Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yet Another "Wedge" Eliminated

As a lot of you may already know, I'm in strong favor of eliminating the corporate income tax. I find this concept to be a clumsy, almost silly one that a) doesn't raise all that much in terms of revenue, b) induces businesses to engage in stupid, unproductive behavior, and c) tends to hurt the little fellow a lot more than it does the rich fellow. I would much rather raise the individual rates on the wealthy and also eliminate the special consideration for capital gains. These, to me, seem to be far more productive and equitable ways to raise revenue (taxing a building - I mean, come on)................................................................................................And if you're thinking that this is strictly a conservative position, think again. Robert Reich, an uber-liberal by almost anybody's standards and a former Commerce secretary to President Clinton, has also come out for an elimination of this tax. I refer you specifically to his book, "Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy and Everyday Life". He lays it all out pretty solidly for you there...................................................................................................P.S. Just for the record, Mr. Reich's reasons for eliminating the corporate income tax are very similar to mine. He specifically cites it as an inefficient and inequitable tax that essentially hurts a lot of innocent people. He also seems to think that by eliminating the corporate income tax we could also go a long way toward eliminating constitutional rights for corporations as well (no more free speech, unlimited campaign contributions, etc.) - another very good benefit, I would say.

52 comments:

John Myste said...

Getting rid of corporate taxes would allow people to incorporate themselves, and never pay themselves their earnings, thus pay no income taxes for decades at a time. They would be delaying taxation much as one does in an IRA.

If you could solve that problem, then corporate income taxes are asinine, and I would favor killing them, so long as we made sure that any loss in revenue was recouped by raising top marginal rates AND we taxed long term capital gains as regular income.

Then I am all for it.

However, if we don't solve that little problem, then getting rid of corporate tax become yet another loop hole for the wealthy to avoid paying taxes, and I do not approve.

Jerry Critter said...

How about doing just the opposite. Let's get rid of the individual income tax and tax only businesses? It sure would make is easier for all the people.

Dudley the Fat Ass Liberal Beagle said...

If only things were so easy. The whole deal behind the fair tax and this thing is to put more of the tax burden on the poor and middle class.

dmarks said...

"Robert Reich, an uber-liberal by almost anybody's standards and a former Commerce secretary to President Clinton"

Of course. An uber-liberal appointed as part of a liberal's presidential administration.

w-dervish said...

Will: ...eliminating the corporate income tax.

Dumb.

Dudley TFALB (AKA Truth101) The whole deal behind the fair tax and this thing is to put more of the tax burden on the poor and middle class.

Yes!

dmarks: An uber-liberal appointed as part of a liberal's presidential administration.

No. Dumb.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

John, while I concede that the government is exceedingly idiotic, I think that we can ultimately train them to differentiate between a person and a corporate entity. At least we better be able to.............Jerry, being that the corporate income tax is a somewhat regressive one (according to Mr. Reich), I'd respectfully have to give a thumbs down to your suggestion.............Truth, "this thing" is a lot more fair than the "fair tax". The fair tax is regressive. "This thing" (eliminating the corporate income tax and instead raising the top rates on individuals and doing away with the special consideration for cap. gains) is PROgressive.............wd, open-minded as always, I see............dmarks, yeah, I would have to say that Mr. Reich (who I actually DO have respect for, even though I don't always concur with him) was probably THE most liberal member of the Clinton regime - by far.

w-dervish said...

Open Minded = People who agree with Will Hart and nobody else

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

That's a ridiculous assertion, wd. There are many positions that I don't have which I DO respect. I'm a pro-choice voter who respects the pro-life position, for example. Other examples; a) I was in favor of extending unemployment benefits but I respected those who thought that to do so would be counterproductive. b) I was initially against Mr. Obama's policy of drone attacks in northern Pakistan but, when I saw how many terrorists that that policy was killing, I reluctantly changed my mind (when circumstances change, wd, sometimes we have to be nimble and change along with them). c) I respect honest thinkers and scientists on both sides of the global-warming issue (I personally agree with Bjorn Lomborg's take on the matter).............And I respect a lot of PEOPLE who are more liberal than me; Jonathan Alter, Robert Reich, Lawrence O'Donnell, Joe Conason - just to name a few. Name me ONE conservative (or even a moderate) person or one conservative idea that you respect. Can't wait to hear your comeback on this one.

