Sign up for our newsletters    

Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home page.

Tax Evaders! The Game!

April 12, 2013

 Tax Evaders  is one of the more amusing lefty efforts on the national budget to come across my email in a long while.

Based on the old Space Invaders game, you blast away corporations that make billions in profits, hold billions of dollars off shore, and yet pay little or no income taxes.

The game is the brainchild of [UPDATE:  Molleindustria and Gan Golan with  8bit pixel artwork by Jamogames and classic chiptunes sound by Ashton Morris] a consortium of the usual suspects with research assistance by—PIRG, Americans for Tax Fairness,  etc.—and the added fun of provocateurs like the Yes Men and The Other 98%. The game is timed to President Obama’s budget proposal and the coming negotiations with congressional Republicans. That Obama has already conceded to cuts in Social Security (albeit sly, stealthy, and targeted ones) has enraged some of his base.

Republicans, of course, remain enraged that anyone gets “free stuff.” (Except for corporations, of course). From the press release announcing the game:

“Why are we even discussing  cuts to social security and other public services before going after the Tax Evaders who are stealing hundreds of billions from our economy?” says Gan Golan, coordinator of the national project. “We don’t need to close schools and hospitals. We need to close tax loopholes for corporations and the very rich.”

The game people say “studies released by Americans for Tax Fairness and US PIRG have shown that wealthy corporations have rigged the game in order to pay less than their fair share of taxes,” which is true enough. There is also the great work done this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists looking at offshore tax havens where the super-rich, hedge fund types and, yep, mega corporations stash their cash to avoid U.S. taxes. Based on a cache of leaked documents, this Washington Post version of the story  is some of the best work I’ve seen on this growing phenomenon.

Back at the game, you can look at the individual corporate “monsters,” see their profits, taxes, amounts stashed off shore, and maybe recent layoffs, bailouts by U.S. taxpayers, etc. Fun!

If you play a round or two you get a message asking if you want to “blast them for real” with a “Twitter Bomb” such as:

GE has more money offshore than any other U.S. corp: $108 billion. Hey @GeneralElectric, pay your taxes! #TaxEvaders

Even more fun, I think, would be to join up with the Overpass Light Brigade, Occupy Wall Street, and other dirty hippies and play the game on bank walls and in other public settings.