‘Flash Mob’ Protests Inside Bank of America on Columbia Pike

by ARLnow.com April 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm 4,476 178 Comments

(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Police responded to the Bank of America at the corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road this afternoon after a group of protesters paraded around the branch holding signs and shouting slogans.

Demonstrators with Alexandria-based Tenants and Workers United (TWU) chanted “tax the rich, jobs now, homes now” while dancing the “Tax the Rich Shuffle,” as part of a national tax day protest. TWU Interim Executive Director Jennifer Morley said they targeted Bank of America because the giant financial company paid no corporate income tax this year.

“For too long, the government has allowed corporations and the wealthy not to pay their fair share,” Morley said. “Unrestricted greed has led to lay-offs, foreclosures and high rates of unemployment in working class communities.”

Morley said about 50 people participated in the Arlington Bank of America protest. There were no arrests.

“Companies, like Bank of America, are about profits not jobs,” she continued. “The government must make Bank of America and the big corporations pay their fair share. The revenue can be used to create millions of living wage jobs with benefits and invest in our communities.”

Tenants and Workers United and a group called Right to the City are calling for three new federal tax initiatives. They want all corporate tax loopholes to be closed, they want a 0.25 percent tax imposed on the trading of financial products, and they want a 1 percent wealth tax on the top 5 percent of households. Together, the groups argue, those taxes could generate more than $1.2 trillion per year.

Other protests were planned today at banks, offices, city halls and post offices in Miami, New York, Boston, Providence, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. Video from the Arlington protest will be posted at righttothecity.org later today, Morley said.

  • Thes

    “Police responded”? How did the police respond? Was this a peaceful, lawful protest or was there illegal activity? If the former, the police response doesn’t seem particularly relevant.

    • JohnW

      Private property … trespassing

  • Aaron

    No arrests? Didn’t any of these filthy layabouts have any organs worth harvesting? Harrumph!

    • G. Clifford Prout

      Smithers: Release the hounds!

  • I wonder how much federal income tax the girl in the photograph paid this year.

    • mehoo

      There’s a chance she, or her family, paid more in taxes than Bank of America, the largest bank in the U.S., paid. Something’s seriously wrong with that, don’t you think?

      You and I both paid more than Bank of America. Does that make any sense at all?

      • No, it doesn’t. But nearly 50% of individual taxpayers pay no federal income tax and that is wrong as well. And, many of them complain that corporations and the rich don’t pay enough. Hypocrites.

        The bottom line is there needs to be tax reform all around.

        • SouthArlJD

          Nonsense. They pay payroll taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, real estate taxes, and all sorts of other taxes. It’s not like they’re skating by on some rich guy’s dime. Try dealing with payroll and all those other taxes and still having enough left over to feed and house yourself and your family. Meanwhile, the top 1% in this country made 80% of the gains in income over the past few years but over the same period their taxes were cut by almost one half. The rich pay proportionately far LESS of their income in taxes than upper middle class people in this country. Moreover, just why are we not collecting social security taxes on incomes over $107,000?

      • Bard

        Not defending BofA, but they did pay taxes, they just didn’t pay corporate income taxes.

        • SouthArlJD

          Oh, you mean the way the poor and middle class ALSO pay other taxes than just income taxes? Thing is, those taxes cut far deeper into their bottom line than what the corporations pay; moreover, the corporations enjoy tax deferrals and credits unavailable to the average taxpayer. Every tax the corporations pay is considered the cost of doing business and they get to charge it against their tax liability. Meanwhile, ordinary taxpayers CAN’T do the same with most of the taxes they pay.

      • mehoo

        No, I don’t think it’s hypocritical for someone making, say, $15k a year to pay no taxes to criticize someone who makes billions paying no taxes. We have a progressive tax system, supposedly.

        To point to poor people and justify the actions of an enormously wealthy corporation is just lame.

        • Except that most of the half of the people in this country who don’t pay tax make more than the no-tax threshold. ($14.5K?)

          • mehoo

            But those people probably aren’t complaining about Bank of America. Some of those people are benefiting from the same screwed up tax code that Bank of America is enjoying.

            Bringing up low-income people in a thread about how the largest bank in the country paid ZERO taxes is just pathetic. And the amount of revenue is not even comparable either.

          • 1 bank times a bunch of money. Half the country times a little bit of money. Seems to be a pretty good amount of money going by the wayside from “the poor” 50%.

          • mehoo

            How much do you think you can raise from the poor, OB? Yeah, that makes alot of sense – if only the poor would pay more. That’s really getting you somewhere on a thread about the biggest bank in the country paying absolutely nothing.

            If you have a number, though, by all means share it. I’ll look too.

          • You seem to be losing it, mehoo. “The poor” in quotes refers to 50% of the people who are paying NO federal income tax. Those “poor” people are anything but poor. Yet, they are paying NO tax. I’m not saying we should tax the very low income people who are in poverty. I’m saying folks who have found a way to bypass paying taxes on incomes where they should be paying taxes need to PAY! That would be like…..40+% of the people in this country. Those people need to pay some tax before I am willing to pay another dime.

