“Feeling the Bern’ of reality yet, Bernie?”
Prior to Wednesday’s strike by nearly 40,000 Verizon employees, Sen. Bernie Sanders announced to a cheering crowd in Buffalo, New York, on Monday that the corporation “in a given year has not paid a nickel in taxes” despite billions in profit.
That didn’t sit well with Verizon’s CEO, who posted a scathing response Wednesday to the Democratic presidential candidate’s “contemptible” and ”uninformed views.”
“[Sanders’] first accusation – that Verizon doesn’t pay its fair share of taxes – is just plain wrong,” Lowell McAdam wrote in a LinkedIn piece. ”As our financial statements clearly show, we’ve paid more than $15.6 billion in taxes over the last two years – that’s a 35% tax rate in 2015, for anyone who’s counting. …”
McAdam added that Sanders “has started to fudge his language – talking of taxes not paid in some unspecified ‘given year’ – but that doesn’t make his contention any less false.”
“Sen. Sanders also claims that Verizon doesn’t use its profits to benefit America. Again, a look at the facts says otherwise,” the CEO continued. “In the last two years, Verizon has invested some $35 billion in infrastructure — virtually all of it in the U.S. — and paid out more than $16 billion in dividends to the millions of average Americans who invest in our stock. In Sanders’s home state of Vermont alone, Verizon has invested more than $16 million in plant and equipment and pays close to $42 million a year to vendors and suppliers, many of them small and medium-sized businesses.”
Sen. Sanders has also involved himself in our on-going negotiations with the labor unions representing some 36,000 communications workers in our wireline business, a bargaining process that has been going on since last June. At a labor convention in Philadelphia last week, Sanders claimed that Verizon is demanding that workers take pay cuts and reduce health benefits or see their jobs shipped overseas.
Again, Sen. Sanders is wrong on the facts. More egregiously, he oversimplifies the complex forces operating in today’s technologically advanced and hyper-competitive economy.