What is good for General Motors is good for General Motors
When General Motors President Charles Wilson said "What was good for our country was good for General Motors and visa versa," few disagreed. Flash forward sixty years, and take a look at the auto giant's tax bill. Back in the 1950s, Wilson's assertion was perhaps the ultimate defence of capitalism, allowing the interests of corporate America to attach themselves to the flag. A cosy relationship between government and big business seemed of mutual benefit. The company was protected, perhaps from foreign competition, or from bankruptcy, as was the case in 2009 when the Obama administration took a stake in two of the three big car companies. While the public supposedly won from the taxes paid to the treasury once the good times started rolling.
What happens, then, when those good times come around again but the revenue dries up? Fox Business has reported that GM has paid hardly any taxes in the last financial year. Granted, we do have to be careful here, given Fox's bias against Obama and antipathy towards active government. Yet questions do need to be answered. It will be interesting to see how the Democratic candidates respond to this news, since Hilary Clinton supported bailouts for the car manufacturers. Yet she is now playing catch up with Bernie Sanders over closing corporate tax loopholes, which have resulted in companies like GM paying more in tax to China than to their own government.