On the money: Biden says corporate tax hike will pay for infrastructure plan

April 2, 2021

President Joe Biden vowed on March 31 to make companies like Amazon pay their fair share in taxes in order to fund his ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan, Raw Story reports, crediting Agence France Presse as a source.

In his speech in Pittsburgh, Biden expressed outrage over the imbalance between taxes paid by the wealthiest corporations and the burden for middle-class workers. He cited a 2019 study, which found that 91 Fortune 500 companies, “the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon … pay not a single, solitary penny of federal income tax.

“That is just wrong.”

“A fireman and a teacher paying 22% and Amazon and 90 other major corporations paying zero in federal taxes? I am going to put an end to that,” the president said.

Biden on Wednesday unveiled the far-reaching plan to shore up the nation’s highways, bridges, and ports; fund telecommunications upgrades; and increase financial backing for research and development to increase the nation’s competitive edge—especially compared to China.

A key source of the financing would come from boosting the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and cracking down on the use of tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

The package already is drawing condemnation from corporations that balk at reversing the tax cuts signed in late 2017 by then-president Donald Trump, Raw Story says. That measure slashed the corporate rate from 35%— although, with various deductions and loopholes, the average rate companies actually pay was, and remains, much lower.

Companies in the United States pay an average tax rate of just 8% compared to the 16% they paid prior to 2017, according to a recent analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Even if Congress approves Biden’s proposed increase, a corporate tax rate of 28%  still would be the lowest since World War II, with the exception of the past three years.

First enacted in 1909 in the United States, the corporate tax rate got as high as 52% in 1968 before a series of cuts in the 1970s and 1980s, Raw Story notes. .

Among the 37 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States has a relatively high official tax rate after France and Colombia at 32%, and Australia, Mexico and Portugal at 30%.

But the average US rate after deductions trails far behind many advanced economies, according to OECD data.

Amazon’s SVP for Policy and Press Jay Carney defended the company’s use of research and development tax credits on Wednesday, Raw Story said.

“If the R&D Tax Credit is a ‘loophole,’ it’s certainly one Congress strongly intended,” he wrote on Twitter; noting that it had been extended by lawmakers several times since its inception in 1981 and was made permanent by president Barack Obama in 2015.

Biden contended that the corporate tax hike was “not about penalizing anyone. I have nothing against millionaires and billionaires.”

The eight-year investment plan “builds a fairer economy that gives everybody a chance to succeed,” he said, noting it would “create millions of jobs, good-paying

As expected, business groups have sent early signs of their opposition to the Biden plan.

Research contact: @RawStory

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