February 13, 2014

ATF Director Frank Clemente: “Freeze Out the Lobbyists; Don’t Freeze Wages”

By Jay Davis, Digital Director, Americans for Tax Fairness

On Tuesday of this week — February 11th — Americans for Tax Fairness joined our friends with the American Federation of Government Employees for AFGE’s Rally for Shared Prosperity, Not Austerity. Along with hundreds of AFGE members, other unions and other folks who care about the economy, we called for a fair federal budget that ensures good jobs for federal workers, gives America a raise and closes corporate tax loopholes.

Americans for Tax Fairness’ Executive Director Frank Clemente took the mic to talk about the role that a fair tax system plays in ensuring everyone can prosper in our country.

Here’s what he had to say to the crowd:

Today we are demanding that Congress choose prosperity over austerity. That means we need to create jobs and build a strong economy here at home. Not give tax breaks to big corporations that hide profits and ship jobs offshore.

It means we need to invest in our future and provide vital services to American families. Not slash budgets, shortchange our schools and let our roads and bridges crumble.

It means we need to extend unemployment benefits for 2 million Americans so they can simply put food on their table. Not protect tax loopholes for Wall Street CEOs living in penthouses.

Americans need prosperity, not austerity. And that begins with a tax system that works for everyone — not just the well-off and the well-connected.

AFGERallyConservatives in Congress froze the wages of federal employees for three years. Instead, they should have frozen out the lobbyists swarming Capitol Hill trying to get tax breaks for their powerful clients.

Conservatives in Congress have attacked your pensions, rather than attacking the problem — too many special-interest tax loopholes that cost us dearly.

For too many Americans, incomes are stagnant. Opportunities are shrinking. Security is sacrificed. And Americans increasingly feel that the deck is stacked against them.

And when it comes to our tax system, they are right. Each one of you pays more in taxes to the federal government in one year than some hugely profitable corporations pay. General Electric. Boeing. Verizon. Wells Fargo bank. Some years they pay Z-E-R-O. What’s that spell? ZERO! How much do they pay? ZERO! How much? ZERO!

And they’re after even more.

In coming weeks, Congress will try to pass a giant boondoggle of more than 60 tax breaks. Politicians call these “tax extenders.” We call them BIG TAX LOOPHOLES. They are worth $500 billion over 10 years and mostly benefit corporations.

There are no plans to pay for these tax breaks — which equals the COMBINED budgets over the next 10 years of the Department of Labor and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

More tax breaks mean more austerity, which means less prosperity. We will never restore fairness to our economy until we restore fairness to our tax code. When corporations and the wealthy DO NOT pay their fair share, the rest of us pay more — or we get less.

Let’s say “no” to austerity. And let’s say “yes” to tax fairness — a pillar of our prosperity. Thank you.

Photo Credit: AFGE