In a self-described "stealth campaign," an anti-government coalition of corporations like Citigroup, Verizon, and General Motors wrote to their shareholders urging them to lobby for the Presidents outrageous plan to cut the dividend income tax. If you have any money in a stock mutual fund, IRA, 401(k), or if you own stock directly, you can sign on to this UFE Shareholder Rebellion Statement.
We object to companies that we own using our resources to lobby for short-sighted and imprudent government tax policies. A dividend tax cut might mean a modest tax break for us, but it is bad public policy and using shareholder money to lobby for tax cuts is inappropriate corporate conduct.
We are investors who are concerned about the long-term health of the economy. We are shareholders who have seen the value of our savings and retirement funds eroded by corporate misconduct and recession. We are not convinced that the Presidents tax policies will stimulate the economy. Rather, we believe that it will worsen the long-term health of the economy.
We are investors. But we are also citizens of a country that needs to maintain fiscal discipline and not leave deep debts for future generations. If our country chooses to go into debt, it should do so in order to make productive investments, not to give windfall tax cuts to the wealthy. Our country is facing $450 billion deficits. Yet our President insists on pushing an additional tax cuts, worsening our countrys fiscal stability.
We are shareholders. But we are also residents of communities. We are parents and grandparents of children in public school and higher education. We live in communities that depend on public services, public safety and environmental protection. We are sons and daughters of seniors who need prescription drug coverage. We are counting on the solvency of Social Security. We live in states that are facing budget shortfalls totalling over $70 billion and are therefore making deep cuts in education, health and other vital public services. Additional tax cuts at this time would be reckless.
We are stockholders. We would benefit financially from a dividend tax cut. But we know an unfair tax proposal when we see one. We are concerned with the unfairness of these tax proposals and how they are overly skewed to the super-wealthy. The benefits of this tax cut will disproportionately go the very wealthy, those with annual incomes over $350,000 a year.
The top managers of our companies had a personal interest in asking us, as shareholders, to lobby for this tax cut. As individuals, they will benefit enormously from the dividend tax cut. Yet they did not disclose this conflict of interest as they urged us to lobby on their behalf.
United for a Fair Economy, 37 Temple Place, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02111. Voice: 617/423-2148 Fax: 617/423-0191.