Jerry Critter said...

Ok, let's make the corporate tax not regressive. You don't like a flax tax, so let's have some sort of rate progression based on income, some progression that you think is fair. I will go with that. The more income the business has, the more tax they pay.

So, we've taken care of your objection.

w-dervish said...

Ron Paul = right about the wars, the war on drugs and the Fed.

Open Minded, revised = Will Hart, when he agrees with you or even when he disagrees with you (but respects your position).

Close Minded = Anyone with whom Will Hart disagrees (so long as he does not also "respect" your position).

dmarks said...

WD: I dlslike many of Reich's views, and many of his actions as part of Bill Clinton's liberal Presidential administration, but I would not insult him as "dumb". Yet, you did.

"Mr. Reich ... probably THE most liberal member of the Clinton regime - by far."

Yes, but one of many members of a Cabinet and administration that anyone informed about it agrees was liberal.

dmarks said...

Will: I also remember Reich as being rather anti-worker. There was a Bush I administration order that union workplaces have notices up informing workers of rights to refuse to pay political money to unions. Legal, existing rights. Reich had this order rescinded.

In addition, he opposed efforts to make unions more accountable to workers:

"President Clinton rescinded the Bush Executive Order. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in 1993 killed the Department of Labor rule-making project, initiated by President Bush. The rules would have required labor unions to report LM-2/LM-3 financial disclosure information on a functional basis (i.e., collective bargaining, politics, lobbying, etc.) instead of on the existing nondescript basis". (from this site.

It was all pure corruption. Reich's political party happened to gain from the money that was stolen in such a fashion, and he opposed any sunshine on the matter. It's hard to admire a man as corrupt as this, isn't it Will? Does this change your opinion of him? I know you are strongly in favor of workers' rights here.

w-dervish said...

dmarks, I said "dumb" in response to you calling Bill Clinton a Liberal. But I'm sure you knew that. Robert Reich is smart (as well as pro-worker, pro-worker rights and completely non-corrupt). I admire Robert Reich very much.

Although I'd probably disagree if, as Will Claims, RR advocates for the elimination of the corporate income tax in his book "Supercapitalism".

I haven't read it. I did, however, invite Will to mail me a copy (at his expense)... that was quite some time ago. He never contacted me and asked for my mailing address. The offer stands.

I'm willing to read and consider the book.

w-dervish said...

Will & dmarks = strongly supportative of corporate rights.

dmarks said...

Actually, I oppose giving any corporation the right of personhood. So much for this claim of yours.

w-dervish said...

dmarks: I oppose giving any corporation the right of personhood.

So you've changed your mind regarding the Citizens United decision? That's good, although I don't know how you expected me to know that.

I suggest visiting the Move to Amend website and signing their petition.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

No, Jerry, you really haven't. Corporate taxation by its very nature is regressive. You want a progressive form of taxing the citizenry, a) get rid of the corporate income tax, b) raise the top individual tax rate (which I'm sure that you won't object to), and c) get rid of the special consideration for special gains (no more Warren Buffetts paying a scat 15% on their income). I mean, come on, the fact that Robert Reich wants to nix this ridiculous tax - even THAT doesn't sway you?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

wd, If you're implying that there are some views that I don't respect (nice little attempt to move the goal posts, btw), OF COURSE THERE ARE. I don't respect the view that we should be teaching intelligent design in the classroom, for example. And, no, I don't respect, either, positions that advocate a confiscatory tax policy/an unending swelling in the size of the Federal government. A lot of the positions that you advocate, basically.

Jerry Critter said...

Why is corporate taxation regressive by nature?

The most progressive tax and equal individual taxation system in the world would be no taxes on individuals, whether they make one dollar of one billion dollars per year.

