Maddow Frustrated by Lower Goldman Sachs Tax Rate, Despite Losses

In an attempt to pit “us” against “them [Wall Street]” Rachel Maddow mocked and criticized the rate at which Goldman Sachs was taxed this year.


The MSNBC host of “The Rachel Maddow” show lamented that the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which reported a $2.12 billion dollar loss for the fourth quarter ending Nov. 28, paid only 1 percent in taxes for the entire year.


“Five pages into Goldman’s earnings report this week, Bloomberg News noticed Goldman’s very subtle announcement that the firm’s effective tax rate this year was 1 percent,” Maddow said. “One percent – they paid 1 percent in taxes. Even though they were down this last quarter, they made $2.3 billion in profit this year.”


As Maddow pointed out, the drop in the rate comes at the same time the company was asking for a portion of the controversial TARP bailout funds by the Treasury Department, passed by Congress earlier this year. With Maddow’s logic, Goldman Sachs should have paid more in taxes so the government could loan its own money back instead of ordinary taxpayers’.


Maddow also accused Goldman Sachs of moving money offshore to avoid higher taxes. She read a passage from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) earnings report that noted the change in the rate – from 34.1 percent in 2007 to 1 percent in 2008, which cited the reason as “the decreases in the effective income tax rate were primarily due to … changes in geographic earnings mix.”


But Maddow left out a few words in her citation. The actual report read, “The decreases in the effective income tax rate were primarily due to an increase in permanent benefits as a percentage of lower earnings and changes in geographic earnings mix.”


“Hmm. You used to pay 34 percent in taxes now you pay 1 percent in taxes because of changes in your geographic earnings mix meaning you moved all your money offshore to places with no taxes?”


Maddow then played the class warfare card – asking her viewers to compare how much Goldman Sachs paid in taxes to what they pay in taxes.


“Keep this in mind the next time you look at your paycheck and you look at all the taxes you’re paying – Goldman Sachs pays 1 percent taxes now and they’re the ones getting bailed out with the money that you pay in taxes. Do you pay more than 1 percent?”

According to the Bloomberg News story by Christine Harper cited by Maddow, it was reported Goldman paid $14 million in taxes for 2008. Perhaps she could have asked her viewers how many paid more than $14 million in taxes also.