Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Jeanette Ward's crisis of conscience over Kerry's plan to cut taxes for corporations from 35% to 33.25% struck a chord with many of us. Dave Depker tried to defend Kerry: "First, he eliminates the tax loophole which allows corporations to get a credit for taxes paid to a foreign government by companies who have outsourced jobs abroad. Second, since most corporations (over 80%) are small they are less likely to move jobs overseas. Tax reduction for these corporations will encourage more investments in jobs and equipment. Hence, more job creation. Third, there is a correlation between lower tax rates and economic activity."

Striking out into tax matters, that's deep water for someone like me, who usually can balance her checkbook. But here goes. I typed into Google "real corporate tax revenue since 1960." The first site I visited, Progressive Policy Institute, I recommend to Dave. It gave reams of details and crossed my eyes. The second site gave me the statistic I was looking for: in 1960 corporate taxes accounted for one fourth of federal revenue. Today, they account for one eighth. The website was GPUSA National Green Program.

As is usual with Democrats, we're divided over the wisdom of lowering corporate taxes further. Corey Crofford stated: IT'S ONLY TWELVE BILLION! . . . Just think, what if the symbolic gesture of said 12 Billion will get the RINOS (Republicans In Name Only, for the uninitiated) to come to our camp and pow wow." No doubt, that's what Kerry's thinking. But the idea of giving corporations of any size more breaks hurts. That's what Bill Streeter thought: "If there was a correlation between lower tax rates (for corporations) and economic activity (I assume you mean productive economic activity that produces jobs) we wouldn't be bleeding jobs right now. Corporate tax rates are at a historic low. Much, much, lower than [they were during]the best job producing years this country has ever seen. In fact a good number of corporations pay no taxes at all. More often than not, tax breaks to corporations go to boosting profit margins rather than improving employee compensation or adding jobs. For more info on tax fairness check out

I wouldn't call the question so much a "crisis of conscience" as a disagreement. Let's not forget where the real tax ripoffs have been coming from. If you haven't already done so, read Kevin Horrigan's excellent assessment of our current tax system in the Sunday 3/28 issue of the Post-Dispatch. In 1999, the superrich (the top .01 percent of taxpayers) paid 29 percent of their income in taxes. Poor babies were only earning 24 million dollars every year, and they had to give up so much. But now, thanks to Bush, they pay only 20.4 percent. "The overall rate for all taxpayers is about 20.7 percent." So much for a progressive tax system. We keep edging closer to banana republic status.

So could we look at it this way: Kerry is wonderful! He isn't Bush.



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