While General Electric is one of the most skilled at reducing its tax burden, many other companies have become better at this as well. Although the top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, companies have been increasingly using a maze of shelters, tax credits and subsidies to pay far less.
They've managed to use the government's own stupid laws to protect themselves. I don't curse them for doing that. I wish everyone could.
And it should make you question the wisdom of laws that make it more profitable for companies to hire people to do this sort of pointless paper-shuffling than to simply focus on creating and selling products and services.
If this ain't a big, red flag that corporate taxes are too high, I don't know what is.
UPDATE 3-26-11 - Joan of Argghh! comments (quite correctly):
Businesses have NEVER paid taxes. Period.
Their customer does that for them.