          • mehoo

            As noted, half of those who pay no taxes do so because they are below the minimum income requirements.

            If there are others on the upper side who pay no taxes – and there are – throw them in the mix with Bank of America too.

          • Aaron

            CORPORATIONS DO NOT PAY TAXES. If a bank owes taxes, it gets that money by reducing the interest it pays its depositors, by charging usurious fees on its checking customers, or by gouging its borrowers. Or perhaps you think the customers should be left alone and all the tax money should come from depriving the bank’s shareholders of their investment income? Individuals have their dividend income taxed by the federal government at a ridiculous rate, so if the bank hides all of its EVIL profit from the government by giving it away to its investors, the IRS is still getting its fair share from the bank’s success.

      • steve

        Not a chance, even if BoA paid no taxes at the corporate level, the shareholders paid income taxes on the dividends paid out. Also the employees of BoA pay income tax, if shareholders sell their shares, they pay capital gains tax if they’ve satisfied the holding period requirement, otherwise ordinary income tax on the gains from the sale, if any. That contributes a lot more to the economy and to funding the government than some person holding up some sign who doesn’t pay any income tax.

        • pathetic republicans!

          BOA paying no taxes is pathetic no matter what excuses you want to make. Typical Republican reaction that the rich and the mega-corporations get to pay no taxes while America taxes the middle class, makes poor people out of average wage earners and destroys the social safety net that makes this country the great place it used to be to live in. Narcissistic and simplistic flat-earth attitudes like today’s Republicans are what are destroying civil society in America. Republican apologists for rich fat cats and mega-corporations are xenophobic and not reflective of the true values of equality and justice for all on which this country was founded. The more Republicans scream about the destruction of American values the more one has to realize that they are actually the ones who seek to destroy the liberties and values of this country.

          • For God’s sake…will you PLEASE read the cited article????? If you made no annual income in 2010, would you expect to pay taxes?????

            From the cited Charlotte Observer article: “Bank of America posted a pre-tax loss of $5.4 billion”

            Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/03/25/2170576/no-federal-tax-expense-for-bofa.html#ixzz1JyXI4l4f

          • mehoo

            So why did they pay state and foreign taxes but no federal, I wonder?

          • You’d have to examine their documents to figure that one out. I can barely get through the complicated process that is my individual tax returns.

          • Lou

            I read the article, so I don’t have to wonder.

  • steve

    Oh, and of course this was done on a work week, during business hours. These protesters must be paying a lot of taxes from those jobs they obviously don’t have! LOL.

    • KalashniKEV

      +1 Gainfully employed people don’t have time to protest. Not even on the weekend…

    • Carmen

      I have a job but am off today. Maybe some of the protesters were too. Who knows?

    • mehoo

      People only work from 9 to 5. Nobody has vacation time. Nobody stays home to take care of children while a spouse works.

      These silly assumptions brought to you by steve.

  • Lou

    What’s the difference between a flash mob protest and other protests?

    • LBSki

      I clicked on the link hoping it was somehow similar to a flash mob dance. Dissapointed.

  • charlie

    good job folks!! BoA is evil.

  • Rachael

    I know this is a shocking proposition, but how about these groups protest at the IRS headquarters or the enablers in Congress that create the laws, not companies that follow it. Bank of America isn’t breaking any law. They’re following the current tax code. What’s the point of protesting a law-abiding company?

    I’m sure this protest made a huge impact on the confused regional employees. Should change a lot.

    • mehoo

      I agree. Except for attracting attention from others, these protests do nothing. It’s not like Bank of America is suddenly going to voluntarily write a check to the government because of a few protests.

    • Truthi

      Why don’t they take their protests to their own town. Alexandria has BOA too you know.

  • ClizzleDizzle

    Is that picture just to bait us? The smug smile, “tax the rich” sign?

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I wouldn’t be surprised. I doubt that girl in the picture is old enough to pay any kind of tax.

    • LOL. Tax the rich. Create jobs. Contradiction of terms.

      • ClizzleDizzle

        I paid over 40K in Federal Income tax this year, that’s more than enough I think.

        • Bluemontsince1961

          $40K in Federal income tax!?!??! OUCH!

          • Carmen

            Not really. People who pay over 40k in taxes usually make enough that they don’t really miss it. At least I don’t. When I paid way less taxes, I made way less money.

          • GetReal

            Carmen, Do you really think that people that pay $40k in taxes don’t miss it? Either you haven’t paid $40k yourself or your eff tax rate is much lower than most but I happen to miss every penny i pay in Fed income taxes.

          • mehoo

            The point was to put 40k in context. Just saying “40K, wow” is pointless without considering the person’s income in the first place.

        • And if you had some of that back you may have invested it into the economy, which would have created jobs.

