Friday, December 31, 2010

Rethinking the Concept of a Corporate Income Tax

Raising corporate income taxes is one of those things that makes us feel good (we're nailing the rich folks, right? - or at least trying to). But is it good? At least from what I can tell, a lot of tax experts have concluded that the taxes that are placed on businesses are ultimately paid for by ordinary folks - not by the businesses targeted..................................................................................................I'll cite specifically the Minnesota Tax Incidence Study. According to these folks, more than half of the state of Minnesota's corporate income taxes are ultimately paid by consumers, workers, and shareholders. They also say that consumers end up paying a significant portion of the taxes that are exported outside of the state. Contrast this, I ask you, to the actual owners of the corporate capital. Those folks end up only paying for 5% - 5 per-frigging-cent!!..................................................................................................And, no, it isn't just conservatives who think that high corporate income taxes are bad. Liberal economist, Robert Reich - he actually wants to get rid of corporate income taxes all-together. He thinks that, not only would it enhance American competitiveness but it would also get rid of this notion that large corporations have constitutional rights (one of the rationales for the hotly contested Supreme Court decision, "Citizens United v Federal Election Commission"). And he isn't alone. Liberal bloggers from the Star Tribune, Firedoglake, and Salon have also been bouncing around this idea of greatly eliminating or reducing corporate income taxes. Firedoglake and Fox Business agreeing - who'd have ever thunk a that, huh?..............................................................................................P.S. Just a final piece of information here. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, there's a very strong correlation between higher corporate income tax rates and lower wages (not necessarily a causal connection, mind you, but an interesting factoid nonetheless). That I also find to be compelling.

9 comments:

Rusty Shackleford said...

My oh my,Will has a New Years revelation.Any increase in corpoate taxes will reduce growth and would of coures be passed on to the consumer,as would an increse in the idiotic minimum wage.
Liberal think has always been...corporation bad....corporation evil....and lets make the minimum wage 40 dollars an hour and pay teachers $300,000 a year....and tax the rich to pay for it.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

It appears, Russ, that the left may in fact have outsmarted themselves here. In their zeal to stick to the rich guy, they've blinded themselves to the fact that a lot of these shareholders are middle-class folks and retirees. And, not only that, we're taxing 'em twice; the corporate income tax and then on their dividends. Very regressive!

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Don't get too excited Russ. I'm still in favor of the top individual rate going back to 39.6% - with at least half of this revenue going to debt reduction.

Marcus said...

I guess I can't believe what I am hearing...Will you are very good with research so try this: Compare the Statutory tax rate on corporations vs what corporations actually pay, eg, the compliance rate. Essentially what I am talking about is the offshore shelters, etc. Also read something that in 2009, Exxon made records profits but get this, paid 0 in taxes and actually got a return of 150 million from the government...I appreciate business operation and trying to make profits. My beef is that some Corporations do not comply. IF you owe, you owe...its that simple. If you makes you happy then set a flat rate but NO EXCEPTIONS, NO EXEMPTIONS. My concern is if you do this will the offshoring stop? Will consumer prices drop or will CEO types make even larger salaries, bonuses, etc.

Mr. Rusty: Name one teacher who makes 300K...need I remind the minimum wage isn't $40/hour?? If the minimum wage is so ridiculous, try living on it for a while. There have been times in my life I had to and it ain't fun

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

That's one of the issues, Marcus. A lot of the bigger corporations like Google and Microsoft don't pay the tax anyway. They shift their profits overseas (which itself costs time and money) and so why do we go through the whole stupid charade of thinking that we're sticking it to them? It doesn't make sense.......If people on the left want to stick it to the rich, then the way to do it by raising the top INDIVIDUAL rate on people making over a million a day. Don't do it on a tax that will end up hurting consumers, rank and file employees and, and shareholders (many of whom are on fixed incomes). In my opinion, the "professional left" hasn't effectively thought through this one at all (Professor Reich, obviously excluded).

Blaine - Moderator said...

Any finance/econ/tax professor will tell you that the corporate income tax falls mostly on labor. Captial is transportable and will move to States or Countries with lower taxes when all else is equal.
Cheapest and easiest way to create jobs in America today is to eliminate the corporate income tax.
The US Corporate Income Tax could not be hurting the average American worker anymore than it is doing right now. It decreases wages, sends new jobs overseas, raises the prices on all goods and services and is going to bust many of our nation's largest defined benefit pension plans. www.eliminatecorporateincometax.com

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Thanks for the visit, Blaine. In my opinion, this is yet another example of the law of unintended consequences. People hear the term, corporation, and they want to stick it to 'em, not fully understanding that it's the little guy who ends up getting hurt. Politicians really need to more fully think through their actions.

Blaine - Moderator said...

Companies don't pay corporate income taxes. Employees, customers and shareholders are the one's who pay the CIT. And if you want to 'stick it' to the rich shareholders, consider this fact: The average high net worth American has 18% of their portfolio invested in US stocks. This compares to a school teacher in Colorado who has 43% exposure to the same US companies but in a plan which is leverage 2:1 by its 50% funding status. Thus the school teacher has a 5x weight to the stock prices of Exxon, Starbucks and Pfizer. And if those stocks don't outperform, that teacher will not have future pension benefits.

Our Congress should take a field trip to Ottawa who 2 days ago lowered their CIT to 16.5% from 18% and will lower it to 15% on 1/1/12. They are doing so to create jobs and cause economic growth. I wonder where those jobs will be sucked from???
www.eliminatecorporateincometax.com

w-dervish said...

Baloney.