Many of America’s most profitable companies, including GE, CitiGroup, and ExxonMobil, have successfully found ways to pay nothing in corporate income taxes. Last Saturday, ThinkProgress asked former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) if Bank of America, which paid nothing in corporate taxes in 2009, was paying its fair share. Pawlenty, who has called for drastic cuts in programs for the most vulnerable in society, repeatedly responded that corporate taxes are actually too high.
On Wednesday, ThinkProgress interviewed Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus. Asked about Pawlenty’s comments on taxes, Ellison said, “in other words, he’s saying, we need to pay them, because that’s the only way we can do better for them, right?” He went on to critique Pawlenty’s stump speech, which now consists of a story about growing up in a working class family. In a scathing attack on Pawlenty’s phony populism, Ellison explained that with Pawlenty’s pro-corporate policies, he has “no connection” to the blue collar community his family grew up in. Pawlenty “doesn’t want to pay them right, he doesn’t want them to have drink clean water,” and he doesn’t really care if they can afford college, Ellison said:
FANG: I actually asked Zaid’s question. I asked, “Bank of America paid nothing in corporate income taxes in 2009. Is that fair? Are they paying their fair share?” And he told me that corporate income taxes are too high. And I repeated, they paid nothing, is that too high? And he said, they are too high.
ELLISON: In other words, he’s saying, we need to pay them because that’s the only way we can do better for them, right? Tim Pawlenty is one of these right-wing ideologues who has a vision of America that is completely inconsistent with the interests of the middle class. He is out there to make sure that the David Kochs of the world, you know, have it their way, right. And their vision has nothing to do with if you get a Pell grant, and their vision has nothing to do with, you know, they can get water purifiers at their private estates. They don’t need the EPA. [...]
ELLISON: He is operating on their behalf and he has drank the kool aid. And he’s going to get up there on the course of this presidential campaign and tell you all about how his father was a truck driver in south St. Paul. Well you know what, that was a long time ago. And he has no connection to that any more. And I would only imagine what he would do to the truck drivers of south St. Paul today. He doesn’t want to pay them right, he doesn’t want them to have drink clean water, he doesn’t want their kids going to college — they can go but he doesn’t want to pay for it — he doesn’t really care if they go or not. And so, this is the kind of world that Tim Pawlenty would create.