Kudlow: Why Won't Obama Defend Business by Fixing Tax Code?

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 06:16 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Renowned economist Larry Kudlow on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to help the nation's economy by increasing tax incentives for businesses — and criticized the commander-in-chief's slap at corporations that flee the U.S. for tax purposes.

"All I'm saying is just one time in the weakest economy recovery since World War II, why can't this president defend business and make business more competitive globally? Why can't he do it just once?'' Kudlow, a CNBC senior contributor, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"He really doesn't understand the entrepreneurial process or incentives or why shareholders want after-tax returns that are competitive. He doesn't get that. It's outside of his mentality, sort of intellectual grasp.''

Kudlow said even members of Obama's staff have admitted the nation's corporate tax rates at home and overseas are "the worst in the world.''

"They all acknowledge that, yet they won't engage, they won't negotiate. All you get is an occasional mention of the need for tax reform,'' Kudlow said.

"Nobody pays taxes on what they earn overseas and what they earn in their home country. Nobody does that, we're the only ones. So our top tax rate is 35 to 40 percent, the rest of the world is around 25 percent. We ought to go to 20 like Great Britain…. Shareholders want profits after tax.''

Earlier this week, Obama criticized corporations who set up shop overseas to save millions in corporate taxes — and Kudlow admits he is somewhat uneasy about the practice.

"I don't want Walgreens to move to Ireland, OK? I don't. I don't want the pharmaceutical companies to move to London,'' he said.

"But I understand why they're doing it. You want to bring them home, get their tax rates competitive and stop taxing or double taxing overseas profits. It's that simple.''

Kudlow said the White House "deliberately'' conjured up the phrase, "economic patriotism,'' to use corporations as" whipping boys.''

"Obama has done nothing to engage or negotiate on corporate tax reform, which he mentions every once in a while and walks away from it,'' he said.

"He said there's all these loopholes. Nobody wants to keep the loopholes. You ask any businessman and they'll tell you just tax me once on my American earnings, not including overseas, tax me once at about 20, 25 percent….

"So Obama trots out this loophole thing … he guilt trips corporations.''

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