Love her or hate her, most Americans pay their fair share of taxes into the treasury as a basic duty. In return, we get roads, schools, law enforcement, health services, clean air and water, and other public goods that benefit everyone.
But for too long, the richest households and businesses have evaded the rules that apply to most of us – those who can afford to pay their fair share, but seldom thanks to loopholes, lobbying, and preferential treatment.
Dozens of Fortune 500 companies make it every year Avoid taxes Thanks to Trump tax law and a web of tax loopholes for businesses designed to help Wall Street make as much profit as possible. The 2017 tax bill, Trump's signature success, cut corporate taxes, gave massive losses to companies moving profits and jobs overseas, and resulted in the lowest corporate tax rates in 30 years.
It only got worse in the pandemic when companies like Zoom Video Communications benefited while not returning taxes, despite millions having lost jobs and health care due to COVID. Zoom's pre-tax profit increased 4,000% last year, from $ 16 million in 2019 to $ 660 million in 2020. but did not pay federal corporate income tax on these profits.
However, low corporate tax rates are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tax breaks for some businesses. For example, prescription drug companies receive a steady stream of taxpayers' money to power their business model, including significant funding from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) for research and development of new drugs. With the COVID vaccine alone, companies like Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson got it over $ 16 billion Accelerate research and manufacture of vaccines and therapeutics. This vaccine is now to be manufactured Billions for companies thanks to our investment.
However, COVID vaccines are by no means unique – most drugs developed and approved in the United States involve taxpayer investment. Between 2010 and 2019 included every single new drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration taxpayer funded research by NIH. Pharmaceutical companies patent the drugs we pay for to develop and then charge us exorbitant prices that rise every year – sometimes twice a year.
You also get tax breaks for marketing the drugs for us, which are a key strategy to increase the demand for the products. There are only two countries in the world that market prescription drugs directly to consumers – the United States and New Zealand. American taxpayers reward drug companies with annual tax breaks for the billions they spend on all the commercials we watch on television during the day or late at night.
What do we get for all these tax contributions and giveaways to pharmaceuticals? So far we've mostly gotten higher drug prices even drugs that have been around for a long time, such as insulin and epi-pens. Although the drug companies promised to use their massive Trump bill tax cuts to lower prices and support jobs, most of the largest corporations spent them on stocks Buybacks and increased executive salaries. Meanwhile a Third of the patients Skip doses because they can't afford the price of prescriptions.
It's time to fix this broken system. Nobody should choose between food or medication, run into debt, or have to forego insulin and blood pressure pills because they can't afford the price of prescriptions. President Biden is right about that We need negotiations and Congress should do it now. But Congress should also stop forcing taxpayers to pay price cuts again and again: We pay for research, we pay in the pharmacy, we pay for tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies.
Instead, Congress should get drug companies to pay their fair share of taxes, remove tax loopholes that allow industry to evade taxes, and stop rewarding those companies for driving up prices, marketing aggressively and outsource their profits.
Terry Minow is the vice chairman of Big Sky 55+ and Alanna Wulf is the organizer of the political and advocacy organization.