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A gap in conservative pundits' coverage of tax scofflaws

April 13, 2011 - Mike Maneval
A few weeks ago, the New York Times published a controversial article about the corporate income tax burden faced by General Electric — which is either very low, or non-existent altogether — the story has come under fire for how the Times calculated the burden. In either case, General Electric's tax burden has drawn the ire of both progressive activists and — bafflingly — conservative pundits.

Timothy Carney and David Freddoso of the conservative Washington Examiner blasted General Electric. So did syndicated conservative columnist Mona Charen — who somehow concluded the best solution would be to completely eliminate GE's tax burden and the tax burden for EVERY corporation and replace the revenues with a 30-percent-plus national sales tax on me and you — and the Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper, and M.B. Snow of the Tucker Carlson-founded Daily Caller website. The objectivist website recommended boycotting General Electric, saying, "if as Vice President Joe Biden says, 'It’s patriotic to pay taxes,' General Electric must be the least patriotic company in the country."

But the baffling part of these conservative pundits' outrage is that in 2010 Bank of America also benefitted from the same tax-code exemptions and credits and loopholes to eliminate or nearly eliminate its tax burden. Yet, not one of the commentaries from Carney, Freddoso, Charen, Halper, and Snow even mentioned Bank of America.

Maybe it is the role General Electric plays in the development of renewable energy technologies, a role augmented through tax credits and loopholes. Many of the conservative publications who provide these writers a platform label tax credits to promote energy independence as "social engineering," though they've never seen the pronatalist per-child tax credit as an attempt to "socially engineer" higher birth rates.

Or maybe it's because in three of the last four election cycles, Bank of America contributed more to Republicans than Democrats. The top four recipients of Bank of America contributions in the 2010 campaigns, according to, were Republicans.


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