Skip to comments.Kill the Corporate Tax to Help Workers
Posted on 01/13/2014 7:39:54 AM PST by SeekAndFind
It was a former top Democratic staffer on the House Budget Committee, not some Kemp-Laffer supply-sider, who first convinced me that one of the most dynamic and worthwhile tax reforms, and one of the least costly (to the federal governments revenues), would be the complete elimination of the corporate income tax. Now comes Laurence Kotlikoff, a well-respected economist, usually a critic of the Lafferites and the tea partiers, to urge again in the New York Times, no less that we jettison the whole corporate income tax.
Kotlikoff is right: The corporate income tax is a drain on our economy and a horribly inefficient way for the government to raise money. It should be repealed as soon as possible. In his January 5 op-ed in the Times, Kotlikoff writes:
I, like many economists, suspect that our corporate income tax is economically self-defeating hurting workers, not capitalists, and collecting precious little revenue to boot. . . . Its been a long time since the typical American worker received a raise in her real pay. In fact, average weekly earnings, exclusive of fringe benefits but adjusted for inflation, are 10 percent lower today than they were in 1966. This is Americas nightmare, not its dream. Turning things around requires getting a lot of things right, starting, Id argue, with corporate tax reform.
In a much longer academic paper on the subject, Kotlikoff explained why it is employees, not business owners, who stand to gain the most from eliminating this tax:
The reason is simple. Workers living in a country are generally immobile, i.e., they rarely seek employment abroad. On the other hand, capital that is invested domestically can be withdrawn and invested in other countries. When this capital ﬂight occurs, the workers and their jobs are left behind, leading to lower labor demand and real wages for those able to retain their positions.
(Actually, this is much like the argument former U.S. senator Rick Santorum made during his presidential race, although he complicated the proposal by suggesting we eliminate the tax only for manufacturers while cutting it in half, to 17.5 percent, for everybody else. Santorum at least recognized that such a proposal could be used to attract blue-collar voters, a constituency Republicans have been losing.)
Kotlikoff, working with colleagues from the nonpartisan Tax Analysis Center, has devised a large-scale computer simulation model of the United States economy as it interacts over time with other nations economies. In this model, when the U.S. corporate income tax is eliminated, real wages of unskilled workers end up 12 percent higher, and those of skilled workers end up 13 percent higher.
Meanwhile, even while explicitly rejecting any extreme supply-side (aka, voodoo economics) assumptions, Kotlikoff, in his academic paper, projects (exactly as I did back in 2006) that expansion of existing tax bases would make his proposal self-financing to a significant extent making up for roughly one-third the loss in revenue from the corporate taxs elimination.
Kotlikoff proposes other tax hikes to make his proposal fully revenue neutral, but conservatives need not accept that entire straitjacket (apart, perhaps, from tinkering with some personal deductions and working out some kinks with S corporations and limited partnerships that arise when the regular corporate tax goes away). Because the influx of repatriated earnings alone will produce (in Kotlikoffs words) rapid and dramatic increases in American investment, output and real wages, conservatives who believe in what Kemp called the animal spirits of the free market need not sweat the projections to every last dollar. Combined with a few smaller revenue raisers, we can sell this reform to the working voters it will help with every confidence that it wont much exacerbate the gaping long-term budget hole against which Kotlikoff, as much as anyone else, has long warned us.
Moreover, as Megan McArdle has noted, eliminating this tax would also eliminate all the time, effort, and money that companies spend on tax avoidance. This also would level the playing field some for smaller businesses that cant afford the lawyers and pricey accountants to devise tax-avoidance strategies that give large corporations a huge competitive advantage.
Finally, McArdle and I both have argued that getting rid of the corporate income tax would have the happy effect of reforming how lobbyists function, because probably half of D.C. lobbying involves not appropriations or regulatory matters but the tax code. And the tax codes complexity makes that sort of lobbying more susceptible than others to legal and ethical shenanigans, because the ways to game the system on tax loopholes, without being caught, are more numerous.
Lets give Kotlikoff the last word. By phone on January 10, he said: We need a tax system designed by economists, not politicians, so it will be simpler, fairer, more efficient, and will ensure our childrens future.
Quin Hillyer is a contributing editor for National Review.
I like the corporate tax (better than the income tax, at least) because the dumb libtards think the evil rich corporations pay it.