          • mehoo

            No, more likely in a severe recession he would have put it in safe investment to protect the cash, which would produce few jobs, instead of investing or spending it. In bad times, only the government is equipped to take the “first leap” risks needed to get the economy going again by stimulating consumer spending and employing people.

          • Except that if we all had to pay a little bit less tax maybe we’d not have as much of a recession because there would be more capital to go around, and no need for the government to be involved.

          • Southeast Jerome

            I have to say your use of “maybe” is incorrect.

            President Bush cut taxes drastically to the lowest levels in decades. We then had the worst economic downturn in 70 years.

            If anything, having taxes that low put too much capital into risky, greedy hands which derailed the economy.

          • ClizzleDizzle

            Well see, I really don’t mind paying taxes. I work in the Defense Industry, it would be hypocritical if I did. Lots of good things are being done with my tax money.

            I think however that High Income does not equal being rich. Most super rich people live of trust funds or stocks. By raising taxes you are mostly hurting those that aspire to be rich, the ones that are working for it. Then again, seeing those people protesting on a Monday morning when normal citizens are working, and it makes you angry.

          • mehoo

            Nobody has advocated any increases in taxes on this thread for anyone except Bank of America. But thanks for your input.

          • ClizzleDizzle

            The article mentions both: more taxes for BofA, and more taxes for me.

          • mehoo

            If you’re “the rich” like Bank of America is “the rich,” then I’m not crying any tears for you.

          • Truthi

            Like napalm. good for the country good for America

          • GreaterClarendon

            + 100 my sentiments exactly. super Taxing INCOME of those who make over $250K is taxing the hardest workers who strive to become rich; but taxing DIVIDENDS and CAPITAL GAINS of those earning over $250K at a higher rate would not bother me. I could also live with taxing people who make more than a million a year progressively – but would be against more than a 50% tax rate as unjustified. See, there is common ground.

          • mehoo

            And the reason we all can’t pay a “little less tax” is because Bank of America is busy paying NOTHING.

          • Along with 50% of the individuals in this country who are complaining others are paying not enough.

          • mehoo

            Not everyone is going to pay in a progressive tax system.

            This is astounding. You are more concerned with a few million dollars lost from people who don’t pay because they are at the lowest of the income scale but you can’t lift a finger to care about even more lost from the largest bank in the country.

          • outoftowner

            BoA pays a heck of a lot more than all the companies that are moving their ‘headquarters’ overseas…due to the US’s ridiculously high (on a worldly level) corporate taxes.

          • Mehoo, I’m concerned about them complaining and not paying. And, it is going to be much more than a few million dollars. We are talking about 308 million people in this country…. Let’s assume 40% of them should be paying some tax when they are paying nothing. Let’s even give it a modest number…. $500 a pop. Get out your calculator…. it is way more than a few million dollars.

          • me

            Everyone should have some skin in the game. This notion that the “rich” should be the scapegoat for American debt is ridiculous. Particularly in this area, many high income earners wouldn’t be considered wealthy by any reasonable person. The tax code has become a disaster because every special interest group treats it as their cash cow. This article is just another example of that in progress.

          • mehoo

            “Mehoo, I’m concerned about them complaining and not paying.”

            How the hell do you know the people who are complaining pay no taxes though?

          • mehoo

            Nobody is “scapegoating” the rich. Nobody said they were 100% responsible for our tax burden. Jeez, people, this is about how one large profitable corporation paid ZERO. Why are you going so far out of your way to avoid that simple topic? If you want everyone to pay a little more, have at it, but I’m going to be more outraged when the super-rich pay nothing, especially when I’m paying more than they are.

          • outoftowner

            By ‘zero’ I am assuming to the highest corporat tax rates in the world. Right?

          • mehoo

            No, actually, the sixth highest, but with plenty of deductions and loopholes so that some can pay the absolute lowest in the world, which is zero.


        • SouthArlJD

          It probably is enough. What’s pathetic is that you’re paying more proportionately of your income – FAR more – than the uber rich who have other options which you do not have available to them to defer taxes.

      • mehoo

        Not necessarily.

    • MC 703

      Smug life?

  • Bluemontsince1961

    “how about these groups protest at the IRS headquarters or the enablers in Congress that create the laws”

    +100 It is worse that Congress enacts laws for the IRS that keep Exxon and the rest from ponying up. Profits are fine, companies need them to stay in business. But they have more tax loopholes to weasel out of paying their share than a Swiss cheese.

  • Mike

    How stupid are these protestors really… Completely uninformed people who clearly want a handout from the government. I’m all for everyone paying a fair share of their income as tax (what the “fair” % is what should be up for debate). Higher tax revenue won’t create more jobs — it will destroy them because there will be more capital tied up in the government buracracy and less capital invested to grow the companies who actually create real wealth. Economics 101

    • mehoo

      Um, what “handout” do they want? They didn’t ask for any handout. They want everyone to pay a fair share, like you said. Clearly zero is not Bank of America’s fair share.

