Obama to propose lowering corporate tax rate to 28 percent

The headline says half of the “story” — the half that will likely stick if this passes.

Here’s the Washington Post with some background. In my opinion, this is the key paragraph in the piece, and it’s from the middle (my emphasis):

The current U.S. corporate tax rate of 35 percent is one of the highest in the world, but the abundance of loopholes and deductions enable many businesses to pay far less than that — or nothing at all. Companies in the United States pay almost half the taxes that companies in other rich countries pay, compared with the size of the economy, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

And now Mr. Obama’s proposal — How about we cut your taxes even further and remove those pesky loopholes?

Or, as the Wash Post puts it:

The Obama administration will propose a major overhaul of the nation’s corporate tax code on Wednesday, an election-year gambit that aims to draw a contrast over a key policy issue with the Republicans vying to replace him.

The plan would lower the nation’s corporate tax rate to 28 percent. At the same time, he wants to boost overall revenues from corporate taxation by banning numerous deductions and loopholes that save companies tens of billions of dollars a year on their tax bills, according to a senior administration official.

I emphasized three elements of that offer. These represent “all you need to know” about Mr. Ever-the-clever-one‘s proposal:

(1) It’s designed to manipulate perception. Like all advertising, it isn’t a something, it’s the appearance of a something. First and foremost, this is an entirely insincere act — designed to move the electoral needle and not the economic one — and acknowledged as such by the writer. (Why won’t it move the economic needle? Keep reading.)

(2) He wants to lower corporate tax rates by 20% (four-fifths of 35% is 28%). I don’t see any way in the world that won’t pass; unless, of course, the Republicans hold out for even more. (His very own Catfood Commission — the so-called Bowles-Simpson Deficit Commission — wanted corp taxes lowered to 26%. Republicans could start there and work down.)

(3) He wants to close “deductions and loopholes.” Ahem; might I refer you to our Obama Grand Bargain Drinking Game?

So here’s the drinking game. Every time Obama says:

        ▪ Reform entitlements
        ▪ Strengthen Social Security
        ▪ Reform Medicare
        ▪ Reform Medicaid

Nod wisely to show you’re a Very Serious Person. Every time Obama says:

        ▪ Raise revenues
        ▪ Reform the tax code
        ▪ Close loopholes
        ▪ Reduce defense spending

Raise a glass of your beverage, down it, and say “Never gonna happen!

Eleven dimensional enough for you?


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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