Occupy DC: My Speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

On Thursday, October 6, more than 2,000 people assembled at Freedom Square and marched to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We brought thousands of resumes of people looking for jobs. Many testified about their job searches. Here were my remarks:

Speaking truth to power, in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking truth to power, in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A coalition of Wall Street companiesand the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — are pressing for a “tax holiday” for companies that have parked over $1 trillion in offshore tax havens.

These corporations include Google, Apple, Pfizer, General Electric, and Duke Energy.

They’ve spent over $50 million and hired more than 160 lobbyists — including many former Democratic congressional staffers. They intend to buy this tax break and hope that we will all stay asleep.

Today, they introduced their bill in the Senate to “repatriate” their profits. These big businesses want to bring this money back. Their lobbyists claim they’ll use it to create jobs.

But here’s what we know: Their pants are on fire. Liars, liars, pants on fire.

In 2004, they convinced Congress to do the same thing. Congress granted a $92 billion tax holiday to 843 global companies that had stashed their profits off shore.

What did they do with their money? Did they create jobs?

No! This week, the Institute for Policy Studies released a study: 58 companies that got 70 percent of the tax breaks in 2004 destroyed almost 600,000 jobs.

They got $64 billion in tax breaks.

They say they need cash to invest in the U.S. We found these 58 companies are sitting on $450 billion in cash. If they want to invest now, nothing is stopping them!

Let’s be clear: These companies are not job creators, they are job destroyers. They used the money to funnel more money to their CEOs and pay out dividends and buy up smaller companies.

No tax holidays for companies that destroy jobs.

The conservative Heritage Foundation also released a study yesterday saying tax holidays won’t create jobs. When IPS and Heritage same the same thing…hopefully Congress will listen.

People gathered at Freedom Plaza to launch Occupy DC

People gathered at Freedom Plaza to launch Occupy DC

Look, we’re not anti-business. We’re not here protesting at the Chamber because we are anti-business.

Some of us here are members of local chambers of commerce. There are patriotic businesses in our communities that pay living wages, that source their products locally, and that pay their federal and local taxes without whining. These are domestic and rooted businesses that care about our communities and the environment — and understand that they are an integral part of a healthy community.

The business management guru Jim Collins calls them built-to-last companies — that celebrate all their stakeholders — workers, communities and shareholders. If we’re going to help any companies, they should be built-to-last businesses that create jobs.

The companies lobbying for this tax holiday are built-to-loot companies.

Their business model is to shift costs off their balance sheet and onto us. They ship jobs overseas, they dodge their taxes, and they pollute and get someone else to clean up their mess. Their whole business model is “take the money and run.”

Three weeks ago we did another study that showed 25 of these companies paid their CEOS more than they paid in taxes.

These companies are moochers. They use the public roads and infrastructure. They hire employees from our local schools and universities. When someone steals their patents, they run to U.S. courts to defend their assets. They want our military to defend their assets around the world. They just don’t want to pay. They use accounting gymnastics to shift their profits offshore to get out of paying their taxes in the United States.

ExxonMobil — next time a pirate hijacks one of your tankers, call the Navy of Luxembourg to defend you.

Pfizer — next time someone steals one of your drug patents, get the Justice Department from Ireland to defend your property.

Don’t call us until you pay up.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a lobbyist for the built-to-loot companies. But we have to defend ourselves against these companies. We have to organize to stop them.

If they get their tax holiday, it will only reward their bad behavior. It will kill jobs at patriotic domestic companies that are forced to compete against tax dodgers on an unlevel playing field.

The built-to-loot companies will keep shipping more jobs overseas. They will keep dodging taxes. It will cost us over $80 billion –money better spent on real job creators.

Stop the built-to-loot companies.

No tax holidays for corporations that destroy jobs!

Click here to tell your member of congress: No Tax Holliday

Chuck Collins is a co-author of the new Institute for Policy Studies report, America Loses: Corporations that Take Tax Holidays Slash Jobs. www.ips-dc.org
Take Action: Tell Your Member of Congress “No Corporate Tax Holidays”