Seriously. Why isn't taxing businesses instead of individuals a bad thing?

dmarks said...

WD said: "So you've changed your mind regarding the Citizens United decision? That's good"

Absolutely not. I have been consistent about it since the day of the decision: I oppose the part of the decision granting corporations personhood. I support the part of the decision that bans censorship.

"...although I don't know how you expected me to know that."

Well, if you had remembered just about every comment I have made about it to you, you would have known. That's hardly unreasonable to expect.

I don't agree with "Move to Amend", and won't sign it. For one thing, it is pro-censorship and that has nothing to do with corporate personhood part of Citizens United.

In particular: "Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights."

Actually, money is speech when people go after money as a way to engage in 'back door' censorship. I remember proponents of McCain Feingold telling us how it was necessary to curtail the money in order to get rid of certain unwanted political advertising.

If money isn't speech when it is connected to free speech, then would it be OK to pass a law to ban newspapers from buying ink? Or paying paperboys? It's just money, and money is not speech, right?

If they got rid of the silly pro-censorship language and just condemned the corporate personhood part, I'd gladly sign for their amendment.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I can only repeat what I said before, Jerry. a) It doesn't raise all that much money. b) It encourages and induces nonproductive behavior on the part of these entities. c) It tends to hurt the little guy far more. And d) it provides the rationale for crummy Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United.............I'll just conceded at this point that I haven't convinced you.

w-dervish said...

Jerry: Why is corporate taxation regressive by nature?

It isn't. Will's suggestion is that Corporations pass the cost of taxes paid along to the consumer, but he's WRONG.

Supply and demand sets prices.

Also, most of those who advocate the elimination (or lowering) of the corporate income tax do NOT also advocate raising any other taxes (like Will who says he's in favor of going back to Clinton-era tax rates and taxing capitol gains at the same rate).

Most likely if any corporate tax eliminating legislation ever comes down the pike that looks like it has a good chance of passing (if, or when, the Republicans regain control of Congress and the WH) those other components (raising other taxes) will NOT be included.

This is all about shifting more of the tax burden onto the backs of the middle class. And Will supports it by deluding himself with fairy tales about raising other taxes. And this nonsense about corporate taxes being "regressive".

We need to pass legislation eliminating corporate tax loopholes. Corporations need to pay more, not less.

w-dervish said...

dmarks: If they got rid of the silly pro-censorship language...

I fully, completely and whole-heartedly support the pro-censorship language. Because corporations aren't people and should have zero first amendment rights.

The first amendment applies to individuals only. It does not grant group rights... except to the press, because the press is SPECIFICALLY mentioned in the first amendment.

Jerry Critter said...

Will,
You are right. You haven't convinced me at all.

a) It can raise as much money as you want. You realize, of course, that virtually all the taxes that individuals pay come for businesses. After all, it is businesses that pay us salaries that we then pay a portion back to the government. Taxing businesses instead of individuals simply removes one of the steps in the money movement. Granted, people may end up earning less, but their net income should remain at least the same.

b) That is simply a matter of writing the proper laws.

c) Again, a matter of setting the tax rates such that the little business is not unfairly treated.

d) We already have Citizens United. Solving that problem is a separate issue.

We already tax businesses and individuals. If you are going to stop taxing one of these groups, why not individuals instead of businesses? The majority of people will benefit.

Jerry Critter said...

"We need to pass legislation eliminating corporate tax loopholes. Corporations need to pay more, not less."

I agree, w-d. I propose that businesses pay ALL, not just MORE.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I explained this to you many times. If Starbuck's goes up a dime on their coffee, their customers aren't going to run to Dunkin Donuts. If a Mac computer goes up 10 bucks, Apple fanatics aren't going to switch to IBM. And it isn't just the customers who pay the extra cost, it's the workers and the shareholders (not ALL of whom are rich). And it isn't just me who says this, it's Robert Reich. He spells it out very well in the book that I referenced. My God, I give up. Tax corporations at 98%. Go ahead. Is that INSIDE the box enough for you orthodox fellows?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

And HEAVILY taxing businesses will simply cause them to relocate. The rest of the world is lowering their corporate tax rates and you guys want to raise ours. Good stuff!

