The GAO did some math this week, Robert Borosage writes:
Remember the old Steve Martin routine on how to make a million dollars and not pay taxes: "First, make a million dollars... Second, don't pay taxes." Turns out Martin's joke is standard operating procedure for corporations in the United States -- only, in comparison, Martin was a piker.I always loved that joke but this week the joke is on all those WMC sad sacks and their legal shills who have made a career complaining that Wisconsin is a Tax Hell. Maybe they complain because Wisconsin is the only place corporations have to pay taxes. Hm.
Here's some more:
Why is this important? Well, the Bush administration, led by Treasury Secretary Paulson and conservatives led by John McCain are mounting a major campaign to cut the corporate tax rate even more, arguing that we are crippled competitively by having a US rate higher than any industrial nation other than Japan. "America has the second highest business [tax]rate in the entire world," says John McCain. "Is it any wonder that jobs are moving overseas? We're taxing them out of the country." But the GAO study confirms what we already knew: whatever the nominal tax rate, US corporations pay an effective rate among the lowest in the industrial world.Well, it's no joke to me. I suppose if I could avoid paying my share of running the country I'd be pretty happy... a guilty conscience is easy to live with when you have servants and a place in Tahoe.
Yet the core of McCain economic agenda consists of breath-taking corporate tax breaks. He calls for cutting the top corporate rate from 35% to 25% and allowing corporations to write off investments in the first year. Combined, the Tax Policy Center wonks cost these at over $1.3 trillion over 10 years. Len Burman of Tax Policy Center estimates that in total, McCain would cut corporate revenues by about 50% from current levels. They'll be making hundreds of millions of dollars and not paying taxes. This is no joke.
Oh, here's some more.
Representation Without Taxation: Study Says Most Corporations Avoid US Income Tax: "WASHINGTON — Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.
The study by the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period."
Wait, do I hear violins playing somewhere?