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“Time For The GOP To Pitch In”: Passing Bills That Have No Chance Of Ever Becoming Law Is Not Best Advertisement For Effectiveness

With Republican majorities in both houses, the new Congress should begin by focusing on traditional GOP priorities: improving the nation’s sagging infrastructure, reforming an unwieldy tax code and finding ways to boost middle-class opportunity.

When pigs fly, you say? Skepticism is definitely in order. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have a fundamental choice to make. They can acknowledge the obvious areas of common ground they share with President Obama — thus showing that the Republican Party can participate responsibly in government — or they can throw temper tantrums.

McConnell told The Post that one of his goals, as he takes leadership of the Senate, is to avoid doing anything that would make it harder for the party to elect a president next year. “I don’t want the American people to think that, if they add a Republican president to a Republican Congress, that’s going to be a scary outcome,” he said.

The scariness of the GOP field probably will also depend on Ted Cruz’s apocalyptic rhetoric and Chris Christie’s progress in anger management. But McConnell is right that the whole “Party of No” routine, which he helped orchestrate, is unlikely to yield further political benefit — and may, at this point, inflict more damage on Republicans than on Democrats.

It is perhaps inevitable that the GOP will use its control of Congress to highlight the party’s pet issues — advocacy for the Keystone XL pipeline, for example, and opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Every once in a while, Republicans may even muster the needed 60 votes in the Senate — and force Obama to use his veto. But then what? Passing a bunch of bills that have no chance of ever becoming law is not the best advertisement for effectiveness.

McConnell told The Post he wants voters to see his party as a “responsible, right-of-center, governing majority.” Well, two obvious things such a majority should be doing right now are celebrating the economic recovery and looking for ways to ensure that more of its benefits reach the middle class.

Growth is accelerating, inflation is virtually nonexistent, stocks had a great year, unemployment is down and the U.S. economy is the envy of the developed world. That all of this has happened under the leadership of a Democratic president may be inconvenient for GOP leaders, but it’s the reality. Sourpuss grousing about how Obama is somehow “killing jobs” sounds ridiculous and out of touch. It seems to me that a “responsible” majority ought to be able to bring itself to say, “Nice job, Mr. President.” Even if it hurts.

Such a majority then should recognize that present economic conditions offer the opportunity to address big structural problems — and that addressing these problems can, in turn, broaden and deepen the recovery.

Infrastructure is perhaps the most obvious place to begin. Our airports are getting old. Many of our seaports cannot handle the newest generation of container ships. Thousands of our bridges need to be repaired or replaced. Century-old municipal water systems are breaking down. The electrical grid needs to be more robust and secure. And while we invented the Internet, citizens of other countries enjoy networks with faster speeds and lower costs.

Republicans used to agree with Democrats that good economic times offer the opportunity to invest in infrastructure — which creates jobs, both now and in the future. Deficits are falling rapidly and interest rates are at historic lows. What are we waiting for? Shouldn’t a “responsible” Congress have a bill on Obama’s desk by the end of the month?

Another subject on which Obama and the Republicans in Congress agree, at least in principle, is the need for corporate tax reform. Obama has acknowledged, and Republicans have long contended, that the current top corporate rate of nearly 40 percent is too high — and that the strategies corporations use to avoid paying those taxes, such as moving their headquarters overseas, are detrimental to the national interest. There is a larger debate to be had about overall tax policy, but couldn’t we just start by lowering the corporate rate and closing the loopholes?

Finally, a “responsible” party that’s prepared to govern would have some ideas about how to boost economic mobility, which is what we really mean when we talk about “opportunity.” If Republicans think the American Dream means the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, then no, they’re not remotely ready for prime time.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, January 5, 2015

January 16, 2015 Posted by | GOP, John Boehner, Mitch Mc Connell | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Territorial Tax System”: CEO’s Of Tax Dodging Corporations Push Congress To Cut Corporate Tax Rates

Several corporate CEOs representing the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group, were on Capitol Hill today to unveil a set of measures that they claim will boost the economy. Not surprisingly, some of the high-profile items are a cut in the corporate tax rateand shifting to what’s known as a territorial tax system:

Fresh out of a meeting with members of the Blue Dog Coalition, dozens of CEOs in town for a series of Business Roundtable policy and lobbying meetings today unveiled proposals to boost the economy.

The plan, billed as “Taking Action for America,” calls for a balanced federal budget, a reform of federal regulations and a lower corporate tax rate based on a territorial tax system, among others.

A territorial system, as well as cutting the corporate tax rate without raising more corporate tax revenue, are both misguided proposals. But the interesting thing about these particular CEOs pushing this particular policy prescription is that several of them already run corporations that pay little to nothing in taxes.