Jerry Critter said...

Businesses are already paying all the taxes. They just call it salaries and we give the money back to the government instead of them.

Let them do it.

w-dervish said...

Will: And HEAVILY taxing businesses will simply cause them to relocate.

Not if they want to sell in the US. Because if they relocate outside the US then we apply a tariff when they import their goods. If we do it right they won't relocate. Because they will realize no savings by doing so.

John Myste said...

Will,

Don't include me in that tax only corporations box.

I think taxes should be obvious and transparent. Therefore, the corporate tax should be eliminated if we could solve the problem of sheltering funds from taxation through corporations.

I do think top marginal rates should then be collected and long term capital gains should be treated as standard income.

I think I stated this before, but I want to make sure that it is clear, since I know all.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

In Jerry's system, guys like Alex Rodriguez and Charlie Sheen would pay zero taxes. How in the hell is that fair and equitable?............John, you and I agree 100%; eliminate the corporate tax, raise the top individual rates, and tax capital gains at the same rate as regular income (no more Warren Buffett paying 15%).

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

And, Jerry, yes, we're living with Citizens United now. But it might get challenged in the future and if Corporations don't pay taxes then, the decision would most certainly be reversed.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

And, wd, there are emerging markets all over the world now. We're not even remotely the only game in town anymore. Face it, they'll sell their products elsewhere.......We need to be competitive. And your policies of high tariffs and high taxes aren't the answer - at least not the long term answer.

Jerry Critter said...

The Citizens United case has nothing to do with paying taxes. You are just guessing it would be overturned.

Yes, Alex Rodriguez and Charlie Sheen would pay no taxes, just like you and me. The company that pays them would pay the taxes just like the companies that pay you and me.

w-dervish said...

Will: Face it, they'll sell their products elsewhere.

Let them. If they abandoned the US market others would step in to fill void. Perhaps the government could offer tax incentives to employee owned corporations and we could bring good paying manufacturing jobs back to the US.

Will obviously supports the race to the bottom conservatives desire and opposes bringing back the prosperity we enjoyed from the 50s through the 70s... before we started shipping our jobs overseas.

Will, the system you support will continue to decimate the middle class and increase poverty, which is why I vociferously oppose it.

Will: ...if Corporations don't pay taxes then, the decision would most certainly be reversed.

This is utter and complete baloney. Eliminating the corporate income tax is the BEST way to ensure the Citizens United decision is expanded! Because corporations will be awash is so much cash that they will be able to completely take over government.

Will: I explained this to you many times.

And I explained to you many times why you are wrong. Corporations already charge the maximum they are able to for their products. You think they would raise their prices if their taxes went up...

but if they could get away with raising their prices if their taxes went up (and people would accept it) WHY wouldn't they raise their prices RIGHT NOW and take the increased profit?

Answer: if supply and demand dictates that prices can be raised, they will be. Supply and demand sets prices, not taxes.

Supply and demand also determines the wages of workers. If taxes are increased they will be paid by the shareholders in the form of reduced dividends and the highly overpaid upper management in the form of reduced compensation/bonuses/stock options.

Also, why are your ideas "outside the box" while mine are in it? You're the one who wants to give the corporations exactly what they desire... I say it's the other way around, I'm the unorthodox thinker and you're the one adhering to a strict corporate orthodoxy.

#37927 said...

Like he does with his anti-union rants, WD.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm sorry, Jerry, but any system of taxation that treats me and Alex Rodriguez exactly the same is ludicrous. And, yes, I'm guessing about future Supreme Court rulings, the same way that Robert Reich is guessing when he makes the same argument in his book. You want more idiotic Supreme Court decisions in this regard - then, yeah, keep treating big corporations as if they were human beings.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

wd, business pass costs on to the consumer ALL THE TIME. In what sort of alternative universe do you live in which this doesn't happen? They do it and we pay it, partly because we're stupid and partly because we need the product. And it's mot like they raise the prices a gazillion dollars. It's a few pennies here and there and it gets figured into the cost. Robert Reich is wrong? I want to see you write that.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

And, no, maintaining a high corporate income tax when literally EVERY OTHER COUNTRY in the world is lowering theirs isn't unorthodox. It's stupid. It's a stupid and dogmatic embracing of an antiquated notion that even Robert Reich and bloggers at Firedog Lake have discarded. My God, wd.

