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Thursday, Feb. 17, 2005 12:45 pm

common sense 2-17-05

art1806

Just when you think you’ve bottomed out on the cynicism it’s possible to feel in response to Washington’s constant kowtowing to the monied interests, along comes the American Jobs Creation Act.

These days, whenever the White House and Congress put a positive-sounding title on legislation, you can bet it does the exact opposite of what its title so gloriously proclaims.

The American Jobs Creation Act, pushed by President George W. Bush and enacted last fall, does not create a single job. Instead, it’s a massive multibillion-dollar tax giveaway to global corporations. Through this law’s “homeland investment” loophole, corporations operating abroad are allowed to have some $400 billion in foreign profits taxed at the bargain-basement rate of only 5.25 percent rather than the normal rate of 35 percent.

To pass this gargantuan boondoggle for some of the richest corporations in the world, Bush and his congressional cohorts had to cloak it as an economic-development program, promising that it would prompt a surge of new investments all across our land and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for U.S. workers.

They lied. Instead of building new factories or producing new products, thus creating new jobs, such corporations as Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, Pfizer, GE, and ExxonMobil are using the billions they get from this tax windfall to buy out their competitors, shore up their bottom lines, or simply finance their existing operations.

For example, Hewlett-Packard, which lobbied heavily for the tax break, now says that far from hiring more workers, it plans to reduce its American workforce. Likewise, Oracle says it will use its windfall to help pay for its recent takeover of its rival PeopleSoft — a takeover that will result in the cutting of 5,000 jobs.

Beware of corporate thieves lurking behind noble-sounding legislative titles — the grander the title, the greater the theft.

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