      And you should have gone beyond Econ 101 to more advanced level courses and you might have learned something.

      • FrenchyB

        Yeah, I don’t recall Mr. Elzinga teaching that lesson…

        • ClarGirl

          Prof. Elzinga!!! Wow, blast from the past. Thanks, that made my day. 🙂

      • OEF_Vet

        Obviously you didn’t get too far in school…otherwise you would know that the rich already pay a MAJORITY of all of the taxes in this country…these people want fair…then they need to start paying and stop sucking life from the rest of us…

        • SouthArlJD

          Really? And what PROPORTION of their income are they paying in taxes? You’ll find that they pay far less PROPORTIONATELY than the people lower down the rungs of the ladder, that group between 50 and 80 percent of the American population which makes too much money NOT to pay taxes but too little money to be able to take advantage of all the candy available to those making far more. That 50% of Americans who “don’t pay taxes” are making LESS than $34,000 a year on average, some FAR less. About 80% of the population possesses 7% of the nation’s wealth, while the top 1% have about 40%. Start looking at proportions and you see the problem with the tremendous and growing income disparity which has taken over our economy. http://currydemocrats.org/in_perspective/american_pie.html

      • steve

        And 50 percent pay no income tax, how is that their fair share?

    • steve

      And of couse fair share to these marxists means that it’s fair for 50% of americans to pay no income tax.

  • ClizzleDizzle

    High Income + Renting = no deductions 🙂

    • JamesE

      god bless my mortgage deductions

      • The Pikester

        Some here might claim you don’t deserve them. I’m not one of them.

      • Southeast Jerome

        Yes James and the renters of the world hate you and are subsidizing your housing costs.

        Sadly, I am afraid the mortgage interest deduction will be one of the items targeted by both parties to reduce the outstanding debt of the Federal Govt….

  • KalashniKEV

    It would be even funnier if they had some type of mascot- a “fat cat capitalist” or perhaps the “Monopoly Man.”

    • Bluemontsince1961


      • KalashniKEV

        They could burn him in effigy and jump up and down chanting and whooping…

    • Lou

      Or the giant rat. That was popular with protesters in Georgetown a couple years ago.

      • KalashniKEV

        The giant rat, at least in NYC, is related to non-union or scab labor.

        • Lou

          They all look the same to me.

  • mehoo

    This thread shows you what’s completely f’d up in this country today. The biggest bank in the country paid NOTHING in taxes, and instead of outrage over that, people attack low-income people instead.

    • I don’t think they are being unjustly attacked, or attacked at all. If I paid no income tax this year (or very little) and I stood in a line complaining that other entities weren’t paying their share I should be subject to scrutiny. But, I paid a boatload of tax this year and I should have the right to scrutize those who complain “the rich” aren’t paying enough. I’m not “rich” and I pay MORE than enough.

      • mehoo

        So now anyone who complains has to submit their own tax return for your approval?

        • You are the one who has a problem with commentary on protesters. I didn’t ask for their return. I wondered how much tax they paid and it has led to a debate about who is paying what in taxes.

        • ClizzleDizzle

          If you live of other peoples money you have no right to complain.

          • mehoo

            Who is living on other people’s money, CD? How do you know that? Can you tell just from looking at someone in a photo that they’re on welfare?

            I’m holding back on saying it because I don’t make such accusations lightly, but I think I know what you’re thinking.

        • mehoo

          No, you’re the one who said they should be “subject to scrutiny” if they complain.

          What was your tax bill? Please post your tax return for us to make sure you’re paying your fair share and have a right to post here.

          • What is YOUR criteria for paying enough?

          • mehoo

            Well, hmmm, I do think that in general, large, profitable corporations should pay more than zero. That comes first.

          • Agreed. If they are not paying their legal obligation go after them and hit them with a huge penalty and arrest some folks. I’ll stand along with you and applaud it. I just won’t be carrying a sign that reads “Tax the rich. Create more jobs.”

          • mehoo


    • ClizzleDizzle

      1. BoFa did pay taxes
      2. The protesters, on a Monday morning, are also there for me to pay more tax money for their housing, food and “community projects”.

      • mehoo

        2. You don’t know that. I think we all know what you’re implying, and it’s more ugliness. And it proves my point even more.

        • ClizzleDizzle

          I’m implying that “tax the rich” means “tax the rich”.

          • mehoo

            No, you’re implying alot more than that.

          • ClizzleDizzle

            Exhibit A: The protest is on a Monday morning. People that attend cannot be working at the same time. Of course, some might have taken time off, but it does infer that a number have taken time off.

            Exhibit B: the website of this organization is all about affordable housing, creating jobs (a good thing, although their way of doing it is not sustainable) and the homeless. This also leads me to believe that most either live of handouts, or do not pay federal income taxes.

            Of course, this will not be the case for some protesters there, but I bet it is for most.