They dont realize that it is passed along as ‘cost of goods sold” right to the consumer- which is everyone even down to the honey boo boo crowd.
Corporations are legal persons. So that means they get the same rights and liabilities under the law as actual people do.
Now if you want to end the personal income tax I am in full support.
How that was decided is a demonstration of just how far this country had fallen by the end of the Civil War.
There’s a difference between most people and the big corporations. They can afford lobbyists and buy their loopholes. Same with the rich affording tax attorneys that can exploit portions of the tax code. By abolishing corporate taxes, a lot of money would start flowing into this country as companies relocated corporate headquarters. Much of that would go into the people’s pockets instead of the government.
Only bureaucrats and parasites want more government.
National Review has become a big joke
RE: National Review has become a big joke
So, what do you propose for the corporate tax if this National Review article is a joke?
Surely you’re not for it to be kept the way it is... we have the HIGHEST corporate tax in the world at 35% ( Japan used to exceed ours but they’re planning to lower it ).
Canada’s corporate tax is less than half of ours, a median of 14% of domestic companies and just 21% for multinationals.
The Swiss rate is 21%, with median effective tax rates for domestics at 17% and 19% for Multinationals.
For a welfare state like Sweden, corporate income taxes in are lower than in the US at 28%. The effective tax rate for domestic companies is just 10%; 18% for multinationals (half of the USA).
China’s effective corporate tax for multinationals is 22%.
For Germany, the median effective tax rate is 16% for the locals and 24% for the Multinationals.
Abolishing corporate taxes would not make corporations come back. It might help, but there are a lot of other regulations that make it much safer to have the HQ somewhere else.
I don’t disagree with abolishing the corporate tax, but the NRO thinks this is the thing to run on? Seriously? I think they need to rub their tire necklaces and pray to St Mandela on that one.
If that is the end-all of their ideas, they are lost in space.
Where’s the “bring back American Jobs” guy when you need him? Eliminating the corporate tax would be the best economic thing we could do to get this country working again.
RE: Wheres the bring back American Jobs guy when you need him?
Don’t worry, he’ll be back.
His best solution is to increase tariffs on countries like China.
RE: Abolishing corporate taxes would not make corporations come back. It might help, but there are a lot of other regulations that make it much safer to have the HQ somewhere else.
Abolishing corporate taxes is NOT THE ONLY thing. We need REASONABLE REGULATIONS, a curb on labor unions ( especially unsustainable pensions ), and of course — THE REPEAL OF OBAMACARE.
Yeah, that's why he's not on this thread. lol
As one told me, “What happens when they decide to sell my information to my competitor?”
You have to start someplace to roll back government. That’s one that would get a lot of support from business. After all, the business of America is business according to Coolidge.
And this is not going to win elections right now. Unless it is spun as “We are reducing taxes on all persons” and having the language include corporations.
My fear is that we as a nation are so socialist that soon you will see out and out nationalization of industries. Not just the crony capitalism we see now in some.
I agree about the impact on winning elections. It would be seen as a sell out rather than an enormous boost to the economy and the huge advantage it would provide to businesses in global trade. Both would generate jobs and possibly slow inflation.
This is an issue that needs to be done early after the election of the next non-Democrat president.
Author should get real. This wasn't caused by Corporate tax and it won't be solved by no corporate tax. Some corporations pay no income tax but they still laid off Americans and hired in other lands.
When people are supported by business, they vote Republican. When they aren't, they vote for government support and for Democrats.
An enormous educational effort will be needed first, for voters AND politicians, and it must be spread across at least 4 years.
If the GOP just suddenly begins to campaign on this idea, it will almost certainly have a destructive political impact, or, at best, no impact at all.
Reminds me of our former “Conservative” president GWBush.
After winning the 2004 election, he impulsively wandered around the country for 3 weeks proposing that Social Security be partially privatized.
Sure - but there was no planning, no preparation, no political strategy, and no follow through.
Perhaps he just did that to mollify Conservatives?
A few months later he was trying to shove the McCain-Bush Amnesty down our throats, followed by the Harriet Miers nomination, a mediocre center-left lawyer he wanted on the Supreme Court.
I'm wondering if this corporate tax idea is just something Boehner and McConnell dreamed up to pacify economic Conservatives before our leadership tries to shove Amnesty and ObamaCare down our throats?