For instance, Boeing CEO Jim McNerny is part of the group calling for corporate tax cuts, despite the fact that his company has a negative federal tax rate for the last decade. Only twice in the last ten years has Boeing had federal tax liability in a given year, and between 2008 and 2010, the company made $9 billion in profits without paying any federal corporate income tax.

Andrew Liveris, president and CEO of the Dow Chemical, also joined the lobbying party, even though his company received nearly half a billion dollars in tax refunds in 2010. Proctor & Gamble’s CEO also participated, while heading a company very fond of exploiting loopholes to avoid taxes.

Corporate tax rates are already at a 40 year low. As billionaire investor Warren Buffett explained, “it is a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it…Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness.” Yet corporate CEOs whose companies already pay literally nothing think driving rates down further is the answer to boosting the economy.

 

By: Pat Garofalo, Think Progress, March 7, 2012

March 8, 2012 Posted by | Corporations, Taxes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

American Businesses: Success Is Because Of Government, Not In Spite Of It

While big business whimpers about high statutory tax rates, the effective tax rate paid by most corporations in America is often far lower than most other developed nations (thanks to loopholes and accounting tricks). Meanwhile, corporate tax receipts accounted for 30 percent of US federal revenues in the mid-1950s. In 2009, they made up just 6.6 percent of federal revenue streams.

In other words, not only are big corporations funding a smaller percentage of our shared social safety net, they’re paying a smaller percentage into funding the future infrastructure that they desperately need.

Imagine if big business got its way and corporate taxes were slashed even further. How would businesses suffer?

What would Oprah and Henry Ford have done?

Imagine if, when Henry Ford wanted to start the Ford Motor Company, he had to not only drill for oil himself but also oversee the laying of pipelines and production infrastructure across government-owned land so his cars could have gas to make them go. And when the American auto industry was expanding in the 1940s and 50s creating jobs throughout the nation, imagine if Chrysler and General Motors had to not only build their own factories and assembly lines but actually plan and construct the roads and interstate highways for cars to drive on.

Imagine if Oprah had to regulate the television spectrum for herself and that at random, bandwidth pirates could intrude on broadcasts of the Oprah Winfrey Show because there was no Federal Communications Commission monitoring ownership of and access to the public airwaves.

Imagine if every restaurateur today had to invest in his or her own food safety teams to make sure the meat served isn’t toxic. Imagine if every small business in remote rural communities had to generate its own electricity on site because the government wouldn’t have helped fund the expansion of power lines to those distant places. Imagine if every corporation had to educate its entire workforce from childhood to adulthood because there were no public schools.

Bill Gates would have had to run phone lines.

What if, when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he couldn’t get a patent from the United States government to protect his idea? Or for that matter, if there had been no laws to protect private property and no law enforcement, Bell might have had to sit up all night with a gun guarding his invention – instead of going out in the world and figuring out how to use it. When Bill Gates wanted to start Microsoft, consider if instead of drawing on the government-created infrastructure of the original Internet (which he accessed early on in high school through the publicly funded University of Washington), Mr. Gates not only had to invent Windows, but also invent the entire World Wide Web and run the wiring for the phone lines that originally connected all his potential consumers.

When Warren Buffet launched his investing career that ultimately earned him billions, imagine if in addition to hiring lawyers to run his business, Mr. Buffett had to hire judges, too, and create entire court systems to oversee and enforce the types of binding contracts on which the stock market relies. For that matter, imagine if Buffet had to print his own currency and negotiate its value against the currencies of all other individual investors.e infrastructure of private sector success

Taxes fund the infrastructure of private sector success

Businesses in the United States don’t succeed in spite of our government, in many ways, they succeed because of our government. Through our taxes, we fund the legal and economic infrastructure of private sector success. By definition, those businesses that get the most out of that infrastructure are those that should give the most back.

At a time when economic conservatives want to slash spending that helps the poor and middle class rather than raise the already-low effective taxes of big business, it’s shameful that corporations like General Electric and Bank of America effectively pay no taxes. In the context of the larger American story, where successful businesses of today support the public infrastructure for the businesses of tomorrow, saying that corporations should pay even less is downright un-American.

By: Sally Kohn, AlterNet, July 22, 2011

July 24, 2011 Posted by | Bank Of America, Big Business, Budget, Businesses, Congress, Conservatives, Corporations, Debt Ceiling, Debt Crisis, Deficits, Economic Recovery, Economy, Federal Budget, General Electric, GOP, Government, Government Shut Down, Ideologues, Ideology, Politics, Regulations, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Increases, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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