          • mehoo

            You’ve never heard of people who work shifts that aren’t during the daytime hours? Or that do have vacation time they can take? Or mothers who are home caring for children while their husbands work?

            Oh, and unemployment is over 8.8 percent, so yeah, some people don’t have jobs. You think that’s shameful?

            In any event, you don’t know a damn thing about these protestors. You’re just assuming. And I think we know what Exhibit C is.

          • ClizzleDizzle

            Are you implying something along the lines of race and handouts? I expected better of you Meehoo.

          • ClizzleDizzle

            It’s actually quite silly for you to suggest that of me, if you look at the picture there are 2 white people and one African American.

          • mehoo

            You tell me.

          • To work or not to work

            Funny reading the complaints posted on Monday when most people are working about the protesters protesting on Monday when most people are working. I didn’t realize so many people’s job is to post BS on a blog all day.

            Atleast BOA’s tax attorneys are working hard and getting PAID, and hopefully paying their share of taxes. I know, drop in a bucket.

          • mehoo

            Yeah, I’ve actually experienced people on other boards accusing me of being lazy and unemployed because I posted during the day. These people were posting these comments about me…during the day.

    • KalashniKEV

      What this thread illustrates is how little the lower classes even understand about the system or how it works. Why are they protesting BoA? Even if they tried to overpay their taxes it would just get refunded. The reason why it’s hard for them (poor people) to admit that the government is the problem is because the government is giving them their handout.

    • No, what’s f’ed up is you are too lazy to actually research the matter and instead have a hysterical tantrum and blame it all on the corporate boogeyman.

      BoA paid no federal taxes because they had a net loss. Although they did pay a plethora of other taxes, like payroll, state taxes, property, etc.

  • MyNameHere

    The comments so far haven’t really done a great job of distinguishing federal taxes (issue at hand) from state and local taxes. BOA paid the latter and one could argue that taxes paid to state and local accomplish more for a particular community than federal.

    But anyway….

    Can someone explain to me how exactly the federal government can tax an entity (corporate or individual) which incurred a loss during a given tax year? Even if a flat tax rate was imposed, simple math would dictate that anything times a negative number would result in a negative number.

    I’m done; in the words of the human torch: “flame on.”

    • Institue a minimum tax.

      • MyNameHere

        While the concept behind a minimum tax would benefit a large international corporation such as BOA, Citigroup, or P&G, it would destroy the small business sector of the United States. Many small businesses depend on these tax breaks to get their feet off the ground as the first couple years of operations almost always result in net losses.

        Of course, you could impose different standards for different companies, but isn’t that going against the whole theory of a simple tax code for corporations?

        • MyNameHere

          “While the concept behind a minimum tax would benefit a large international corporation such as BOA, Citigroup, or P&G, it would destroy the small business sector of the United States. ”

          should read

          “While the concept behind a minimum tax would benefit the federal government in drawing tax revenue from large international corporations such as BOA, Citigroup, or P&G, it would destroy the small business sector of the United States.”

          Got too excited and didn’t check over my work.

      • mehoo

        We already have one, sort of: the Alternative Minimum Tax.

        It is both a nightmare for some taxpayers who shouldn’t be paying it but are screwed because it hasn’t been adjusted for inflation in a long time, and a major source of revenue for a broken tax system, making it very hard to adjust for inflation.

        A real minimum tax, like a small flat fee for everyone, would probably cost more to collect than it raised.

    • ClizzleDizzle

      Abolish all taxes. Then, introduce a 95% inheritance tax. It is the only way if we truly want to be a meritocracy where every generation has to work to make it. Also, sentries at the borders to prevent rich people from fleeing.

      • Lou

        And then institute the Death Panels, and you have a nice little profitable enterprise.

        • ClizzleDizzle

          Yeah, the government’s interest in people dying young and the inherent conflict with them also providing senior health care is one the kinks in this plan that still has to be fixed. 🙂

          • Lou

            Yeah, you just have to find the right “dying off” age. Probably somewhere around 55.

          • ClizzleDizzle

            The cutoff would be the end of fertility. So 35 for women, about 80 for men.

          • mehoo

            You realize that some people actually believe this death panel stuff, right?

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Hey, wait a minute! I’m 55! I’m not ready for the “cold, cold ground” yet!

  • outoftowner

    Mehoo – you cant have it both ways. US companies already face the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Demanding ‘higher corporate taxes’ and ‘create jobs’ isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. The fact is, companies are being sent overseas in droves because of the unrealistic corporate tax rates the federal government already instills as compared to foreign.

    At least consider the other side of the coin when considering the foregone tax dollars from companies moving their coprorate headquarters to Switzerland for example, as compared to what you precieve as lost revenues by not taxing enough. I think you will see that in todays world economy, your view is not sustainable

    • Lou

      This is true. The loopholes that people decry are the tool we have to try and maintain a competitive advantage in keeping corporations on shore. The only other way would be a rewrite of much of the tax code, and that is politically impossible.