Voltron said...

I passed a large group of rich guys on my way to work this morning...

You know the type, huge house, four wheelers, jet skis, boats, several cars and large screen televisions.

They were on strike against their employer ADM.

Can you imagine that with unemployment where it is?

Trying to be supportive, I yelled "4 more years for Obama!"

They flipped me off.
I don't understand...

w-dervish said...

Robert Reich is wrong? I want to see you write that.

Will Hart is wrong. I can't say Robert Reich is wrong because I have no idea what Robert Reich says in his book "Supercapitalism".

I haven't read it. And, after reading that comment of yours over at Truth/Dudley's blog (the one where you said Paul Krugman said a housing bubble was just the ticket)... I know I can't trust you to interperet what someone else wrote.

The last time this came up I went looking for an online article where Mr. Reich discussed what he wrote in Supercapitalism, but I couldn't find a single one.

Let's just say, not having read the book or knowing what his argument is... I respectfully disagree.

Also, why do you think it is such a big deal for me to say he is wrong? You said you would vociferously oppose his suggestion that the top tax rate should be 70 percent, yet you continually cite "Supercapitalism" when saying you agree that zero taxes on corporations would be super cool.

So, you can agree with RR on one point while disagreeing with him on another... but I can't?

w-dervish said...

Robert Reich is wrong? I want to see you write that.

Will Hart is wrong. I can't say Robert Reich is wrong because I have no idea what Robert Reich says in his book "Supercapitalism".

I haven't read it. And, after reading that comment of yours over at Truth/Dudley's blog (the one where you said Paul Krugman said a housing bubble was just the ticket)... I know I can't trust you to interperet what someone else wrote.

The last time this came up I went looking for an online article where Mr. Reich discussed what he wrote in Supercapitalism, but I couldn't find a single one.

Let's just say, not having read the book or knowing what his argument is... I respectfully disagree.

Also, why do you think it is such a big deal for me to say he is wrong? You said you would vociferously oppose his suggestion that the top tax rate should be 70 percent, yet you continually cite "Supercapitalism" when saying you agree that zero taxes on corporations would be super cool.

So, you can agree with RR on one point while disagreeing with him on another... but I can't?

Jerry Critter said...

But Will, you are proposing a system that treats the little mom and pop business and Exxon the same. Is that any more ludicrous than treating you and Alex Rodriguez the same?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

The difference, I don't worship Robert Reich. And that Krugman quote was a hell of a lot more accurate (the left out part didn't change what the idiot, Krugman, was saying one iota - the dude was clearly advocating what the quoted guy was saying) than the splice and dice hit job that Alan Grayson did......or that other little slice and dice hit job that Ed Schultz did recently.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

It's not even remotely as ludicrous, Jerry. The big wigs who actually make the money off of these corporations will pay hugely more in taxes under my proposal than the little old mom and pop will. And I just don't believe in taxing money/profits that haven't been distributed. Wait til it goes to the individual and THEN tax it. We still get to nail the big boys and isn't that the whole damned purpose of "progressivism?

Rusty Shackelford said...

F#&K all that shit......flat tax,flat tax,flat tax.

John Myste said...

Barbaric, barbaric, barbaric.

Jerry Critter said...

Under your proposal, the Mom and Pop business will pay the same amount as the huge corporation (Exxon) and that amount is ZERO.

But Will, why wait until it goes to the individual? The businesses are already paying your and my taxes. They just give it to us first in the form of salary. Let's simply the process. Let's cut out that step. Let's truly reform the tax process. Rather than transferring it from the business to the employee first, and then transferring it to the government, cut us out of the loop, and transfer it directly to the government.

