to seal off the steps (protesters were actually held in a kettle just shy of the post office), “loopholes and the dodgers” managed to get in front of the building and pose for a few photos.