      • Aaron

        What’s politically impossible and unfortunately financially necessary is eliminating the deduction for mortgage interest. Half of Arlington would hang itself due to losing the biggest government handout in the world.

        • Yeah, let’s put another nail in the coffin of housing and see what the economy does.

          • Southeast Jerome

            The nail is still in the housing coffin. You cant have house prices rise 200% and wages stagnate and think everything will be fine. The math simply does not work. Its going to take a generation for the housing market to normalize across the entire country.

        • outoftowner

          Corporate taxcode 100% needs to be rewritten if the US is going to compete for any form of corporate tax revenues. The hard part is actually doing that, since 90% of the population doesnt understand the basic underlying economics and will do nothing but complain as they see big business getting huge tax breaks. Your typical american taxpayer/voter is much to short-sighted.

        • JamesE

          I would only hang myself after murdering all the people that whined about it and got rid of it.

        • The Pikester

          You have obviously never been a home owner and just feel cheated that you can’t get a tax break. Well, you don’t contribute to the economy as directly as a home owner so why should you get the tax break? The tax break goes to your landlord because he/she owns the property! The owner pays for upkeep and contributes money to the economy in this regard. You don’t, so you don’t deserve the break. If you want the break, go take some risk and make some effort and buy a home. Otherwise, enjoy your risk-free living.

          You probably complain as well about people who own stock only paying 15%. But, they took the risk of a loss while you sat on less than 1% in your saving account. They risked, invested in the economy, and deserve a lower rate. You don’t becaues you squirreled it away.

          Simple concept.

    • mehoo

      Um, dude, YOU can’t have it both ways – you can’t whine about the “highest corporate tax rates in the world” in a story about a corporation that actually paid NOTHING in taxes!

      • outoftowner

        What the hell are you talking about Mehoo? BoA paid $915,000,000 in income tax in 2010. Those numbers are DIRECTLY OFF OF THEIR 2010 ANNUAL STATEMENT.

        Literally almost a billion dollars is not that close to the ‘zero’ you seem to have pulled out of your @ss

        • mehoo

          No, I pulled it out of the story, genius. If it’s inaccurate, complain to ArlNow or the protesters mentioned in the story, not to me. And drop the attitude while you’re at it, because lots of other media reports say they paid no taxes too. To wit:


          A simple, polite notice that BoA actually paid taxes – along with a LINK backing up your claim – would suffice. And then we can tell if you’re reading the statement correctly.

        • mehoo

          Ah, here is the answer, from the Charlotte Observer story:

          “In 2010, Bank of America reported a federal income tax BENEFIT of $953 million. But the bank did have an expense for state, local and foreign income taxes: about $1.9 billion. That means, combined, the bank had a total tax expense of $915 million last year.”

          So the bank paid some foreign, state and local taxes, but NO federal income tax – and actually got back money from the feds.

  • Bluemontsince1961
    • Thank you Bluemont. Like I said, “the poor” are not represented by the ~50% not paying taxes. Let’s get them to pony up some money before they open their mouth about other people not paying enough.

      • mehoo

        So it’s all rich people who pay no taxes? And only rich people complaining about Bank of America? Like the rich people who protested today?

        Got it.

        • You must not have opened the link, mehoo. It clearly shows that the vast majority of those not paying taxes are not rich. In fact, they are not “poor” either. That’s the point.

          • Eponymous Coward

            It also indicates that over a half million people with 6-figure incomes pay no taxes – and about 3% of those individuals make more than a half million. I’m not taking sides here. My point is that if you have an absurdly complicated tax code, you’re going to get an absurdly asymmetric distribution of who pays how much. And poor or middle-income families are not going to be the ones hiring Deloitte to take advantage of the perks squirreled away in that byzantine system.

          • Actually, that is my point. The debate was whether or not “the poor” should be paying taxes. My point is a very large portion of the people not paying taxes are not “poor”. Yes, a small percentage are rich. And, I do agree with you that the tax code needs to be overhauled big time.

          • Eponymous Coward

            I think the next tax reform should have a word limit. Your home assignment, Mr. Congressman, is to rewrite the tax code using 10,000 words or less. I think 10,000 words is pretty reasonable. I’d even throw in another 20K for the IRS to write implementing regs. I’m a generous guy.

            I mean, look, Chris has some pretty kick ass sounding chicken wings down there, and that’s only -what – 100 words? Brevity is elegant.

          • borf

            Good idea. I also think posts on this forum should have a 20 word limit so they won’t be so

          • mehoo

            Okay, good point. I conflated you with other posters, sorry.

        • winner

          I think some people around here need to brush on simple math. B of A employs a bunch of people. Most of these people pay taxes. A bunch of taxes. The compensation expense reduced the income to the bank which lowered the tax bill, because the company employed people who pay taxes. So real simple math: from the company’s public filing – Personnel expense was about 35 billion, let’s assume that 80% was pay. That’s 28 billion. Then assume 25% federal tax bill – that’s 7 billion in taxes generated by bank of America employees.

