Last month, Hillary Clinton revealed an idiotic idea in her tax plax that would yet again target American businesses. Clinton proposed creating an “exit tax” for companies that might try to merge with another foreign company. While that concept is ridiculous enough in and of itself, the writers at the Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin and Lauren Meckler, were just as ridiculous.
Where in the article do they discuss the fact that we have the highest corporate tax rate in the world at 35%? And where do they discuss the fact that we are the only major country in the world that taxes companies both on their domestic and foreign earnings? Nowhere.
In the present environment, U.S. companies face enormous tax obstacles compared to foreign companies. The United States government lays claim to foreign-earned income and also forces them to pay higher tax rates than other foreign companies on the income they make in foreign countries — putting American companies at a severe disadvantage in the global economy.
We’ve created a system that tempts companies to move their HQ abroad or merge with other foreign companies in order to stay solvent and competitive, and now we want to threaten companies or erect more impediments to stop more American businesses from leaving our country? We should be incentivizing them to remain in the United States by lowering the corporate tax rate or remove the tax on foreign earnings! Our tax code and tax rates are simply not competitive anymore.
But Hillary Clinton doesn’t think that. And clearly, neither do the journalists at the WSJ. This article is just dripping with the suggestion that somehow, these companies OWE the government even more of their hard-earned money and/or are not legally or ethically paying their fair share. For instance: “The U.S. taxes companies on their world-wide earnings but allows them to claim foreign tax credits for profits earned abroad and defer U.S. taxes until they bring the money home. That system and the 35% marginal corporate tax rate encourage companies to earn money abroad in low-tax countries and leave it there. U.S. companies now have more than $2 trillion in stockpiled offshore profits that haven’t been fully taxed.” See the word choices? They set up the idea that companies are somehow acting underhandedly.
If that isn’t enough, look how the authors label the Tax Policy Center: “non-partisan.” Now, anyone even remotely interested in economics knows that the Tax Policy Center is decidedly left-leaning. To state otherwise and label it “non-partisan” is at best, naive, and at worst, duplicitous.
Let’s look at some more: “Clinton’s tax would apply to some transactions structured as foreign takeovers of U.S. companies aimed at getting around the rules.” No businesses are “getting around the rules!” Both foreign mergers and inversion are perfectly legal; there’s no loophole or deceptiveness in such business transactions. The only “rules” that businesses are “getting around” are the actual corporate tax laws that make doing business in America on a global scale so insufferable and unjust.
And finally: “The big attraction for companies has been accumulating future profits outside the U.S. tax net.” The US tax net is already enormous! The tax code is so discriminatory against our own American businesses, it makes it harder for our companies to compete and survive and thrive on an international basis. Yet Clinton wants to widen the net further with new taxes and put an even greater stranglehold on companies.
Businesses seek to sell a product and be competitive, not to comply with a draconian, exorbitant tax code. Businesses and investment capital are fleeing the United States in droves and the solution by Hillary Clinton is to tax them further. The fact that this obtuse proposal was backed and perpetuated by these writers at the Wall Street Journal is shameful.