Sunday, April 17, 2011

A positive spin re GE

The following is a fantastic prank. We've all heard the news that GE corporation pay no taxes & gets a hefty refund from the IRS. Uncut pulled off this hopeful press release:

Fairfield, CT, 13th April, 2011 - GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has informed the Obama administration that the company will be gifting its entire 2010 tax refund, worth $3.2 Billion, to the US Treasury on April 18, Tax Day, and will furthermore adopt a host of new policies that secure its position as a leader in corporate social responsibility.

"We want the public to know that we've heard them, and that we know many Americans are going through tough times," said GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. "GE will therefore give our 2010 tax refund back to the public and allow the public to decide how to spend it."

Immelt acknowledged no wrongdoing. "All seven of our foreign tax havens are entirely legal," Immelt noted. "But Americans have made it clear that they deplore laws that enable tax avoidance. While we owe it to our shareholders to use every legal loophole to maximize returns - we also owe something to the American people. We didn't write the laws that let us legally avoid paying taxes. Congress did. But we benefit from those laws, and now we'd like to share those benefits. We are proud to be giving something back to America, and we are proud to set an example for all industry to follow."

Over the coming weeks, GE will conduct a nationwide survey to determine how the company's $3.2 billion returned refund is to be allocated. The survey will be conducted both online and offline, and will permit the public to weigh in on which of the recently-enacted budget cuts they would like to see reversed.

In tandem with the gift, the company is also announcing a host of new policies to restore public faith in the GE brand, including a commitment to keep American jobs in America, and to create one U.S. job for each new job created abroad. The ambitious plan will overhaul accounting systems to allow public transparency and phase out the use of tax havens in five years. "Given my recent appointment as President Obama's Chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, it is no longer appropriate for GE to engage in practices that, whether by fact or perception, are at odds with the greater good of the nation," Immelt said.

Immelt outlined several concrete steps he would take to push for modernized tax policies that reflect the realities of the global economy. "I will personally ask President Obama to work with Congress to require country-by-country reporting by multi-national corporations of the sales made, profits earned and taxes paid in every jurisdiction where an entity operates. Instead of moving money via 'transfer pricing,' corporations ought to pay taxes in the jurisdictions where profits are actually made. If Congress is able to establish standard industry-wide solutions, GE will close our tax haven operations abroad, including our subsidiaries in Bermuda, Singapore and Luxembourg."

Further details on GE's new policy will be released in the coming weeks.


Samuel Winnacker
GE Corporate, Assistant Director
Communications & Public Affairs 
+1 615 375 6658 


USA Today, AP fall for US Uncut ploy; GE stock loses billions
Washington, DC – US Uncut, a burgeoning grassroots movement pressuring corporate tax cheats to pay their fair share, posted today a fake GE press releaseannouncing that they would return their illegitimate (but legal) $3.2 billion tax refund, and that they would lobby to close the sort of corporate tax loopholes that had allowed them to skip taxes in the first place. Several major media outlets, including USA Today, ran the story as true. (Here is a link to the original USA Today story; here is the first article debunking the release.)
US Uncut quickly reacted with another release pretending to praise GE for this entirely unpredictable, unlikely, and in fact impossible act.
“At a time when working families are being asked to accept massive cuts nationwide, this action showed another way the world could work,” said US Uncut spokesperson Carl Gibson. “For a brief moment people believed that the biggest corporate tax dodger had a change of heart and actually did the right thing. But the only way anything like this is really going to happen is if we change the laws that allow corporate tax avoidance in the first place.”
In the period the hoax was believed, GE’s stock plunged by .6% (far more than the value of the supposed return), then quickly recovered as soon as it became apparent the press had been duped. “Obviously, GE can’t possibly be expected to do the right thing voluntarily; their stock would keep plunging,” noted Gibson. “That’s why we must change the law.”
“GE’s tax avoidance is unpatriotic, it’s undemocratic, it’s unfair,” said Andrew Boyd, a US Uncut spokesperson. “It might be legal, but that’s only because GE has used its money and lobbying influence to buy the loopholes they’re now taking advantage of.”
US Uncut developed the project with help from the Yes Lab (
US Uncut, a grassroots movement organized through social media, connects corporate tax cheating to cuts in valuable public services.
Yes Men: Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them. Our targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.
* Hat tip to the COTO Report. 

Hilarious Hijinx!
If you report it, maybe it will happen???


D.K. Raed said...

I didn't realize it was a Yes Men hoax! Gawd, those guys are good.

Wonder if the ph # is real ... how many calls would Mr Winnacker's secretary have fielded before she threw a shoe at her boss's door?

When a certain georgian gentleman named James Carter became president, his peanut farm had lost money the previous yr so that he legitimately owed no income taxes. He voluntarily paid 15% of his income to the US Treasury. Kind of like a gratuity? Whatever ... it was a generous move and the symbolism was not lost on the american people who were reeling from oil shortages & stagflation. Big corp's like GE could learn a lot from that peanut farmer.

Fran said...

Obama quipped they need to close the tax loopholes for big oil as they are doing quite well.
It is true--they should not be taking $ back while not paying taxes.