Doggett Smells a Scam
In case you're fallen a few steps behind the post-Sept. 11 grieving curve, national trendsetters in the Bush administration, Congress, and lobbyist circles say it's time to forgive and forget -- payment of taxes by corporations, that is. General Motors, Boeing, International Paper, and other billionaire behemoths are so emotionally distraught about the tragedies, it seems, that they are asking for repeal of the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) -- and many on Capitol Hill feel their pain.
Not only do the corporations say they need a $200 billion tax break to feel better again, but also a rebate on taxes they paid during the past 15 years. Despite the country's unstable economic situation, energy and oil corporations -- many based in Texas -- stand to win back millions. According to the nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, Texas Utilities would get $608 million and Enron $234 million. "It's sort of a free-for-all," American League of Lobbyists President James Albertine recently gushed to The New York Times. "It could be a long dry spell before anything like this comes around again."
The Times also reports that the administration and Congressional Republicans have given business leaders "red-carpet treatment," and that Democratic leaders have also been responsive. "It's like squirrels running around finding acorns and putting them in the ground for winter," said Albertine. But Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Travis County, avows he won't join the holy (red carpet) rollers any time soon. "To the clarion call of President John F. Kennedy, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,' these special interests have responded, 'How big is my tax break rebate check?'" Doggett said. The Congressman says he fought AMT repeal as a member of the Ways and Means Committee and during the Oct. 24 floor debate on "economic stimulus" legislation. "Labeling corporate loopholes and tax dodges as an 'economic stimulus' is merely an excuse for enacting an agenda that is only designed to stimulate the pocketbooks of the biggest corporate campaign contributors," Doggett said.