          OK – NOW let’s say that we want bofa to pay taxes, so let’s reduce enough pay of the employees to have bofa pay at least 7 billion in taxes. Assume 35% corporate tax rate, that mean that b of a needs to reduce compensation expense by 20 billion, or 57%, assuming that all the saving fall directly to the bottom line and are taxed (note, b of a had a 3 billion net income loss, but what’s a couple of billion amongst friends).

          So everyone takes a 57% pay cut at b of a. That makes the new comp expense about 15 billion and the new personal tax at 3.7 billion. For those still reading, than means take home pay by person *went down* by 57%, but that the government now gets an additional 3.7 billion in taxes….that’s fair, I guess to those who work in the government, like to see corporations pay taxes and hate everyone else?

          Of course, BofA could then take the difference in NI retained (20 billion less the government’s 35% cut) of to generate new investments OR return it to shareholders (i.e. the people who actually own the company, funny how they get less than the government, but, whatever). If b of a chose to return the capital to shareholders it would be then subject a wide range of taxes (new medical taxes, non-earned income, people protesting at your door for the audacity to attempt to earn money on the money the government does not take directly from your pocket, etc)…yada yada yada…

          • GreaterClarendon

            Please do not use common sense and reason in your arguments since this is an emotional issues and neither math analysis nor logic should have any part in this discussion.

  • Chris

    Not to be contrarian to tax and justice centric majority but here’s my thought on it all…

    3 pounds chicken wings
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 lemon, juiced
    1/4 cup honey

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
    2. Place chicken in two 9×13 inch baking dishes. Blend garlic and mint leaves and spread mixture under skin of chicken pieces.
    3. In a small saucepan, heat butter, lemon juice and honey over medium low heat; mix well. Brush warmed mixture all over chicken skin.
    4. Bake for one hour, or until golden brown and cooked through (juices run clear). Brush again with honey mixture, and serve.

    • KalashniKEV

      You forgot the Gubbamint Cheese!!!

    • Damn…now I’m hungry.

  • jjbug

    My humor is exhausted by these posts. I have enjoyed your reporting and appreciate the many times you add or correct the original report to add nuances not available in the 1st discovery. However, please change your report! You have engaged only 26 minds in all of Arlington and while they shared 112 responses, that number is not representative of thinking in Arlington. Please keep track of how many different writers of comments are involved. As I assess this issue, I find 12 made single comment; 5 gave 2 comments; 2 gave 3; 1 gave 4; 2 gave 6; 1 gave 7; and in the whole 2 hours and 13 minutes, 1 offered 15 responses; 1 gave 24 spoutings; and 1 more gave an ugly 26. Is that communication or idle minds at work? What does it matter in the community? I think your effort is actually very helpful but the counting of comments needs revision!

    • OX4

      Idle minds at work indeed. Except I suspect they aren’t at work, or if they are, they need to actually get to work.

    • Chris

      So you didn’t like my chicken wings recipe?

  • Brendan

    Wow… Lot’s of ridiculous claims. Overgrown Bush is even trotting out the arguments for Laffer/Trickle down economics to address the issue. Not going to pretend anyone is going to read all this but…

    First – Let’s assign blame where blame is due and stop blaming the 50% of America that doesn’t pay income tax for being ‘poor.’ Pretty sure they’d gladly switch positions w/ anyone in a higher tax bracket.

    Over the last twenty years American economic policy has encouraged a concentration of wealth, and now we’re seeing the fruits of the poor’s labor. During the last ten years production increase 20%…. What did this mean for the average worker? Wages remained flat. From Bob Rubin to Paulson and now Geithner, along with Greenspan and Bernanke, the folks at the top of the credit world focused on expansion and filling the growing gap w/ between wages & production cheap credit.

    For years, there was a correlation between wages and production, the two almost mirrored each other, regardless of technological advances. For better or worse, Since the mid 70s that has been changing and increasingly so. What was almost a perfect 1:1 ratio is now a 20:1 growth ratio. To accompany this, we’ve had a supply sider’s wet dream, cutting taxes on the top earners, while gutting interest rates to the point we’re practically paying corporations to take fed money.

    All this, has led to a dramatic concentration of wealth… It’s not the Joe Teacher, Mary the Nurses Aide, or Larry the Electrician haven’t been working hard and trying to get ahead. There are much larger economic forces at work than putting aside some money. Yes, I know, there are probably hundreds of individual examples of ARLNOW readers who worked hard to get ahead and now make 3x what their parents ever made, but try to remember Arlington and the DC area is an economic anomaly. For the most part, millions of hard working Americans have been left behind by a system increasingly rigged to funnel and concentrate money.

    For the record, I’m no conspiracy theorist, commie, or whatever. I play the system and look forward to one day have my own private island, if you’re nice I may invite you. In the meantime, let’s stop attacking and blaming the economic disparity on the new majority and start looking at ways to find balance and the economic equilibrium that has clearly been broken.

