As informed progressive bloggers, we know that one cause of our current ‘fiscal crisis’ is the failure of high-income individuals and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. The news, for example, that General Electric paid no US income taxes in 2010 has been widely reported. This to me is just incredible, and together with the need to pay our own individual federal income taxes by April 15th (actually, the 18th this year), this gives us a teachable moment that is available to us anywhere in the US to use.
We all know about the last minute rush to get tax forms into the mail on time. Many post offices stay open late to accommodate it. So, I’ve put together resources below which you can use to create your own localized Tax Day Teach-In/Protest outside our nation’s post offices – a protest sign and backup factsheet for distribution.
This is what I’ll be doing outside my local post office on the 15th and the 18th – offering information on the screwing of the American taxpayer to post office visitors. How great would it be for people everywhere to access these resources and use them, as well?
The web site incometaxlist.com (http://www.incometaxlist.com/income-tax-zip-code.htm) allows you to get tax data at the zipcode level. The site doesn’t have much information as to the source of the data, but Slate uses it (http://www.slate.com/id/2266025/entry/2266026), so it appears to be reputable. The IRS sells zip-code level data sets, and I assume that’s where incometaxlist got their data.
Anyway, you can enter your zip code and then do a little math to determine the total and average amounts that individuals paid in federal income taxes for your zip code. These two numbers can be inserted in place of the numbers from the zip code (mine) that is in the example documents.
Below I’ve given suggested text for a sign to be carried and for the one-page backup factsheet. Feel free to change as you wish, of course, but this can get many of us started. Happy Educating!
If you decide to participate in this grassroots Teach-In/Protest, let’s meet back here Tuesday morning the 19th and share our experiences.
Suggested Sign Text:
INCOME TAXES PAID
That’s Right; We Pay An Average of
$14,000 in Taxes While GE Pays Nothing!
Get Educated, Get Mad and Then Get Active
Tax Day Information We Citizens Need To Know
INCOME TAXES PAID
Is it possible that General Electric paid no income taxes in 2010 while the people of our zipcode, 80236, paid $66 million in federal income taxes, an average of over $14,000 each? 
Yes, it is almost unbelievable, but it is true. General Electric, the world’s largest corporation (or second largest, according to Forbes’ Magazine ), pays zero income taxes in the United States. In fact, it got a $3.2 billion tax REBATE in 2010 – meaning that we, the American taxpayer – actually paid GE’s tax rebate from our own pockets. What’s wrong with this picture?
Did you also know that during the time period from 1935-1945, the amount of federal income taxes that individuals and corporations paid were roughly equal? That is, in the ’30’s and ’40’s, individuals paid as much income tax in total as did corporations. In the last seventy years, you would think that the number and wealth of individuals and corporations would have grown at about equal rates. But the tax burdens haven’t grown proportionately. Since the 1940’s, the ratio has changed considerably, until now individuals bear over four times as much tax burden as do corporations. That’s right, we individuals now pay four times as much to support the US government as do corporations. The GE number cited above is just an example of that trend at work. 
When we are told that government doesn’t have the money to provide services to the poor and middle class anymore, remember that we would have the money if corporations paid their fair share, just as they used to. Imagine if corporations paid four times as much as they do now – our government’s fiscal problems would be solved! Unfortunately, this is something that no political party in Washington, DC wants to talk about.
Informed citizens are the necessary first step toward reversing this fleecing of the average American (us). Please pass this message on to your neighbors and friends. If we do, maybe by next Tax Day we’ll have a different outcome!
– Brad Klafehn
Resident, Zip Code 80236
 GE information, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/general-electric-paid-federal-taxes-2010/story?id=13224558
Zipcode level information: http://www.incometaxlist.com/income-tax-zip-code.htm
 Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/18/global-2000-10_The-Global-2000_Rank.html
 Individual and corporate tax payments: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=203