Tags: Reich | Obama | Tax | Policy

Reich: Obama Misses Opportunity on Tax Policy

Friday, 24 February 2012 07:11 AM

The Obama administration's proposal to lower corporate taxes to 28 percent from 35 percent for most companies while closing loopholes is a missed opportunity to connect with voters and live up to fiscal campaign promises, says economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

Obama should have left corporate taxes where they are and on top of closing loopholes.

Doing so would have generated much-needed government revenue for public schools and other projects deemed needed by voters.

Editor's Note: Use This Single Loophole to Pay Zero Taxes in 2012

Plus corporate taxes as a percentage of earnings are the lowest they have been in 40 years, while vows from GOP hopefuls Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich to hack away at corporate tax rates while leaving loopholes put won't do much to narrow deficits, Reich writes in his blog.

"Corporate taxes have plummeted as a share of total federal revenues. In 1953, under President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, corporate taxes accounted for 32 percent of total federal tax revenues. Now they’re only 10 percent," says Reich, now a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

"But now the federal budget deficit is ballooning, and in less than a year major cuts are scheduled to slice everything from prenatal care to Medicare. So this would seem to be the ideal time to raise corporate taxes – or at the very least close corporate tax loopholes without lowering corporate rates."

Instead, Obama tried to please everybody.

"It’s discouraging. The President gives a rousing speech, as he did on December 6 in Kansas. Then he misses an opportunity to put his campaign where his mouth is," says Reich, who served in three national administrations and was a secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton.

Business leaders, meanwhile, gave the president cautious approval.

"It's appropriate for the White House to acknowledge that the corporate tax code stifles economic growth, undermines the competitiveness of U.S. firms, and needs reform," says U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue, according to Reuters, adding he'll watch for favoritism among industries.

"We will be forced to vigorously oppose pay-fors that pit one industry against another or lavish favors on some while punishing others."

Editor's Note: Use This Single Loophole to Pay Zero Taxes in 2012

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