The Power of Information

One of the questions we’re asked everyday by media and visitors is “Why a library at #OccupyWallStreet?”

Well, information matters and it’s powerful. But what does that mean? In her October 4th post about working at the library, Sophia wrote “There is a library because we are here and knowledge is necessary for survival.” More recently, Steve S. explained “we are almost as important as the kitchen, the kitchen feeds them, we feed them books . . . libraries are there to provide you the means in order to articulate your rationale. we think through books, we think through the ideas of others, we don’t exist in isolation, we need to communicate, correspond and experience intersubjective exchange of information and ideas in order to know where we stand . . .”

As a library, we’re here to provide information. To collect and make available information as freely as possible. And sometimes information is literally mind-blowing, some information changes the way you think about the economy and the world around you and about fairness. This is a list of sourced economic facts that did that for me. Want to learn more? We have a boxes of books about economics, corporate citizenship, globalization and more. Come down and get some power.

The 10 Worst Corporate Income Tax Avoiders (as of March 2011)

1)  Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009.  Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.  (Source: Exxon Mobil’s 2009 shareholder report filed with the SEC here.)

2)  Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion. (Source: Forbes.com here, ProPublica here and Treasuryhere.)

3)  Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS. (Source: Citizens for Tax Justice here and The New York Times here.  Note: despite rumors to the contrary, the Times has stood by its story.)

4)  Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.  (Source: See 2009 Chevron annual report here.  Note 15 on page FS-46 of this report shows a U.S. federal income tax liability of $128 million, but that it was able to defer $147 million for a U.S. federal income tax liability of $-19 million)

5)  Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.  (Source: Paul Buchheit, professor, DePaul University, here and Citizens for Tax Justice here.)

6)  Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction. (Source: the company’s 2009 annual report, pg. 112, here.)

7)  Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.  (Source: Bloomberg News here, ProPublica here, Treasury Department here.)

8)  Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury. (Source: Paul Buchheit, professor, DePaul University, here, ProPublica here, Treasury Department here.)

9)  ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2006 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.  (Sources: Profits can be found here.  The deduction can be found on the company’s 2010 SEC 10-K report to shareholders on 2009 finances, pg. 127, here)

10)  Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.  (Source: The New York Times here)

List compiled by Sen. Bernie Sanders.

1 Comment

Filed under Michael, Reference

One response to “The Power of Information

  1. Pingback: Occupied? Or Censored?! Protesting Veterans & Librarians | Emerging Technologies Librarian

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