Monday, April 4, 2011

Zero Sum Game

Think Progress interviewed Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) at the little teabagger get-together last week. He was complaining about the outrageous corporate tax rates here in the U.S. and how it’s driving business away and discouraging growth among corporations…who paid no taxes last year.

FANG: There’s been a liberal equivalent of the Tea Party, where folks are organizing and protesting because they don’t think that corporations are paying their fair share when we’ve got this deficit problem. To give you an example, GE, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, a lot of these big, very profitable companies haven’t paid anything in corporate taxes. Do you think those companies are paying their fair share?

DUNCAN: Sure I do. I think what we’ve got is a tax policy that needs a change that allows them to bring earnings they have in subsidiaries off shore back and invest them in this country at a lower tax rate. We are uncompetitive with the rest of the world.

FANG: But they’re already paying nothing.

DUNCAN: Well I’d have to research that. I don’t know that–

FANG: The New York Times had a big story I think earlier this week that GE paid nothing at all.

DUNCAN: I’m not sure of that, I’ll look into that and verify that. But what I’m saying is, we’re uncompetitive with the rest of the world with regard to corporate tax rate. We’ve got Canada that just lowered their corporate tax rate from whatever it was to eighteen point five and it’s going to fifteen percent next year.

His point is, apparently, even if they paid no taxes, the rate is still too high. Never mind that the corporations were able to work their way through whatever loopholes and write-offs that the tax code has worked out for them; they’re still too high.

These companies are basically resorting to extortion: cut our taxes to nothing or we’re going to take our business elsewhere. (Except they already have; how many jobs has GE already shifted to places where they pay 10 cents on the dollar for labor as compared to here?) And despite all their fuzzy and warm commercials about doing what’s right for America in times of trouble (and especially those drippy “eco-friendly” commercials), they have no sense of moral responsibility — including paying their fair share — to this country whatsoever. And why should they? They think paying taxes is for suckers.