Everyone benefits. Wouldn't you love not to have to file/pay taxes every year, or estimate/pay taxes every quarter?

w-dervish said...

Will: ...I'm in strong favor of eliminating the corporate income tax [because it] tends to hurt the little fellow a lot more than it does the rich fellow.

Will, the CBO disagrees, concluding "that about 60 percent of the corporate tax ultimately falls on the owners of capital... [and that] the corporate tax is still considered a progressive tax — one disproportionately paid by richer Americans".

Also, as pointed out in a 8/12/2011 Washington Post article, "there's also the tax-shelter question to consider. ...when income tax rates were much higher than the corporate tax rate — in 1951, for instance, the top marginal rate was 91 percent while the corporate rate was 50 percent — many Americans would simply accumulate funds inside a corporation to evade the tax. If the corporate rate was [lowered as suggested by Republicans], we'd likely see a repeat of that".

Will: The difference, I don't worship Robert Reich.

I do NOT believe we should abolish the corporate tax, and I sure as hell wouldn't "worship" anyone who says we should.

Will: the dude was clearly advocating what the quoted guy was saying...

Yes, I agree completely that he was... in your mind -- not in reality. In reality he was saying no such thing. This suggestion of yours, that PK thought a housing bubble would be a good thing, is crazy talk and a big reason why nobody in the reality-based blogosphere takes you even remotely seriously.

dmarks said...

Number guy: I am no more anti-union than I am anti-NRA or anti-Sierra Club or anti-Judicial Watch.

I believe membership in all political pressure groups should be voluntary.

Most workers who are members of unions are only there because they are forced to join. End this situation, and unions will be legitimate organizations once more and I will not be against htem.

--------------

WD said: "I fully, completely and whole-heartedly support the pro-censorship language."

I strongly support the protections of the Bill of Rights, therefore I so strongly disagree with you.

"Because corporations aren't people and should have zero first amendment rights."

However, First Amendment rights apply to people whether or not they belong to organizations you don't like. It is entirely unconstitutional for you to say that people have no first amendment rights if they are associated with organizations you don't like.

Come on, WD, grow up. If someone says something you don't like, ignore it. Turn the channel. Put down the paper. Don't censor it.

"The first amendment applies to individuals only."

You are making this up. There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution or related principles that says this. Wishful thinking on your part.

"It does not grant group rights... except to the press, because the press is SPECIFICALLY mentioned in the first amendment."

Your interpretation that the people have no first amendment rights is downright fascist. And hardly anyone agrees with it. Come on, show me other Constitutional scholars and justices and actual authorities who agree with your assertion that only the officially-recognized "press" has any free speech rights.

w-dervish said...

dmarks: I strongly support the protections of the Bill of Rights, therefore I so strongly disagree with you.

If you strongly support the protections of the Bill of Rights, then you should strongly AGREE with me. The First Amendment (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights) applies to individuals only and not groups (except the press). No wishful thinking on my behalf, just a misunderstanding of the Constitution on your behalf.

Wikipedia says, "in the United States, the Constitution outlines INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS within the Bill of Rights".

As explained by Wikipedia, "group rights are rights held by a group rather than by its members separately, or rights held only by individuals within the specified group; in contrast, individual rights are rights held by individual people regardless of their group membership or lack thereof".

According to Clarence Thomas, "America was founded on a philosophy of individual rights, not group rights".

He's right. Although (for some strange reason) Thomas wasn't one of the Citizens United dissenters. Personally I think it's because he's a corrupt hypocrite.

Whether or not I like or dislike any particular organization has absolutely NOTHING to do with my opposition to granting special group rights to corporations.

I strongly oppose the Citizens United decision because I strongly support the protection of individual rights as laid out in the Bill of Rights.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Reality-based blogosphere? You and Ezra Klein? Come on! And even if we take his hand-picked study as gospel, that's still 40%. That's a lot of pension holders who get hammered by this ravenous, greedy, insatiable, and envious approach of yours.