    Finally, I would love to see Bank of America go down but it has been allowed to grow into a monstrosity that is truly too big to fail, and too powerful to control. I supported TARP because it was the right thing to do unless you enjoy 15%+ unemployment… but Obama/Geithner sat by and watched these bastards like BoA cheat and steal their way back to solvency.

    Whether you’re a righty, lefty, moderate, libertarian or generally apathetic, what Bank of America has done, from taking huge bailouts while pushing through illegal foreclosures to evading billions of dollars in taxes, you should be pissed off at them and the system that allowed all this to happen.

    • The Pikester

      Thank you Alan Greenspan. Ridiculous indeed.

    • Skeptical

      Bank of America has been jerking around a friend of mine — a hardworking person who invested in a home mortgage with a person who has been unemployed for longer than you want to think about. He asked for a mortgage modification and was told this was acceptable if he filed certain papers. He filed them and was quoted a new payment amount. Ten months later he contacted BoA to see about complete refinancing and was told the modification wasn’t in force because the papers had not been received. Strangely, BoA’s customer service department was able to locate them immediately! But the underwriting department decided he had to start at the beginning, meanwhile dunning him with late charges for all the time he had been “in arrears” despite the existence of a letter stating his modification had been accepted. They are STILL doing this dance, and he is using his entire tax refund and employee bonus this year to close the gap and pay off the “penalties.” At least he has a job. No Federal office seems empowered to help him resolve this dick-dance, and he can’t pay a lawyer.

      So basically we have an institution that lies and extorts, and they pay zip in taxes. Think what the reaction would have been if this happened in the 1960s or 70s to an honest working person doing his best in a tough situation. in 2011, it’s become business as usual.

      • The Pikester

        A sad story indeed, and it is unfortunate your friend has to go through it. But, his story and them jerking him around has nothing to do with them paying taxes and whether they are not paying legally.

  • ken windheim

    45% of U.S. households pay no federal tax other than social security. A higher tax on the wealthy, maybe, but how about having the freeloaders pay something!

    • The Pikester


    • mehoo


      Starting with Bank of America.

      • Yes, if they were profitable and have used loopholes to pay no tax. If they are operating at a loss, why should they pay tax on a loss? You wouldn’t.

  • 4Arl

    One thing about the figure making the news rounds that half of the people don’t pay income taxes- it is misleading to exclude two taxes that act almost like income tax. SS and Medicare payroll taxes sure look like federal taxes that are charged on most wage and SE income. If you want to make a fair statement about federal tax rates these cannot be ignored just because they are named differently.

    • mehoo

      Yes, isn’t it funny how conservatives complain about high taxes but then don’t count them when they need to find a convoluted way of obscuring the fact that the largest bank in the country paid nothing? It’s ridiculous.

    • And herein lies the hypocrisy about SS. Politicians call it an insurance program when defending its existence yet in the next breath will call it a tax when defending other programs like EITC.

      The sad fact is most people don’t even realize that their employer pays FICA on their behalf. I’d love to see a law passed where ALL taxes and fees paid on behalf of an employee were listed on their paycheck.

      • When I look at my pay stub, they are all listed.

        • Even your employer’s contribution to FICA on your behalf? State unemployment?

  • mehoo

    I thought BoA had a profit in 2010, but maybe they didn’t. I may have mixed that up with another company.

    If that’s true, obviously paying zero in taxes is reasonable.

    (As it is for average households).

    • You are probably thinking of GE. But their money was made overseas and is not taxable until they pull it back in the country.

      • mehoo

        Okay, but that’s a different issue.

  • Arl_Bill

    “Government payouts—including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance—make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn’t taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement.

    Even as the economy has recovered, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to TrimTabs Investment Research using Bureau of Economic Analysis data.”

    I think this protest was loosely related to SEIU owing BoA, what was it $45M, or was it more. And SEIU didn’t want to replay the loan.

    As a self-employed person I certainly pay my share, roughly 36% of AGI to US&VA in income taxes.

  • Westover

    Why protest in one of the most middle class neighborhoods in Arlington? Should have done this in Chevy Chase, McLean, Potomac or Georgetown.

  • KalashniKEV

    I can’t wait for this story to fall off the front page. I’m nowhere near “rich,” but that sign just pisses me off.

  • chris k

    some people pay no income taxes to start with anyway. and if you make them paid more taxes guess what new fees for us to paid just for the banks to not paid the extra taxes. so if these people want to make them paid extra taxes ok. just don’t b*tch if your bank fees get more higher. oh and lets not forget they can also fired some people to make up for loss money due to higher taxes. but who counting the tax numbers

  • See this music video of this action taking place in seven cities:
    Tax the Rich Shuffle:

  • Brenda

    Well lets talk about customer service, I am four days prior to closing and no one wil answer my e-mails. I am ready to just take the cash out of the bank and pay cash for the stupid property.


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