On Saturday 2/26, Americans in approximately 50 major U.S. cities stood in solidarity with each other and our friends in UK Uncut to demand that corporate tax dodgers pay their fair share of taxes, as hard-working Americans bear the brunt of harsh budget cuts.
And on Saturday, March 12, We'll be taking to the streets again for our next national day of action against Bank of America.
(Are you ready? If not, feel free to read our "What to do" blog post for details on how to plan an action in your community.)
Here’s what to say to the press, the police, and to people who disagree. (Just to be clear, these aren't verbatim orders from anyone, but rather suggestions for anyone who needs guidance.)
WHAT TO SAY TO REPORTERS
WHO/WHAT is US Uncut?
US Uncut is a grassroots movement organized solely through word of mouth and social media that protests the fact that corporations aren't paying their fair share in taxes, which leads to cuts in valuable public services.
Big corporations dodge up to $100 billion in taxes every year, and if they paid their taxes like the rest of us do, then we could stop the $100 billion in cuts to college loans, too (Pell Grants).
WHERE did you get this idea?
US Uncut is inspired by an article that appeared in The Nation magazine about UK Uncut, a nationwide grassroots movement in Europe that protests corporate tax dodgers and unnecessary budget cuts. The article can be read “here.”
SUMMARIZE US Uncut's cause in 30 seconds.
Before you cut one more education program, before you cut assisted heating for the poor, before you destroy one more job-creating program, before you fire one more teacher, let's make sure the richest of the rich play by the rules and pay their fair share, just like everyone else.
WHAT TO SAY TO POLICE
(REMEMBER: Police Officers & Bank Tellers are not your enemies here, and Video Cameras are your best friend. Never touch a Police Officer or get physically aggressive.)
POLICE. So what the hell are you folks doing?
YOU. Hello OFFICER, first of all, I know you are just doing your job. Second, this is a nonviolent, creative protest of corporate tax dodgers (like Bank of America) because their tax avoidance creates cuts in vital public services like public safety.
POLICE. Well, we were called here because Bank of America says you're trespassing on private property. So you gotta go.
YOU. OFFICER, we're on your side, here. I know you've heard about the budget cuts, due to low tax revenue, that threaten our children's future, and the jobs of teachers, firefighters and police officers like yourself, right?
YOU. OFFICER, we want you to do your job. But as long as corporations like Bank of America don’t pay their fair share in taxes, we’re going to continue to see cuts in school budgets & police Officers.
WHAT TO SAY TO OPPOSITION
OPPOSITION. "What are you lefties rabble-rousing about this time?"
YOU. "All we're asking is for Bank of America to pay their fair share in taxes. This is a company that made tens of billions in pure profit last year and got more than 3 billion dollars back from the government after taxes. We work hard. We pay our taxes. Why don't they?"
OPPOSITION. "Businesses are only responsible to their shareholders. Taxing them more makes them less competitive."
YOU. "We lose out on $100 billion in corporate tax revenue every year. Big business has to learn to be responsible to the American taxpayers who make it possible for them to run an American business. If you earn income here, you should pay income taxes here. And that's why we're here."
OPPOSITION. "So these are anti-business protests, right?"
YOU. "Not at all. We're just asking that Bank of America along with numerous other corporations pay their fair share in taxes so more folks keep working. I'd say lost jobs and less local spending are both anti-business, wouldn't you?"
OPPOSITION. "Why don't we just cut back on big government and help businesses get tax breaks to spur job creation?"
YOU. "How can we give a corporation more tax breaks if they don't pay taxes in the first place? (pulls a dollar from wallet) This dollar is more than the combined income tax liability of Bank of America, GE and ExxonMobil combined. That means someone's gaming the system."
OPPOSITION. "So are you saying we raise taxes on corporations to pay off our debt?"
YOU. "No, just that multi-billion dollar corporations simply pay their fair share like you and I do. Bank of America made billions in profit and had a $0 income tax bill. We work multiple jobs and pay our taxes, why aren't they paying theirs?"
Bank of America Tax Avoidance
• BofA is the largest bank and 5th largest corporation in America
• BofA holds over $2.2 Trillion in assets
• BofA in 2009 earned a pretax income of $4.4 Billion.
• BofA received $45 Billion in taxpayer bailout funds in 2008 and 2009
• BofA paid ZERO federal income tax in 2009
• BofA actually received a $1.9 Billion tax benefit from the government in 2009
• BofA took deductions of $2.1 Billion in 2009
• BofA funneled its income through 115 foreign tax-haven subsidiaries
General Corporate Tax Avoidance
• Two-thirds of all US corporations do not pay federal income tax
• 25% of the biggest US corporations do not pay federal income tax
• US corporations avoid between $37 Billion and $100 Billion a year in US taxes
• President Obama has called for ending corporate tax loopholes in his campaign, the 2010 State of the Union and the 2011 State of the Union
• The “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” was not acted upon by the previous Congress.
Education Related Cuts
• Congress had proposed a $5.7 billion cut to the Pell Grant program which will directly target lower income students who want a higher education
• Congress has proposed a $1 Billion cut to the Head Start program which will directly target lower income and poverty stricken children
• Congress has proposed a $700 million cut to Title I grants which will directly target children in lower income school districts
• College tuition has risen nearly 20 percent in just two years, making higher education unaffordable, saddling students with crippling debt.